Call to Delay Fairfax County School Board June 14 Vote on Family Life Curriculum Updates

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June 7, 2018

To the Members of the Fairfax County School Board:

We are writing to request an extension to the public comment period closing on June 8, on changes to the Family Life Education (FLE) curriculum and a delay of the June 14th Fairfax County School Board vote on approval of those changes. The steps taken to solicit broad-based community input on the proposal were inadequate, per the guidelines set forth by the Board of Education.[i]  According to the required guidelines for implementation of the Board of Education’s approved Family Life Education program, which also pertains to programs developed locally, “There must be evidence of broad-based community involvement and an annual opportunity for parents and others to review curriculum and instructional materials prior to the beginning of actual instruction.”

We, the undersigned, assert that the FCSB did not properly solicit input from the “broad-based community” or “others,” as alerts were sent primarily through the School Board’s newsletter, which only goes to parents of current students that have not chosen to opt-out. As such, residents of Fairfax County who do not have students currently enrolled in the school system, but otherwise pay taxes or may anticipate on sending their children to the public school, were not properly alerted to the process or the accompanying public input period. Furthermore, not being made aware of the opportunity for the public to weigh in suppresses residents’ first amendment rights.

The proposed changes to the FLE curriculum as submitted by the FLE Curriculum Advisory Committee, which would be implemented as early as the fall for the 2018/2019 schoolyear if passed, deserve serious consideration from Fairfax County parents, residents and taxpayers.[ii] For example, there are four sections proposed that would add instruction on the PrEP drug (commercially known as Truvada[iii] from pharmaceutical manufacturer Gilead Sciences, Inc.), which is for very high-risk HIV populations.[iv] 

We hope that you consider our request for an extension of the public comment period and thus a delay on the scheduled June 14 vote on the FLE CAC recommendations. Full public participation, a variety of perspectives and community involvement is all critical to an open process. Important issues such as these that involve the well-being of children deserves a robust debate.

Thank you for your consideration.

 

[i] http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/family_life_education/index.shtml
[ii] https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5682e271a976af97bb8dde6a/t/5af4438988251bd3a02838b0/1525957513634/FLECAC+Annual+Recommendations+Report+May+10%2C+2018.pdf
[iii]https://services.gileadhiv.com/content/pdf/TRUVADA_for_PrEP_Important_Facts.pdf
[iv] https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/prep.html



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