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Broward School Board meets to discuss how to teach sex ed moving forward

Broward School Board meets to discuss how to teach sex ed moving forward
Broward School Board meets to discuss how to teach sex ed moving forward 02:17

FORT LAUDERDALE - Proposed changes to sex education riled up people speaking to Broward County's School Board during Tuesday's meeting.

They wanted parents and teachers to weigh in during an afternoon workshop.

Broward schools staff want a board vote on May 9th.

This workshop focused on changes to meet state statutes, including the Parental Rights in Education Law also called "Don't say gay" bill, passed last November.

Proposed changes include pulling chapters about birth control and LGBTQ from sex education textbooks.

Sixth through 12th-grade teachers would focus on the benefits of abstinence and the consequences of pregnancy.

Also, HIV and aids could be mentioned as early as second grade.

"I'm supporting the school board to support the law as it is and not comprehensive sex with anatomy and physiology taught to our children," said Ingrid Ford, who supports proposed changes.

"The changes to Broward sex education are not born out of the abundance of caution but out of fear... Proposed state law as well," said Max Fenning, who is against proposed changes.

Dozens signed up to share opinions with the board.

Several in the crowd that filled the meeting room inside and an overflow area told CBS News Miami they will send emails to board members until there's a decision.  

Last year, the Parental Rights in Education law went into effect in the state and in order to comply with it, districts across Florida adjusted and now they're taking a look at their curriculum again.

School board members have to make sure their standards comply with the law but still serve students.

One of the goals of the school board is to make sure there is a comprehensive sex education plan going forward for all students. They said they've seen success and want students to continue to make responsible choices.

"Things like sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, physiology and anatomy, and contraception, all of these things are really important for our kids to learn," said board member Sarah Leonardi.

They also say they want to make sure the district complies with the law at the law's boundary.

"The law is what it is and you need to comply with it but we also have Broward County values and they probably are inconsistent with some of the legislation that's been passed. Now we still have to meet the letter of the law but given that kind of boundary condition, I want to meet the letter of the law and I want to make sure we're respecting the values of Broward County," said board member Dr. Allen Zeman.

Dr. Zeman says he has heard from concerned teachers who are nervous about teaching sex education because they don't want to say the wrong thing.

"One of the rules that's very clear is you can't talk about sexual orientation or gender identity with children in grade three or below, but one of less known consequences though is it doesn't describe what you can talk to them about thereafter," says Dr. Zeman.

"If you violate the law you could lose your teacher's license, so one of the things we're seeing is less interest on behalf of teachers teaching health education or sex education because the law isn't crystal clear," he added.

He hopes to come up with a plan that outlines in more detail what is allowed and what isn't to make sure teachers feel comfortable with the subject matter.   

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