Sex education is at the heart of House Bill 545, which is making its way through the Legislature.
The bill, which was recently heard by the Secondary Education and Career Development Subcommittee, would require parents to sign off for their children to be taught sex education in the state’s public schools.
According to ’s behalf., the Reproductive Health and Disease Education bill indicates that public school students could potentially be exposed to harmful material after the curriculum is reviewed by parents to approve or disapprove on a child
Buford M. Manion Jr., an eighth-grade educator at Shanks Middle School in nearby Quincy, believes public schools play a vital role in informing young people.
“I think it is very important that public schools play a role in educating our youth on reproductive health and disease education in partnership with parents and community leaders. Some students would never learn this information if it’s not given to them either at school or by a community organization. In my opinion, it should be a collaborative effort between schools and the community to educate our youth on these issues,” Manion said.
Every curriculum has to go through an approval process by the district or school officials before material can be used in the classroom.
“Most curriculum topics are approved at the district level by the superintendent and school board members. The district and school principals decided which teacher is qualified to teach certain topics based on their certification,” Manion said.
To build trust with apprehensive parents, Manion was sure to note as an educator, the parent would be able to see the curriculum and everything that is being taught.
Education is a partnership between the school system and the community, as they work together to teach children life skills. However, it is entirely up to a parent to decide when is the best time and appropriate age for their child to be educated on certain topics.
Darrick Pollock, a father and college professor at Florida State University, believes parental consent is important for his son’s sake.
“It depends on the age for me to be OK with the school teaching it to my son. Like now, I would definitely not sign a consent form because I want to protect his innocence as long as I can, but however, in middle school when he is like 12 in the midst of the puberty stage is a time I will not mind it, as far as the appropriate age is concerned,” Pollock said.
Alexis Hamilton, a mother and Florida A&M University alumna, is optimistic about students learning about sex education.
“Nova is in first grade and we pretty much receive information about every policy from using the computer in the library to what is in the curriculum. I would have to say I have more of an open mind when it comes to learning. I see learning about the reproductive system as more helpful when it comes to children understanding their own bodies,” Hamilton said.
While some parents may be apprehensive, others think teaching students to protect themselves from sexual diseases can be beneficial.
“I absolutely think children will benefit from these serious topics because it will teach them how to protect themselves and that is what really matters. Making content appropriate for age groups would be the best route because you cannot expect a 6-year-old to understand the same concepts as 14 years old,” Hamilton said.