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Battle Ground schools moving forward with new sexual health curriculum

Battle Ground Public Schools is asking parents to weigh in on the proposed curriculum, which includes aspects of the controversial King County FLASH program.

BATTLE GROUND, Wash. — After a year of reviewing education materials and surveying the community, Battle Ground Public Schools is moving forward with a proposal to implement a high school sexual health curriculum that draws from a combination of lessons.

Those lessons, to be taught in grades 9-12, include materials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Positive Prevention Plus, the district’s current high school health textbook called "Essential Health," and Family Life and Sexual Health, also known as FLASH.

FLASH, developed by Public Health – Seattle and King County, has been widely used but also criticized. Some critics believe FLASH’s lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation are inappropriate for some children. 

Battle Ground Public Schools halted its planned adoption of the sex-ed curriculum in 2018 after pressure from families opposed to FLASH, according to The Columbian.

According to the King County website, FLASH lessons prepare students to:

  • Successfully navigate puberty
  • Abstain from sex
  • Use condoms and birth control when they do have sex
  • Confirm consent before engaging in sexual activity
  • Report sexual abuse and assault
  • Communicate with their family about sexual health and dating
  • Make decisions that minimize risk to their sexual health
  • Seek medical care in order to take care of their reproductive health

RELATED: Gender identity in sex ed raises concerns for Sequim parents

Now, a year after hearing concerns from community members and evaluating possible teaching lessons, Battle Ground Public Schools is giving parents the chance to review the proposed new curriculum and comment on it at two review nights:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 10, from 6:30 – 8 p.m. in the Battle Ground High School media center
  • Thursday, Sept. 19, from 4:30 – 6 p.m. in the Prairie High School media center

The district is asking parents to RSVP through the district website because space will be limited. 

The school board will consider the curriculum at its meetings in October, according to the district.

Parents will be allowed to opt out their high school students from all or some of the sexual health lessons. Parents will be notified about the opt-out process 30 days prior to the lessons and will have an opportunity to review the materials.

Battle Ground Public Schools offers sexual health education to all high school students enrolled in a health class.

According to the King County website, the FLASH curriculum is used in every region of the country in a “wide variety of communities.” The program has been purchased in 44 states.

Elsewhere in Clark County, Evergreen Public Schools already teaches FLASH, as does the Camas School District.

2018 report below: Sequim parents concerned about gender identity in sexual education

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