SHAWNEE, Kan. -- As the Shawnee Mission School District conducts a review, FOX 4 has been looking at a controversial sexual education class. The district has suspended the supplemental sexual education program called "Making a Difference," because it included a controversial poster.
The poster named ways of showing affection, some of them explicitly intimate, and was found in a middle school.
The "Making a Difference" program has been pulled because a parent complained that middle school-aged children don’t need to know some of the more intimate ways to express affection, which the poster named.
FOX 4’s look into the curriculum found that the "Making a Difference" binder begins with the district's curriculum policies, including the rule to monitor and regularly discuss the curriculum. That’s followed by the letter the district says is given to parents, along with a form to allow parents to opt their kids out of the program.
"Parents should have the choice as to whether their sons or daughters would be engaged in that learning activity,” SMSD Chief Academic Officer Dr. Ed Streich said.
Most of the materials in the "Making a Difference” curriculum are common, including the stages of puberty, anatomy, avoiding sexually transmitted diseases and the dangers of drugs. It’s not until you get to the eighth grade, first quarter lessons that you see the controversial poster.
"I'm gonna talk to you as a parent, there are words that I found objectionable," Dr. Streich said.
The question in the lesson plan that the poster is associated with is: “With all of the messages teens are receiving about sex, what are some ways people express their sexual feelings to themselves or other people?”
Then the object is to identify if the behavior could result in a STD or STI.
Dr. Streich said in context, the words on the poster are less shocking, but there's still a need for review.
"We're going to go through a thorough review to try to determine what activities we feel are beneficial for students and are appropriate for students," he said.