TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Crowds clashed over sex-education curriculum that could be offered in Tucson schools Tuesday night.
The Family Life Curriculum would be optional for students starting in fourth grade through high school, but controversy has continued to grow in the community over the proposed lesson plans.
The Tucson Unified School District Governing Board’s meeting Tuesday night was packed with possible action on the new Family Life Curriculum (FLC) on the agenda. The board ultimately decided to not take action or vote, which will delay the implementation of the curriculum.
Outside the meeting room, chants continued in the courtyard as many watched what was happening inside on a monitor. The meeting had to be stopped several times due to security concerns.
“I worry about his future. I worry about what is going to happen in his future and that’s why I’m here, to stand and I vote for ‘no,'" said Marian Altamirano.
Altamirano has a children enrolled in TUSD. She wore blue Tuesday night with several others to ‘Stop CSE,’ which stands for Comprehensive Sexuality Education.
The proposed update to the Family Life Curriculum includes the LGBTQ community, uses more gender-neutral language and teaches that families don’t always have one father and one mother.
Those against the curriculum, like Altamirano, said they were worried how sex education and gender identity would be taught to their children.
“Because of my faith, because of my beliefs, I am against it and I worry about the future for my children," said Altamirano.
Parents and community members who showed up in support of the FLC said the lessons were about healthy relationships and important decision making, like consent.
“We’re ready to hold our district accountable for the needs of all of our students," said Carol Brochin, a TUSD parent. “Our children can find anything they want on Youtube, so I feel like classrooms are spaces where we can mediate those conversations with them.”
“An inclusive, revised sex education is good for all entire society," Brochin added.
The TUSD Governing Board decided to delay a vote on the implementation of the curriculum after Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo presented a list of recommendations and proposed revisions.
Among the conditions, Trujillo would like to see a district wide teach-in for parents to go through the FLC and for staff to develop a plan for training all teachers assigned to teach the FLC lessons.
He would also like for staff to develop alternative lessons for the families who opt-out of any lesson or grade level lessons.
KOLD News 13 caught up with TUSD Governing Board President Adelita Grijalva following the decision.
“Unfortunately, so much of the narrative has evolved around just half-truths, mis-truths. Kinda the game of telephone where I heard from this person and this person told me and that’s not accurate," said Grijalva. "So I would rather have all of the information there and whether you, if you decide you’re still not okay with it, that’s fine. But, at least you’re going by fact and not by, you know, rumor.”
The district had initially hoped to implement the FLC in October. Grijalva hopes they will still be able to implement ‘something’ by the end of the year.
“I think a lot of it has to do with, we have to re-establish trust with a community that was told a lot of things about what we were doing that was not true,” said Grijalva.
The school district’s current sex-education curriculum was last updated in 2006.
Grijalva added the the opt-in course, which would be provided over a two week period, was one-tenth of 1% of classroom instruction.
To review the Family Life Curriculum and Student Materials, click here.