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Teaching Students about Sexual Health in RPS

A teacher at Centennial is interviewed for the evening news.
Teaching Students about Sexual Health in RPS

This week, we have received national attention for our sexual health program. The problem is, the information being shared is inaccurate and misleading. We want to provide you with the facts about what we do (and do not) include in the sexual health component of our health curriculum.

At the K-5 level, we teach students one to two age-appropriate health and safety lessons per classroom that align with national education standards. Topics may include the anatomically correct names for body parts, a person’s right to keep their body safe by expressing their level of comfort with touch, and identifying a safe adult to confide in if needed. We do NOT teach elementary students about anal sex, show them graphic images, or ask them to role play, as has been reported by some media outlets.

The curriculum that we use at the elementary level comes, in part, from the 3Rs. (Rights, Respect, Responsibility) from Advocates for Youth. You can learn more about it on their website, however, we only use a few select lessons from this program—not the entire curriculum. 

At the secondary level, we do not use the 3Rs. Our secondary health teachers use two to three lessons from Positive Prevention PLUS, which is an evidence-based curriculum that is aligned with the National Sex Education Standards. Positive Prevention PLUS: Sexual Health Education for America’s Youth focuses on specific protective behaviors using a variety of peer-based and interactive strategies. It utilizes a trauma-informed approach, incorporates foundational social-emotional learning practices and effective teaching methodologies that have demonstrated results in reducing adolescent sexual risk behaviors.

There are no activities in the secondary curriculum that have students role-playing situations in front of the entire classroom. There are two activities that ask students to work in pairs and/or small groups to practice negotiation and assertiveness skills through scripted interactions. As is described in the National Health Education Standards using classroom time to demonstrate and practice refusal, negotiation and collaboration skills will enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks. 

Before the sexual health unit is introduced, all families are provided the opportunity to learn more about what will be covered in the unit. In addition:

  • In grades K-4, parents are provided with an opt-out form. Fourth grade families also need to opt-in for the anatomy talks
  • In grade 5, parents are required to specifically opt-in for their child to participate. 
  • In secondary, parents can reach out to the health teacher with concerns and work directly with the teacher to opt their child in or out of specific lessons.

Copies of the most recent letters are included below. Please note that not all grades received the sexual health units last year due to COVID-19 and distance learning.

Here is what we want you to know about our health education program and our stance on racial and gender justice. We strive to ensure all of our curriculum and activities are inclusive and representative of our remarkable students and our community. At Richfield Public Schools, we believe deeply in equity and inclusion across racial and gender identities. We support ALL students and inspire and empower each individual to learn, grow and excel. We stand by our equity and gender inclusion policies and we thank our community and students for their support and commitment to this vital work. 

If you have specific questions about the sexual health lessons taught in your child’s class, please contact your school social worker (grades K-5) or your child’s health teacher (grades 6-12). 

Communication sent to Families:

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In RPS, as educators, family members and lifelong learners, we acknowledge the patterns of inequality that still exist today. Together, as a community, we have the power to create change and to bring about racial, social and economic justice. 

Chantelle Vaughn

Congratulations to Centennial social worker Chantelle Vaughn, who was one of ten educators across the nation to receive the 2022 Unity Award from PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center!

Summer student pass

Any current 9-12th grade student at RHS, RCEP and the South Education Center can get unlimited rides on Metro Transit buses and trains up to a $3.25* fare. Graduating seniors may purchase a Summer Student Pass if they were enrolled in a participating school in 2022. Passes are valid from June 1 through Sept. 6, 2022. Summer Student Passes cost $30.

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