Controversial curriculum back on the front burner after being rejected four years earlier

Following a four-month review of state-recommended sexuality education curriculums for grades six through high school, a committee proposed adoption of all of the curriculums at a Scappoose School District board meeting Monday, June 10, in order to meet new state education standards.

Some of the options didn’t sit well with some parents and teachers, however.

Stephen JupeOpponents of the supplemental curriculums felt the content was too graphic for the age groups it was geared toward. On the other hand, supporters indicated their faith in the teachers’ ability to teach the curriculums without stepping into the area of indecency.

“We trust teachers’ experience, ability, and education to choose developmentally appropriate supplemental materials for our students,” supporters wrote in a document presented to the school board.

Others were not convinced.

“I did not recommend the curriculums because of the sexually explicit content throughout,” said Lisa Maloney, a parent and community member who sat on the review committee and who was elected to the school board last month.

Maloney said she sought out alternatives to the curriculum being reviewed, but was told the committee was only able to pick from the state-recommended curriculums. Maloney added that the controversial curriculum titled “Making a Difference” — intended for grade six — had been rejected by the Scappoose School Board four years ago and is now being proposed again.

Human sexuality curriculums are reviewed every two years by policy, said Scappoose School District Superintendent Stephen Jupe.

“Once the materials have been adopted, the plan of instruction follows,” he said. Jupe added that some committee members didn’t feel as though enough curriculums were presented to allow the committee to deny any of them while comprehensively covering all of the new standards.

In keeping with state law, the committee is required to provide a comprehensive plan of instruction. According to a final Supplemental Curriculum Review Committee document, “Teachers will use the recommended curriculums to choose developmentally appropriate lesson plans which will meet the requirements of providing a comprehensive plan of instruction.”

“The need for more supplemental material helps teachers avoid things that may be uncomfortable,” Jupe explained. “This is necessary.”

The Scappoose School Board will decide whether or not to adopt the curriculum at its next meeting July 8.

Jupe added that if parents object to any material used in the classroom, they have the right to place their children elsewhere as long as a parallel learning opportunity is provided.

“Our job is not to corrupt children,” he said. “Our job is to help them live safe lives.”

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