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Petition calls on Miami-Dade schools to adopt sex ed textbooks

A large, empty classroom.
iStockphoto.com

More than 2,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the Miami-Dade County school board to adopt new materials for teaching reproductive health and sexual education.

Last week, the board voted 5 to 4 to toss out two health textbooks, after residents opposed to sex ed instruction successfully challenged the materials.

The vote to reject the books means the nation’s fourth largest school district won’t be able to teach sex ed — at least for the next four to eight months while the district restarts the process of adopting new instructional materials.

The Miami-Dade school board is holding a special meeting on Thursday at noon to discuss the consequences of not teaching sex education. Advocates behind the group Parents for Children Miami are urging residents to attend the meeting and voice their support for comprehensive sex education.

Marika Lynch, who has been helping organize parents in support of sex ed instruction, said the organization is a “parent group focused on the accurate, fact-based teaching of all subjects in Miami-Dade schools.”

As of 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, 2,025 people had signed the group’s petition on change.org.

“Sexual health education keeps our students safe from not only pregnancy and disease, but from adult predators and bullying. The textbooks cover how to report abuse, in addition to consent and body safety, topics objected to by the small group of people opposing them,” the petition reads in part.

“We ask the Miami-Dade School Board, which serves all children, to reverse its July 20th vote in order to comply with Florida law and to honor the parents who count on accurate and age-appropriate sex education in our schools as well as the children whose lives may depend on it,” the petition continues.

State law requires districts to teach comprehensive health education, including “the benefits of sexual abstinence as the expected standard and the consequences of teenage pregnancy.”

Anna Hochkammer signed the “Save Sex Ed” petition. She said she’s a parent of a student in Miami Palmetto Senior High. Hochkammer is also an elected member of the Pinecrest Village Council.

“We know in America that when students get information, they’re less likely to become pregnant while they’re still in school, they’re less likely to be infected with sexually transmitted diseases, and they’re more likely to seek help when they’re being subject to abuse and other kinds of relationships that we all recognize are not healthy,” Hochkammer said.

“We know that comprehensive, fact-based, age-appropriate sex education works,” she added.

Kate Payne is WLRN's education reporter