The Millard school board is updating the health curriculum for pre-kindergarten through high school. The update will cost about $205,000, the district says. If the materials are approved Monday, the new curriculum would be implemented for the 2018-19 school year. Instruction on human growth and development, otherwise known as sex education, takes place in fifth, sixth and eighth grades and high school. Here are some examples of materials in the curriculum:

HIGH SCHOOL

Scenarios intended to depict real-life situations would be used to prompt discussions. Here are two from a proposed high school activity book:

» “Your friend Adam sent you and your buddies a picture that his girlfriend sent him after he kept bugging her to send him a nude picture. What should you do?”

» “Annie feels awkward, like she’s never quite accepted. She was at a party that all the popular kids were at. While she didn’t like the idea, and had to get totally drunk to do it, she went along with the oral sex some girls were doing to the guys.

“Questions: What unmet needs drove Annie’s behaviors?”

“What could she have done?”

“What can she do in the future?”

Examples of breakup tips:

Make a clean break.

Reach out to parents or counselors if the person threatens to kill himself or herself.

Tips for surviving a breakup:

Don’t blame yourself.

Stay away from the revenge game.

Beware of rebounding.

Get going with life.

What does consent mean in sexual assault?

“Consent is a clear ‘yes’ to sexual activity. Not saying ‘no’ does not mean you have given consent.”

The person consenting must be sober and understand what they are saying.

It’s not legal consent if the person is drunk, threatened or coerced.

Students learn about their “digital footprints,” the lasting imprints of their online activities. They learn about cyberbullying and risky online behaviors.

Teachers can include in their instruction a list of birth control methods from GirlsHealth.gov.

The site is operated by the Office on Women’s Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The website describes the methods, their side-effects and effectiveness in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

It mentions the pill, patch, implant, IUD, condom, implantable rod, cervical cap, diaphragm, female condom and more. And it comes with the advisory:

“Remember that other than complete abstinence, no form of birth control works perfectly to prevent pregnancy.”

The list is supplemental, so teachers may reference the information, hand it out or not use it at all.

This #lovebetter video teaches about unhealthy relationship behaviors. It’s about a Valentine’s Day gift store selling items with blunt messages about bad behaviors. Items included: a mood swing teddy bear that says “Shut up ... I’m sorry, that wasn’t the real me,” a GPS tracker pendant for obsessive partners and a box of candy with a message: “I love you. But maybe you should watch your weight.”

To help spur discussion, teachers would have a list of the “Top 10 Reasons for Choosing Abstinence.”

The reasons:

To keep your reputation.

So you can know the person likes you for you.

Because you’re not ready for sex yet.

To save yourself from the emotional baggage teen sex can have (regret, doubt, fear, anger, feeling betrayed).

You want to focus.

Because you don’t want a sexually transmitted disease/infection.

You want to save sex for that one special person and/or marriage.

Because you don’t want to get pregnant.

Because you want to uphold your religious or moral values.

(If you’re counting, you know that’s only nine. District officials deleted a 10th reason after receiving public input. The deleted reason was: So your parents won’t be disappointed.)

EIGHTH GRADE

Students cover some of the same issues from earlier grades. They learn about relationships, “abstinence and saying no,” goal setting, making good choices, dating violence, abuse and depression.

In this grade, there’s a video called “Flirting or Hurting: When is it OK? When is it harassment?”

A list of contraception for eighth grade includes various common methods, including the “morning after pill,” and the effectiveness of each.

Lessons include the sacrifices teen parents make: not being able to hang out with friends, sacrificing hobbies and material things, putting goals on hold and financial costs.

SIXTH GRADE

Lessons include bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, hygiene, brushing teeth, showering, self-esteem, nutrition, the health risks of alcohol and tobacco.

Students learn about puberty and emotional changes, and the male and female reproductive systems.

A video set to the song “Be My Baby” chronicles a baby’s development, from fertilization to birth.

When are other districts scheduled to update health and/or sex-ed curriculum?

» Papillion La Vista Community Schools, 2023

» Lincoln Public Schools, 2020

» Archdiocese of Omaha, currently under review

» Westside Community Schools, 2021 at earliest

» Bellevue Public Schools, 2019 at earliest

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joe.dejka@owh.com, 402-444-1077

Joe covers education for The World-Herald, focusing on pre-kindergarten through high school. Phone: 402-444-1077.

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