Kalamazoo schools updates sex ed curriculum to include consent

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    The Kalamazoo Public Schools Board of Education approved a new, more inclusive reproductive health curriculum at a school board meeting Thursday.

    The new curriculum, titled “Rights, Respect, Responsibility,” includes lessons on consent, dating violence, sexting and gender identity. Other topics include abstinence, anatomy and reproduction, bullying, condoms and birth control, consent, pregnancy, sexual abuse, LGBTQ people and sexually transmitted diseases.

    The district is not an “abstinence only” district, meaning it can teach other sexual choices than abstinence. But state law requires that schools “emphasize that abstinence from sex is a positive lifestyle for unmarried people.”

    Whitmer backs consent training in sex ed classes

    This change to the district’s sex education curriculum is the first in more than 10 years, according to Nkegne Bergan, director of student services. 

    The curriculum was developed by a national organization called Advocates for Youth, a Washington, D.C.-based organization focused on youth reproductive and sexual health. 

    In April, state Sen. Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing) introduced a bill that would require schools to teach students consent, dating violence and sexual assault. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Education and Career Readiness, but it hasn’t moved. 

    Allison Donahue
    Allison Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.