UPDATE: This piece has been updated to include comment from Hillsborough County Public Schools.
A Florida school board approved a new sexual education curriculum that teaches 12-year-olds about the purpose of condoms, despite push back from parents.
The Hillsborough School Board in Tampa, Florida, voted 5-2 Tuesday to implement a new sexual education curriculum for seventh graders. Parents pushed back against the proposed curriculum, saying the lesson plans are sourced by Planned Parenthood documents, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The curriculum and specific lesson plans are accessible to parents of the district for viewing, which is required by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ HB 1467, as a way to add transparency. The sexual education curriculum spans over three years, beginning with seventh grade, and teaches students how “pregnancy occurs,” how to use condoms and other sexual health practices, according to a district overview.
“The sexual health education curriculum developed by Hillsborough County Public Schools was created to provide students in 7th, 8th, and 9th grade with medically accurate information regarding reproductive health…Our district promotes abstinence as the first expected standard while also teaching them about healthy decision-making skills,” Tanya Arja, chief of communications for Hillsborough County Public Schools told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Our curriculum fosters communication with parents and guardians to help continue the conversation at home…As always, parents have the opportunity to review the curriculum and opt out if they feel it is best for their child.”
Other concerns from parents came from an aspect in the curriculum that specifies that gender identity may not always match the sexual organs of an individual, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The curriculum is inclusive for the LGBTQ community to “create a safe space” for students of “different gender” and “sexual orientation,” the school website stated.
“I do not tolerate anyone who violates the purity of a child. And neither should you,” Hillsdale Baptist Church pastor Travis Smith said at the board meeting.
This afternoon, school board members in Hillsborough County are set to vote on whether or not to approve the 7th grade ‘Reproductive Health and Disease Prevention curriculum’ or Sexual Education curriculum. These are a few of the lessons some parents find age inappropriate @BN9 pic.twitter.com/kYVvZ2enCC
— Angie Angers (@angie_angers) September 20, 2022
Parents can opt their child out of the sexual education curriculum through an opt-out form made available on the school website. All schools are required to provide opt-out forms for parents who wish to exempt their students from such lessons under DeSantis’ “Parental Rights in Education” bill, signed into law in March.
“Children are being exposed to things that are not okay with every family because every family is different,” parent Jacalyn Muir said to ABC Action News about the sexual education curriculum.
The Hillsborough School Board did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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