This is an announcement from Bulloch County Schools.
Bulloch County has some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in the state and incidents of sexual abuse, sexual assault and unhealthy relationships, especially online among teens are of grave concern. As a result, Bulloch County Schools’ sixth through ninth-grade Health classes will now feature a 10-day unit on sexuality education beginning with the 2019-2020 school year. Parents will have an opportunity to review the curriculum prior to instruction, and they have the right to opt their child out of sexuality instruction. These are key points to know about Bulloch County Schools’ sexuality education program:
- A district committee formed in 2016, collaborated with the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University to choose course topics and curriculum, which are based on national and state health education standards.
- State law and Bulloch County Board of Education policy now require implementation of a sexuality education program.
- The sexuality education program is for grades 6-9 and focuses on sexuality definitions, sexual violence prevention, and preventative health measures. It does not teach sexuality choices and values, that is the responsibility of the individual student and family.
- Curriculum can be reviewed by parents and parents have the option to opt their child out of the 10-day unit, which will be taught at the end of health education classes by the district’s health and physical education faculty. Middle school health courses are semester-long and year-long for high schools, except Southeast Bulloch High School, which is on a semester block schedule.
- Definitions related to gender identity and sexual orientation will be taught in grade nine beginning in 2021, then grades seven through nine in 2022. Again, these are fact-based lessons about these topics to give definitions to the world children are already experiencing around them. It is not a promotion of sexuality choices.
- Abstinence is the basis of all lessons; however, facts about contraception are provided to students in grades eight and nine.
- The curriculum does not influence values or choices related to sexuality. Those are the responsibility of the individual students and their families. The topics, while sensitive, are meant to give students age-appropriate terms and factual information to help them understand what they are already seeing and experiencing in the world around them.
- National research and input from local sexual assault and support agencies have confirmed that gender identity and sexual orientation are a major underlying factor in sexual assault, bullying, and suicide cases among teens. For this reason, the school system believes this topic should not be absent from the curriculum.
- If a student is enrolled in a sixth, seventh, eighth or ninth-grade Health class, the parent will receive a letter two weeks prior to the sexuality education unit being taught. This will provide parents an opportunity to review the curriculum or choose to opt their child out of the instruction. A sample opt-out letter is attached.
- If you have specific input or questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.