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DAVIS SCHOOL BOARD TENTATIVELY OKS A NEW SEX-ED PROGRAM

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In March, 950 students at six Davis County junior high schools may be participating in a pilot sex education program that emphasizes abstinence before marriage.

The program, "Sex Respect," has been given preliminary approval by the Davis Board of Education. Six junior high schools would pilot the program beginning in March at the cost of $9,000. An earlier proposal called for only two schools to participate in the pilot program.The pilot program may be taught in Centerville, Central Davis, Farmington, Mueller Park, North Davis and South Davis junior high schools. A final decision will be made after principals at the schools are contacted, said Nancy Fleming, assistant superintendent over curriculum.

The program helps students "develop responsible behavior, positive self-esteem and respect for others as they make decisions involving the use of their sexual freedom," promotional material says.

The program, developed in Illinois, was recommended to the school board in November by the Teen Pregnancy Task Force under the aegis of the Davis County Commission on Infants, Children and Youth. The school board is expected to take final action on the proposal on Jan. 9.

Board President Lynn Summerhays, who has reviewed the program, said he believes it will be well accepted in Davis County because it is values-based. It reflects Davis County values, he said.

Fleming said that the Teen Pregnancy Task Force, working through the school district foundation, has already received pledges of up to $3,500 in donations to help fund the program. The task force expects to receive up to $5,000 to help offset the $9,000 price tag.

In addition, parents will be asked to purchase a parent's manual at $4.92 each to help offset another $4,600. If parents cannot afford to purchase the manuals they will be provided at no expense.

In early February, parents from each junior high school will be invited to attend night meetings where the program will be explained. Teachers are expected to be trained in the program in early March, Fleming said.

After the pilot program, the program could become districtwide. The "Sex Respect" program would be taught to seventh-graders and a companion program to 10th-graders. It would be taught along with the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome courses mandated by the Legislature and introduced into schools last year.

Sen. Stephen Rees, R-Salt Lake, is sponsoring a bill in the upcoming legislative session to fund "Sex Respect" programs in four school districts including Davis.

"If the bill passes, we should be fully funded for the program in all secondary schools next year," Fleming said in a statement to the board.

The curriculum is available for public inspection at the district's administrative offices. Those who wish to review the program before the board takes final action should contact Fleming at the Davis District at 451-1261.

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Course objectives

-Helps students recognize that sexual freedom is not the same as sexual impulsiveness.

-Defines human sexuality.

-Identifies various influences on sexual decision-making.

-Examines the physical, emotional and psychological risks associated with premarital sexual activity.

-Compares and contrasts human procreation and animal reproduction.

-Describes way for teens to say "no" to sex.

-Lists responsibilities of dating and parenthood.

-Explains why adoption is a healthy alternative to abortion.