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Controversy sparks discussion of Wausau Schools curriculum policy

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) — The controversy over the health curriculum in the Wausau School District has students and parents speaking out. The Wausau Education-Operations Committee met Monday evening to discuss possible changes. Parents and students are angry and afraid that the Wausau School District is changing its sex education curriculum. The district said there was nothing to worry about.

Concerns about the future of the Wausau School District’s sex-ed curriculum led to a packed school board meeting Monday night. Many parents and students believe the district is pushing for an “abstinence-only” program.

“We need comprehensive sex education, which is currently on offer, but with these doors open, it could lead to a lot of unforeseen circumstances,” said Megan Marohl at Wausau East High School.

The concern comes from policy manual fulfillment and human development policies, document submitted to the municipality by Neola, an educational consultancy firm. In the document, he emphasizes the value of sexual abstinence. There is also a crossed out section that originally talked about the use of contraceptives. This particular wording worries some people.

“They [Wausau School District] would not have discussed the proposed changes without planning to make changes. This opens many doors to possible abstinence-only changes,” Marohl said.

The school district said the reason it’s written that way is because the language is more in line with state law. Superintendent Dr Keith Hilts said despite this they were not changing the program.

“We will continue to teach a broad, comprehensive curriculum of human growth and development, including contraception and all those we have taught. Again, this is a board approved program and we would not change this program without board approval,” Hilts said.

He said the reason this is being discussed is to meet state requirements. The state’s new requirement says school districts must teach students that they can bring newborns to health care centers or law enforcement if they don’t have the ability to take care of the child.

“There is nothing going on behind the scenes, the board has no secret agenda, we will continue to give students the skills they need to succeed,” Hilts said.

At Monday’s meeting, the committee decided to adopt the consulting firm’s language, while adding the play that teaches students about the use of contraceptives and other barrier methods.

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