The Canyon Independent School District, after months and months of discussion and review, adopted its health education curriculum Thursday evening and approved its procedures for the acquisition and removal of library materials and text, both with only one dissenting board member.
In May, CISD was to vote to approve the health education program. Still, the issue has been controversial within the district, with some community members accusing much of the literature of having inappropriate language referencing LGBTQ+ issues and sex ed elements that refer to anything is not abstinence, including birth control. There was even opposition to talking with students about acknowledging violence and other sensitive topics.
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To allay concerns, the district held several meetings with concerned parents and the School Health Advisory Council (SHAC), which included educators and parents, to help choose the best health care information provider. more appropriate. After reviewing the program, many components were made optional for parents, so that their children would not be exposed to an education that parents opposed. Those who wanted their child to be educated in more of the school curriculum were allowed to receive this information.
After several delays of a vote to further consider the proposed materials and give new board member Paul Blake time to review and get up to speed on the matter, the board proceeded to a vote. , with Blake being the only “no” vote.
“I just think it leaves an opening for inappropriate material to be taught to our children,” Blake said. “I think it’s too broad. I think we’re dealing with a bad company and I don’t trust them. They say they’re going to remove some things, but I just don’t trust them.
Blake said he had a specific problem with the use of the term “pregnant person” in the program and mentioned the government as the standard for why they use those terms. He said he had heard it was part of the opt-in language or removed from the program.
When asked if he thought there should be health education in schools, Blake felt that only basic health education, minus anything sex-related, should be among the items included. .
“Health is one thing; sex education is another thing,” Blake said. “I think the school should be outside the sex education sector.”
Health education and its place in schools has been criticized in many school boards, with some parents wanting nothing to do with sex education or any mention of LGBTQIA+ in any literature.
In the health program vote, member Jennifer Winegarner proposed that the board vote next month to eliminate the health program as a graduation requirement. Under pressure from a community faction, council members are considering removing any requirement for health education due to its current controversial nature.
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During a public discussion, several community members voiced their opposition to the health program, citing that vendors have made educational materials they disagree with – even though it is not part of the program. offers. Some commentators have gone so far as to suggest denominational alternatives in previous meetings.
Quaver Health Education, recommended by 88% of SHAC, was chosen for the K-5 program.
Goodheart-Wilcox Education was chosen from sixth to twelfthe grade, with 100% SHAC approval. Like other approved programs, he will only teach at TEKS with parental opt-in in other areas.
As a result of this vote, the board approved updates to the Policy for Acquiring and Removing Educational and Library Materials from the Classroom or Library. He gave the district’s selection criteria for all materials and the process for parents to challenge any materials in schools.
CISD described its draft procedure and formal definition of “extremely vulgar and harmful material” for its schools as follows:
- Contains content that has or encourages excessive interest (several overtly descriptive passages or pictorial representations) in sexual matters.
- Contains content that depicts or depicts obviously offensive depictions or descriptions of ultimate sex acts, normal or kinky, real or simulated.
- Contains content that is patently offensive to the prevailing standards in the adult community, as determined by Canyon ISD’s Board of Directors, regarding what is appropriate for minors.
- Taken as a whole, is entirely without redeeming social value for minors.
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Even with these standards for its school materials, much is left to the opinion of the community and the school board, but overall the board seems satisfied with the guidelines in place.
Board member Linda Hinders spoke about the relevance of removing sexually explicit books and pornography, but said the books would not be removed simply because some members of the community do not like the ideas in place in the documents.
Blake asked his fellow board members if that included deviant behavior ahead of the vote, during which he voted against the measure.
“I don’t think anything should be done in our schools to promote the alphabet part of society in order to make it normal,” Blake said. “I think it’s slipping, trying to normalize this for our kids when it shouldn’t be normalized.”
When asked if there should be books mentioning LGBTQIA+ in libraries, Blake replied that there shouldn’t be in schools.
After the meeting, when asked to clarify his comment about the deviant behavior he was referring to, Blake said he was referring to LGBTQIA+ and any non-heterosexual behavior.
CISD Assistant Superintendent Cameron Rosser spoke about the school’s process for standards for books in the district.
When asked to clarify the prevailing community standard aspect of library materials, especially with some members of the community finding any LGBTQIA+ material offensive no matter what, Rosser said that ultimately , the council would make these decisions on the suitability of the materials as the community elects them.