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Glendale / Burbank Focus

GLENDALE : District OKs New Sex Education Policy

March 30, 1994|JENNIFER OLDHAM

The Glendale Unified School District has developed new sex education guidelines in the wake of controversy over the cancellation of an AIDS awareness play last month.

The guidelines, which were formally accepted by the school board Tuesday, are a clarification of current district policy, officials said, and will become part of a districtwide Family Life Education program now in place.

Under the new guidelines, programs discussing safe sex may provide information on safe sex practices, but are not allowed to "dwell upon or . . . advocate graphic or explicit depictions of safe sex procedures."

Previously, the rules said only that the district's policy was to promote abstinence as a way to avoid AIDS. District officials, saying they interpreted that policy as prohibiting discussions of condom use, recently canceled a planned production of the play "Secrets." Health care giant Kaiser Permanente has been showing the play to students throughout California for the last eight years.

The new guidelines also allow parents to request that their children not be allowed to participate in such programs. Parents would be given an opportunity to review proposed sex education programs prior to their presentation.

Speakers at the board's Tuesday meeting urged the district to go beyond existing policy to actively teach about safer sex through means other than abstinence. AIDS activists said the district should acknowledge that large numbers of teen-agers are sexually active.

"It's time for action," said Marilyn Gunnell, a representative with the Glendale Leaders for AIDS Awareness. "The board must implement state of the art AIDS education programs in all schools in the district."

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