Cumberland County Schools on Tuesday moved toward ending a Planned Parenthood sex education program in middle schools after months of criticism from parents.
Tim Kinlaw, Cumberland County Schools interim superintendent, paused the sex ed program “Get Real” in October when parents questioned school officials about it.
Since then, a committee of three middle school teachers and three community members has been reviewing the program, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
The Cumberland County’s Curriculum Committee voted Tuesday to nix “Get Real” and replace it with a program used in 2009. The Cumberland County Board of Education will make the final vote Feb. 13.
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Planned Parenthood created “Get Real” for middle and high schools students, “designed to delay sex and increase correct and consistent use of protection methods when a person becomes sexually active.”
The “Get Real” website describes the program as medically accurate and age appropriate, but some Cumberland County parents have disagreed.
“We don’t want our children to be taught there are various ways to have sex,” Judy Cannady, a Cumberland County Schools parent, told ABC11. “We don’t want them being taught that sex is appropriate.”
The program teaches female and male anatomy, puberty, sexually transmitted infections and abstinence, but it also has lessons titled “Decision Making and Values,” “Sexual Identity” and “Deciding About Sexual Behavior.”
In a letter sent to parents in 2016 to introduce them to the program, former Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Frank Till told parents they could review the lessons two weeks before instruction and that students could opt out and take an alternative assignment.
Rob Wingo, another parent, told The Fayetteville Observer that the program was morally, ethically and spiritually wrong.
The nonprofit Sexual Health Initiatives for Teens (SHIFT NC) recommended “Get Real” to the school system, ABC11 reported in October.
“There’s not a lot of information about LGBTQ youth or different types of sex,” SHIFT NC spokesperson Elizabeth Finley told the TV news station in October.
“It’s really focused on helping young people understand the feelings that they are feeling.”
The North Carolina General Assembly passed the “Healthy Youth Act” in 2009, and it requires all local school systems to teach abstinence until marriage; accurate biological information about the human reproductive system; how sexually transmitted diseases occur; how to recognize sexual abuse and assault; and opportunity for parents to consent or not consent to the instruction.