(WEEK) -It’s been almost a week since a Peoria Public Schools teacher told the Journal Star she opposed some of the sex education programs.
The paper quotes the woman as saying the program is “too explicit.” but, other members of the community disagreed and were quick to rally to support the program, calling on people to show up to Monday night’s Peoria school board meeting.
The topic of sex education wasn’t on the board’s agenda, in fact, the subject garnered at least fifteen minutes of attention during the public comment portion of the meeting.
Some of the supporters who spoke, were District 150 parents; others were members of the Peoria Healthcare Coalition.
Katie Jones, a mother of four children in Peoria Public Schools and also a part of the coalition, says she will continue to stand by the school district with unwavering support “We stand with our school district, shoulder to shoulder with Dr Kherat and the smart health educators who are doing what’s right for our youth.”
Jones explained that the sex ed program offers more than just demonstrations on how to use condoms, it helps give students a voice.
During the meeting, Jones went on to say that a number of teen suicides are related to feelings of shame about sexual curiosity, further explaining that sex-ed programs offer students a safe place to ask questions, learn and gain access to resources related to sexual health.
During the public comments, no one openly opposed the program, allowing the floor to remain open for those in favor of sexual education in schools to share statistics about why they believe it is necessary.
The 2016 Peoria County Sexually Transmitted Disease Report illustrates Peoria County as having the highest rate of Gonorrhea among teens and young adults in the state, with chlamydia, ranking second.
Peoria Public Schools recently switched from a curriculum that promoted abstinence, to one that’s ‘evidence based’ and addresses a mandate from the state of Illinois.
The sex education program does allow parents to opt out, if they don’t want their students being informed on the topic during school hours.
Peoria Public Schools plans to continue promoting sexual health, with a ‘Get Yourself Tested’ event at Manual High School on Thursday.