Students Win with Recent School Board Decisions in Lyon and Clark Counties

Affiliate: ACLU of Nevada
December 13, 2013 12:00 am

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ACLU of Nevada
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LAS VEGAS – The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada praises the Clark County School District (CCSD) Trustees for voting at their December 12, 2013 meeting to postpone both the approval of its sex education operations manual and the approval of members to the Sex Education Advisory Committee.

“The decision to postpone these votes ensures that going forward, the process will be transparent and that members of the community are involved — as they should have been from the beginning,” said Tod Story, Executive Director of the ACLU of Nevada.

CCSD is subject to Nevada’s Open Meetings Law, which ensures that government deliberations and actions are conducted openly. CCSD was planning to vote on both the operations manuals and the Sex Education Advisory Committee without providing transparency on the process of committee member selection, or adequate notice or information on associated deliberations.

“The days of back door decision making are over. Compliance with the open meetings law is meant to secure the opportunity of parents, students, and community members to have a meaningful impact on the development of policy. We are all well served when decisions on the appointment of sex education advisory committee members is subject to public scrutiny, rather than the result of the presentation of a narrow range of interests,” said Staci Pratt, Legal Director of the ACLU of Nevada.

The ACLU of Nevada has requested the sex education policies and curriculum from each of Nevada’s 17 counties through the Nevada Public Records Act. CCSD has acknowledged that it received the ACLU of Nevada’s Public Records Act request but has not yet fulfilled the request.

The Lyon County School District in northern Nevada provided their sex education curriculum to the ACLU of Nevada, which reviewed the curriculum and found many aspects to be religiously based, outdated, gender-biased, and homophobic. The staff of the Lyon County School District worked with the ACLU of Nevada to draft a new, comprehensive sex education policy that addresses the real needs of its students.

The policy was approved unanimously at the School District’s November 26, 2013 meeting. The new policy emphasizes “the District…will provide a well-planned sequence of instruction on comprehensive sexual health and HIV/AIDS prevention. The District’s sexual health and HIV/AIDS prevention curriculum shall be based on medically accurate and factual information, and designed to teach students to make healthy choices and reduce high-risk behaviors.”

“The Lyon County school board is to be commended for adopting a meaningful policy that will serve their students for years to come. And the staff has been open and responsive since our public records act request was fulfilled. We look forward to continuing to work with not only Lyon and Clark counties, but every county throughout the state” said Story.

Nevada’s statutory framework provides a minimum platform for the type of sex education required in Nevada schools. The ACLU of Nevada is working to ensure that all school districts in Nevada offer their students comprehensive, age-appropriate and medically accurate information, free from discrimination or bias.

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