There has been significant controversy over the proposed health enhancement curriculum for the Helena School District. It seems that most of the controversy focuses on the human sexuality portion.
I recently learned curriculum information was presented by the Montana Partnership for Sex Education to members of the ACLU of Montana, Montana Human Rights Network and NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) Pro-Choice Montana Foundation in a meeting one full week before it was formally presented to the board of trustees and public. Preprinted postcards complete with talking points supporting the document were available for attendees to sign and submit to the board. Dr. Messinger, the curriculum administrator, Lewis and Clark County health officials and student representatives from the school board were present to answer questions.
That same week two parents, one of whom clearly stated the request was to disseminate info to her PTO, asked for curriculum information. Both requests were denied and they were told the draft would not be released until it was formally presented to the board the following week, at which time they could access the curriculum on the district’s website.
One of those denials was sent via e-mail just 45 minutes before the above mentioned meeting with special interest groups.
I find it extremely troubling that parents, the primary educators of our children, were not given the first opportunity to see and review this curriculum. Do district officials believe it is more important to have the approval of special interest groups than that of the parents of the children entrusted to them to educate?
The district has now released the curriculum revisions, a process controlled solely by Dr. Messinger. For me, all this raises serious questions about the overall goals of this curriculum and the process by which it was developed. If you share my concerns, please consider expressing them to the board in writing or in person at the Sept. 28 public meeting.
Sharon Nason lives in Helena.