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BoE OKs update to sex education materials

POSTED: March 13, 2012 2:18 p.m.


The Effingham County Board of Education has voted to update some of the materials teachers and counselors use to teach sex education and sexually-transmitted disease prevention.

One addition is Speak Up Be Safe, an updated version of the Childhelp organization’s Good-Touch-Bad-Touch abuse prevention program. SUBS is a research-based curriculum to use with first- through fifth-graders to prevent physical abuse, sexual abuse, bullying or sexual harassment.


Also approved were new videos and computer-based programs for elementary school students on personal safety, child abuse prevention and growth and puberty. The board also approved using the term "child abuse" for lessons in kindergarten through second grade and not introducing the term "sexual abuse" until third grade.

As required by state law, the Be Smart/Family Living Committee hosted meetings last month for parents and community members to review the possible supplemental materials. They gave input to the committee, which then recommended which resources to use and for which grades.

"I feel very good about what they have recommended," said Dayle Burns, the school system’s elementary curriculum assistant coordinator.

The materials are additions or upgrades to the ones already in use and funding for them is in this year’s budget, according to secondary curriculum coordinator Judith Shuman. The board unanimously approved the committee’s recommendations.

"I think it’s awesome. We live in a crazy world, and it seems these situations are getting tougher by the day," said board vice chairman Troy Alford.

Every parent has the opportunity to review the Be Smart/Family Living materials before a child participates and to opt out if they so choose, Shuman said.

In other business:

The board tabled awarding the contract to build a dressing room/concessions stand at Ebenener Middle School.

All three bids submitted — $537,000 by Lavender and Associates, $565,000 by BAK Builders and $625,400 by WBM Construction — were well above the anticipated budget of $350,000 to $400,000 for the project.

Superintendent Randy Shearouse asked the board for more time to review what reductions could be made to the bids. The school board will discuss the matter again at its next meeting, this Thursday at 7 p.m.

"If we can save some money, we need to," board chairman Lamar Allen said.

Shearouse encouraged the community to attend the school system’s first county-wide student art exhibition, which continues through Friday at the Effingham College and Career Academy.

Artwork from all 13 schools in the Effingham County School System is on display this week. A reception for the student artists and their parents will be held today from 5-7 p.m.

"We are just so very proud of our art programs in our schools," Shearouse said. "I hear all the time that part of the strength of the American educational system is to make sure you have creative thinkers, and certainly art provides that."

Shearouse announced that that U.S. Department of Agriculture has released its first changes to school meal nutritional standards in more than 15 years. School lunch programs will be required to serve more fruits, vegetables and whole grains while reducing sodium and saturated fat.


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