Sex education returning to Fresno Unified School District

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Sex education will soon be returning to Fresno schools five years after the school district cut back on its program.

95 percent of California's school districts already offer comprehensive sex education. But Fresno Unified has limited its sex education to the previously state mandated information on HIV and AIDS. However, because of a new state law students in Fresno Unified will start learning more about sex and the risks and responsibilities that go with it.

Associate Superintendent Rosario Sanchez is working out the details. She explained, "A goal of course will be to address teen pregnancy, especially in our community and to address sexually transmitted diseases so it will cover that in the curriculum."

The statewide curriculum requires districts to cover topics including: Abstinence, STD's, especially chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea along with the already required courses on
HIV and AIDS. They must also provide students in middle and high school with information about contraception, abortion and sexuality and gender identity.

School Board Member Carol Mills says learning some girls are getting pregnant in middle school shows the need to start early. She added, "That does surprise me and reinforces for me the need for sex education in grades younger than high school."

The school board will consider entering into a contract with Barrios Unidos, a nonprofit group which works with teens, to provide some of the curriculum in the classrooms. Mills said the district may need an outside vendor.

Mills explained, "It is sort of a particular subject matter and perhaps not every teacher feels comfortable or qualified to teach it."

Part of the curriculum encourages children to discuss these issues with their parents, but state law gives parents the right to have their students opt out of the program.

The Fresno Unified School District Board of Trustees will discuss the requirements of the new law and consider a contract with Barrios Unidos at its meeting on October 14th.
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