Board debates changes to sex education program

Broden Farazmand

Redwood alumnus James Holmes speaks against the proposed revisions to the sex-ed policy at the Tam District School Board meeting last Wednesday.

Last Wednesday, a major change to a set of policies concerning sexual education was announced at the Tamalpais District School Board meeting.

The policy revisions, proposed by Tam’s Director of Student Learning Louise Aliano, were set to change the district’s current methods of instruction on family life/sex education as well as AIDS prevention.

Under the old policies, the Social Issues curriculum had to include the “teaching of honor and respect for monogamous heterosexual marriage,” and that teachers must “stress that students should abstain from sexual intercourse until they are ready for marriage.” Although there were many provisions of the old policy, these lines drove the discussion at the board meeting.

According to Monica Bonny, Tam District Trustee, the district’s views on sex education have evolved over the years, and Social Issues teachers have had a tendency to ignore the old policy which is now being revised.

“The policy that was in the books did not reflect what was being taught in the classroom,” Bonny said. “I don’t know how many people have actually read these policies since they were last updated in 1993.”

The new policies that were announced at the meeting include very little of the old one. According to Bonny, the policies that are being stricken were written in a different time, and did not put strong emphasis on the ability of students to make their own decisions.

The only details of the old policies that will be retained in the new one are those regarding instruction on AIDS and HIV and their prevention.

Redwood alumnus James Holmes attended the meeting to voice his concerns regarding the elimination of the old policies.

“I believe that the teaching of respect for a stable two-parent heterosexual family should be present in the classroom,” Holmes said.

While speaking at the meeting, Holmes cited studies suggesting that a family with heterosexual parents produces the best environment for a student to live in, and is the most conducive to the student’s academic success.

However, according to Bonny that notion is irrelevant when creating the new policy.

The Board unanimously agreed to bring the proposed policy changes to a vote at the next meeting on Oct. 24.