Aug 20, 2010 9:14 PM by Marnee Banks (KXLH-Helena)

Helena woman files suit over sex ed curriculum

A legislative candidate is trying to stop Helena's proposed health curriculum, which includes a controversial sex-education portion, from moving forward by filing a lawsuit.

On Friday, Kristi Allen-Gailushas asked district court to issue an immediate injunction against the Helena School district.

The document listed the Helena School District and the Office of Public Instruction.

OPI maintains it has no part in drafting the curriculum. They report, according to the Montana constitution, curriculum drafting remains the responsibility of local boards and superintendents.

Gailushas says she wants both organizations held accountable. "Sex education is a social issue it does not belong in the schools, it belongs in the home. As well as nutrition that belongs in the home, I don't believe the school has the right to be teaching that either," Gailushas says.

Gailushas is trying to stop the entire document from proceeding any further.

The curriculum is still in the drafting phases and has not been adopted yet. The school board will present revisions to the document at their September meeting, then make a decision in October.

(August 12, 2010) The controversy over the proposed health curriculum in Helena school system has prompted a group of citizens to bring in a nationally recognized author and psychiatrist to speak about sex education.

The idea to bring in Dr. Miriam Grossman was presented at Tuesday night's board meeting. She's written a book entitled "You're Teaching My Child What?"

Grossman speaks to teachers, students, and health professionals about the facts and myths of sex education.

"It came out of a concern basically that maybe there were limited resources that were accessed in terms of when this curriculum was put together," explained Sharon Nason, who describes herself as a concerned grandparent. "Those resources that were used didn't seem to represent the positions of a lot of parents in terms of the kinds of material they want their children to be presented."

The event with Dr. Grossman is scheduled to take place on September 1st in Helena.

(July 14, 2010) The new health curriculum being considered in Helena is drawing praise from some parents and criticism from others - and an incredible amount of attention (read original story, July 8).

More than 500 residents attended Tuesday's school board meeting in order to weigh in on the controversy. The school board heard public comment for two hours, with one hour allotted for advocates, and one hour for opponents. Two rooms holding 150 people each were filled inside, and approximately 200 people filled the parking lot in order to hear a live broadcast of the meeting.

The proposed curriculum outlines sex education topics for each grade, K through 12. In the first grade, children would be taught that human beings can love people of the same gender; in second grade, kids are taught not to make fun of people by calling them "gay" or "queer." By fifth grade, they would be taught there are several types of intercourse, and by the sixth grade, the draft document states that students should, "Understand that sexual intercourse includes but is not limited to vaginal, oral, or anal penetration; using the penis, fingers, tongue or objects." Click here to read the entire document (PDF).