TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — In a 5-2 vote, the Hillsborough County School Board voted to keep its sexual education curriculum for students in grades 7 to 9, despite opposition.
“It’s definitely not something I wanted you to share with my child,” said Jacalyn Kirschner Muir
She is just one of the concerned parents who took to the podium Thursday afternoon sharing their strong opposition to the curriculum.
“No matter who, what, when, where they’re going to be when they turn 18, or when they’re 25, when their pre-frontal cortex is developed, it’s not our place to put this in front of them at 12,” she said.
Protect Our Children Project President Terry Kemple brought thousands of petitions filed opposing the curriculum to prove a point.
“[These are] graphic, visible statements of people who are saying we don’t want our kids exposed to this,” he said.
He took note of Hillsborough County Schools’ creed, “Preparing students for life.”
“I don’t consider this preparing children for life,” he said. “It’s preparing them to go to a Planned Parenthood clinic to have an abortion.”
A special master heard from dozens of petitioners in a hearing back in November.
She wrote a report giving her recommendation for the school board to overrule all objections saying, “Petitioners’ submissions consisted of affidavits, hearsay and opinion testimony, unsupported by scientific data or legally competent expert opinion and legal argument.”
Her report outlined that the school board did follow the statutory requirements in the development of the curriculum, approval of the curriculum, and providing an open, public hearing to receive objections to the approved curriculum.
Several board members noted that there is an opt-out form parents can fill out. But some parents don’t agree with the opt-out form currently in place.
“I got a permission slip, so you can take my daughter to Busch Gardens,” Kirschner-Muir said. “But shouldn’t I have that same permission slip permission slip, not opt-out that nobody digs out of their backpack to dare give to their parent because I promise you my daughter did not want to be set apart.”
School Board member Karen Perez voted to keep the curriculum saying, “Sex education empowers our students to deal with challenges that they will be able to combat.”
“Not arming them can lead them to make wrong decisions in their lives,” she continued.
The two board members who voted against objecting the oppositions said they believe the process was done illegally.
The school district’s attorney disagreed, referring back to the special master’s report which highlighted the legality of the process.
Local attorney Lee Carden agreed with those two board members saying the process violated Florida statutes.
She plans to file a lawsuit.