June 13, 2024

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Washington County Public Schools looking for volunteers to review state health education changes


Washington County Public Schools is looking for volunteers to serve on an advisory committee to review state changes in instructional materials in health education for pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade.

The Family Life Advisory Committee will assemble parents, businesspeople, community leaders and WCPS staff, school documents state. The members will be appointed by the Washington County Board of Education.

“The (school board) shall consider groups such as parents/guardians, students, legislators, members of community organizations, clergy, physicians, and members of professional and civic organizations when making appointments to the committee,” documents state.

The Family Life Advisory Committee will be limited to no more than 15 members.

Meanwhile, the The Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) requires that each school system provide comprehensive family life and HIV prevention education to students in schools as part of comprehensive health education.

Given the sensitive nature of the programs, the Maryland State Department of Education requires each local school system to consult with members of the community in developing, implementing and evaluating the program.

They will review the instructional materials and make recommendations to the school board.

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The Family Life Advisory Committee will review state curriculum changes in the following areas, outlined in the Maryland Comprehensive Health Education Framework.

• Mental and emotional health.

• Substance abuse prevention.

• Family life and human sexuality.

• Safety and violence prevention.

• Healthy eating.

• Disease prevention and control.

Under family life and human sexuality, students starting in pre-K would be taught to recognize there are different types of families, the Maryland Comprehensive Health Education Framework document states.

This includes a single parent, same-gender parents, intergenerational, blended, interracial, adoption and foster families.

Starting in kindergarten, gender identity and expression will also be included, where by students would be taught to recognize and respect that people express themselves in many different ways, the education framework document states. Students would be taught to recognize a range of ways people identify and express their gender, and that it’s important to treat people of all gender identities and expressions with dignity and respect.

Finally, starting in the forth-grade, students will be taught to identify sexual orientation as a person’s physical and romantic attraction to an individual of the same or different gender.

Opting out is permitted for family life and human sexuality education starting in the forth-grade, the document states.

Other topics taught would include teasing, bullying, harassment, discrimination, and violence. Stress, anxiety, depression and suicide prevention are also part of the curriculum.

Drug abuse, including identifying products that can be harmful if inhaled, absorbed, or ingested will also be taught.

For more information and an online application go to https://wcpsmd.com/school-board/committees.

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Mail: WCPS needs volunteers for committee to review health education changes


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