MILTON — Since the Milton Pregnancy Resource Center signed a memorandum of understanding with the Santa Rosa County School District to provide relationship education, Santa Rosa County residents have had mixed reactions.
As of Oct. 5, the Santa Rosa Press Gazette’s Facebook post with the story, “Santa Rosa County School District to implement sex education,” has reached 15,406 people, with 50 shares, and 35 comments.
“Good. It’s about time the schools looked at providing real education about sex and relationships the right way, vs. free internet porn,” Jim Howard writes.
“I didn’t rely on the school system to teach my children about sex,” Lisa Pierce writes.
“More religion? No. Educate the children about safe sex,” Kirsten Holley writes.
Pregnancy Resource Center Director Cyndi Roberts directed any questions to the school district. There has been a lot of misinformation about the program, according to Roberts.
To those who believe parents alone should be teaching their children sex education and to those concerned about abstinence as part of the curriculum, the school district has the same answer. It’s a state mandate.
Florida statute 1003.42, which details required instruction, includes “comprehensive health education that addresses concepts of community health; consumer health; environmental health; family life, including an awareness of the benefits of sexual abstinence as the expected standard and the consequences of teenage pregnancy.”
Statutes 1003.46 on acquired immune deficiency syndrome instruction and 1003.54 on teenage parent programs both include teaching the benefits of sexual abstinence.
If the PRC includes religious teaching in its sex education programming, the district will not allow it, according to Assistant Superintendent Bill Emerson.
The course consists of two 50-minute sessions over two days.
“Sessions present information on what effects our relationships, goal setting and achieving, the importance of boundaries in our relationships and STI facts,” the memorandum of understanding says. “It is an evidence-based curriculum designed to help teens learn how to set goals and make wise choices about relationships, dating, partners, and more.”
Archives for the Sept. 7 school board meeting at www.santarosa.k12.fl.us include links to download 11 worksheets students will receive.
The first page, “Examples of Norms,” appears to be a list of rules for the course including “Be open minded and kind to one another. All questions are valuable questions…No gender bashing…no gay bashing…no stereotyping…Do not embarrass one another…Use correct anatomical language.”
Other pages include detailing a life sequencing timeline alone and with an adult, differentiating love and infatuation, listing 14 steps of intimacy, teaching rights and responsibilities of dating, learning 11 different sexually transmitted infections, learning ways to be intimate without having sex, and what a couple should know about each other before marriage.
This material comes from the nonprofit organization Center for Relationship Education.
“Joneen Mackenzie, a registered nurse, saw firsthand the negative outcomes of poor relationships in the lives of children and adults, so she decided to help change these patterns for future generations,” according to the About Us section of www.myrelationshipcenter.org.
“She partnered with social scientists to develop a curriculum that would direct young adults toward their best relationships and their best lives.