Tuesday, June 28, 2005

'Unprecedented victory for parents' against county school board

Montgomery County parents announced what their spokesman called an "unprecedented victory" over the public school system.

Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum and another group sued the Montgomery County Board of Education (BoE) to force the board to stop its "veggie sex" program, a supposed health curriculum that promoted premarital sex and sodomy. Earlier this year, a federal judge imposed a restraining order on the county school system that effectively banned the sex-ed curriculum, partly on the grounds that it discriminated against specific religious denominations. What follows is from the parent groups' news release, issued at 12:08 a.m. on June 28:

John Garza, an attorney for Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum issued the following statement:

“The agreement between the BOE and the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays is an historic and unprecedented victory for parents. Never before have parents been able to stop implementation of a curriculum which so many parents found offensive.

“We feel vindicated in achieving our main three goals. We were able to stop the curriculum from being implemented in six pilot schools this year.

"Secondly, we were able to have the Citizens Advisory Committee, which was charged by the Board with the writing of the 8th and 10th grade Comprehensive Health Education curriculum, disbanded. The Committee used a variety of tactics to exclude viewpoints that differed with those supporting their social agenda. It held up to ridicule and derision the deeply held religious beliefs of many in this county.

"Finally, we were able to bring to the Board’s attention the nature of the faulty process that led to a badly flawed curriculum.”

Regina Griggs, PFOX’s executive director stated, “We believe in respect for all students, including the ex-gays.” She believes that “filing the suit was the right thing to do in light of the thousands of signatures against the curriculum and the clear ruling of law in the court case.”

According to the settlement, the Board will grant CRC and PFOX each a seat on a new 15 member Citizens Advisory Committee.

The Constitutionally questionable teacher resources which portrayed some religions as hateful and misguided because of their stand on homosexuality have been eliminated.

In addition, Montgomery County Public Schools has agreed to hold parent meetings informing them of the new curriculum at least 2 weeks in advance of new sex-ed classes and it has agreed to give parents at least 1 week notice of the meetings.
It will also make the new curriculum and teacher resources available at the parent meetings.

Any parental permission forms involving the new curriculum must include a statement that “sexual variations” will be taught, and sexual orientation will be discussed. . . .

Both parent groups promise to remain vigilant as the curriculum is rewritten and will keep parents informed as it is developed. They strongly encourage the BOE to reconstitute the Citizens Advisory Committee in a way that equitably represents the viewpoints of all citizens in the county.