In the wake of the controversy this month over a poster displayed at Hocker Grove Middle School, Shawnee Mission superintendent Jim Hinson emphasized that the district uses abstinence-based approach to human sexuality education in its schools.
“It’s the right approach,” Hinson told the school board Monday while reporting on the poster incident. The poster was was part of supplemental curriculum materials that were used in the middle school classes. “I find some of the materials to be objectionable,” Hinson said.
The poster and other materials from the program, called “Making a Difference,” have been suspended. Hinson said the curriculum was purchased during the 2012-13 school year. It was used for the first time this school year. He did say the textbook used with the human sexuality program is good.
The materials were not reviewed by the board. The district is conducting review not only of the materials, but of the way the curriculum was communicated to parents, Hinson said.
“Did we communicate to parents? No. Is the material appropriate? It needs to be reviewed,” he said. The review will be within the curriculum department. That review may not be finished in time for the February board meeting, he said, and there is no board decision to be made.
Hinson sent out a letter to parents nearly two weeks ago after the issue was raised by a Hocker Grove parent and the contents of the poster, which lists sexual activity, was displayed in a televised report. In the report, the parent said he was not aware of the type of instruction.
Parents can review curricular materials and the district honors requests for non-participation during human sexuality instruction.