The Clark County School District may be updating their sex education curriculum. Maybe. If they ever get around to voting on it.
At a meeting last week, the school district — which serves the Las Vegas metropolitan area and is the fifth largest school district in the country — voted to do nothing regarding a proposed update to the sex ed curriculum. As usual, there was familiar debate about how much or how little curriculum should focus on abstinence-only (the current curriculum is abstinence-based). In addition, concerns were raised about how much time in the school calendar is devoted to such important topics, as in, not enough time, and a lack of inclusive language for LGBT students.
Regular Siren readers know that inadequate and out-dated sex education curriculum is nothing new in Nevada. One of the bloodiest battles of the 2013 Legislature was the intense — and sometimes dangerous — debate about a proposed bill for statewide comprehensive sex education, an update to state law first enacted in 1980. The debate, if you could call it that, often veered into ludicrous territory (updating sex education = Hitler) and exposed the ugly truth (hint: it’s racism) about anti-education lobbyists.
So now, after the comprehensive sex education bill (AB230) was unceremoniously dumped in the 11th hour at the Legislature, we’re stuck with each of Nevada’s 17 counties taking their time at bat to deal with the problem of antiquated sex education curricula. Frankly, this is exactly why we needed AB230 so badly — so we wouldn’t have to live through debate about the morality of sex education, seventeen times. Well, that and that Nevada has the fourth highest teen pregnancy rate in the country.
For instance, this summer it came out that Lyon County has some pretty terrible things embedded in its current curriculum — such as homosexuality being taught as a deviant lifestyle, and that “promiscuity” was not an acceptable behavior. (So, what exactly is the scientific definition of promiscuity anyway?) You might have heard me talking about it on TV. In that case, too, county officials decided to postpone a vote in order to tweak content.
But how long can elected officials, committees, and the like keep punting on sex ed?
I’m sure they are somewhere whispering, “forever.” But Nevada’s kids don’t have forever. They need accurate education to navigate the world they live in and to evaluate the choices that could have life-long implications. In short, Nevada kids need comprehensive sex ed!
And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Check out this clip of ProgressNow Nevada Executive Director Annettte Magnus and ACLU of Nevada Executive Director Tod Story talk about our need for sex ed reform on Ralston Reports last week. (If the link does not direct you to the correct broadcast, search for Magnus on the Dec. 20, 2013 episode.)
I think Magnus said it best with this:
“We hear so many different excuses of why this is not moving forward within the Clark County School District, at the Legislature, and here’s what’s really happening — young people’s lives are being endangered because young people don’t have the access to information that they need to make good, healthy decisions.”
Seems simple enough. But we know it won’t be. Why don’t you join me at the CCSD meeting next month (TBD) and see how simple it really is.