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FATHER CALLS SCHOOL SURVEY SEXUALLY EXPLICIT

Roy Drew says a survey sent home with his 10th-grade daughter asks sexually explicit questions and he wants the Jordan School District to form a committee to review the district's health-education curriculum.

Drew said the questionable survey was homework for his daughter who attends Hillcrest High School.The survey asked "What would your parents do if you got pregnant or got someone pregnant before you turned 18? Please explain. Would they kick you out? Support you financially, etc.?"

Drew queried the Jordan District Board of Education Tuesday night, "How would you feel if that question was asked of you?"

The exercise also asked parents to fill out a companion questionnaire. Its questions included "Does your teen know the myths vs. truths associated with getting pregnant? (Can't get pregnant the first time, can't get pregnant if you have sex in the water or hot tub . . . ?)"

The Drews removed their daughter from the class.

The answer, Drew said, lies in more careful scrutiny of health curriculum. He volunteered to help organize an advisory committee, which should be composed of parents and educators, he said.

Drew said he is also concerned about the inequity in federal funding between programs that stress abstinence and those that provide contraception information and devices.

"In 1991, $100 million in federal funds was authorized under Title X for contraceptive services to adolescents. By startling contrast, only $1.5 million was available under Title XX for prevention programs that focus on adolescent abstinence and parent involvement," Drew said.

"The existing human sexuality curricula in the Jordan School District are based largely on the Utah State resource guides for parents and teachers. These curricula and related materials follow outdated Title X programs that have yielded tragic results in Utah and our nation," Drew said, quoting statistics that 64 percent of students become sexually active before graduation with non-directive programs. Nondirective models are intended to offer information, teach decisionmaking and self-esteem skills. The school board has taken the matter under advisement.

Consistent with the state core curriculum, human sexuality instruction in the Jordan School District is "abstinence based," said superintendent Ray Whittenburg.

"Everything they're asking for is in place. The total program in the middle school is based on parent involvement. There are work sheets that go home, and there is a sign-off program with the parents," he said.

But Drew said the curriculum teaches abstinence is the "safest option but not the only option."

Further, permission slips sent home with students are not effective. "They were totally ignored," Drew said. "They are filed in a monstrous book and not referred to by the teachers of numerous classes where the topics related to human sexuality may be taught," he said.

Although parents are not involved in approving surveys released at individual schools, Whittenburg said they have been extensively involved in developing the "broad philosophical and key objectives of the program."

"What he asked for, I think we already have in place," Whittenburg said.

Although the district attempts to involve parents at all levels, it is difficult for parents to commit to long-term standing committee assignments.

"It's a challenge for parents to stay involved for long periods of time," Whittenburg said.