MoCo Public Schools Changes Sexual Orientation Curriculum

Community News
ROCKVILLE, Md. - The Montgomery County School Board has decided to go ahead with a change to its health classes. Right now, the subject of sexual orientation isn't taught in health classes until eighth grade. The new curriculum would change that to seventh grade.

When Cara Grant had to teach sex education, she had to stick to a script.

"It feels like you're just delivering information,” she said.

Grant is now a health class supervisor for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).

“It just felt unnatural and artificial,” Grant said.

MCPS requires its health teachers to teach sex education by reading a pre-scripted lesson.

"It hindered my intellectual freedom to look at my kids, [see] if they know what these definitions are,” said Grant.

The definitions she's talking about? Sexual orientation. The school board is thinking about a change in when students would get that instruction.

Superintendent Joshua Starr said it is an important part of teaching tolerance.

"No matter the race, gender, age, body type or sexual orientation,” he said.

School board members said eighth graders had too much to cover. They said eliminating scripted lessons and adding sexual orientation to seventh grade reflects changing times.

“Having our students feel safe, having them have the kind of accurate information about sexual orientation,” said board member Shirley Brandman.

"I'm pleased that we'll be changing the scripted lessons," said Patricia O’Neill, vice president of the board.

Now keep in mind, Montgomery County Public Schools said on average, only about three percent of parents decide to opt out of having their children receive this type of information, but some conservative groups say more would if they knew what was being taught, more parents would opt out.

"I think that's not age appropriate,” said Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council.

He used to be on the MCPS community advisory board. He said seventh grade is too young to teach sexual orientation.

"I think if they are going to address the issue of sexual orientation, which is highly controversial, it should be addressed at the high school level, not at the middle school level,” said Sprigg.

But no parents showed up at the meeting to voice that opinion.

Grant said once the changes are made, it will result in more honest answers and questions.

The board voted unanimously to advance the changes on Tuesday. They have now entered into a 30-day period of public comment.

They said that final action and a final vote will be taken on June 30. [Source:]