TUSD’s New Sex-Ed Curriculum Vote Further Deferred

“The validity and existence of the gender identity of our children is not up for debate.”

Arizona Daily Star

Arizona Daily Star

Winta Tekle, Sahuaro News Editor

Tucson Unified School District is caught at crossroads with their new sex-education curriculum, a curriculum that’s been in the works for nearly four years. This poses the question: what is possibly taking so long? On September 10th,  the Board was held to vote on the new curriculum. The boardroom was filled with rowdy and opinionated forces against the proposed curriculum, therefore, deferring the vote.

The biggest change in the curriculum would be the gender neutral position it’s aiming for. The new curriculum would take a more LGBTQ+ friendly approach, providing gender neutral terminology. The new update will continue to teach abstinence as the most effective way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The curriculum is also opt-in, meaning that students have to sign up if they want to take the class. These classes would run from the fourth grade throughout high school. Controversy has continued to grow in the community over the proposed lesson plans. Superintendent Trujillo claims that the new curriculum is designed to meet everyone’s needs, but that anyone who does not want to participate will be able to opt out without any negative repercussions.

Despite all this, controversy ensues. Both sides of the spectrum have spoken on their opinions on the new curriculum. Jorge Apolaca speaks for the Latino-Hispanic community, saying that “this curriculum is offensive to my culture. We believe that this curriculum is confusing and immoral. We have learned to take care of our own kids and we don’t need such as curriculum to direct our childrens.”   Julie Fry, a parent, says the curriculum was an overreach – that students do not need the government to tell them how to handle sex. 

Carol Brochin, a mother of a non-binary and transgender student, led a walkout at Cholla High School at the final public hearing on August 22th. She states that “the validity and existence of the gender identity of our children is not up for debate. To do so would be to engage in the discrimination of our own children.” Brochin isn’t the only mother concerned about gender identity. Megan Mogan, a mother of three and public-school educator, states that “I believe by principle alone that all students should have access to information that guides their bodies, their relationships, their identities and their safety and security in life. Just human principle alone got me involved in supporting the curriculum.”

Bottom-line, a new curriculum is brewing, but appeasing all sides is becoming more difficult as the drafting finalizes. Trujillo says students have asked for more reliable information. The curriculum was last updated in 2006, and Trujillo points that since then, the “world has changed dramatically and the district must change with it.”