The Sarasota County School District is apologizing and taking action after a video that has been deemed inappropriate was shown in class at Pine View High School.
A school district spokesperson tells News Channel 8 that the Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC) has been conducting health education classes in the school district for five years.
On Nov. 7, a SPARCC counselor showed a video in class that was about consent. The video was produced by Planned Parenthood and included footage of several couples, including men making out with other men and women kissing other women.
The video was shown to Pine View High School seniors and reported to administrators by two teachers who also observed the video.
School Board Chair Bridget Ziegler tweeted the video with the message, “What do parental rights matter in K-12 ed? This video was shown to students during an AP Literature class. No parents were notified in advance. It was only after a student complained that parents & our board became aware.”
The school district says SPARCC previously used this approved video.
They say the counselor last week “took it upon herself to show this un-approved video, knowing it had not been previously vetted, and broke curriculum protocol.” A statement from the district says Pine View staff also did not follow the correct process for guest speakers “by admitting this counselor in the school in advance of their appointment and showing materials that had not been approved.”
SPARCC President and CEO Jessica Hays released this statement:
“We sincerely apologize for the incident last Wednesday at Pine View. The staff member did not follow established protocol regarding the programming presented, and the organization has acted to ensure that this does not happen again. SPARCC has had a positive relationship with Sarasota County Schools that has spanned more than 15 years and we take the trust placed in our organization very seriously. Preventing domestic/dating violence and sexual assault is central to our mission and SPARCC aims to be a trusted resource for our community.”
Pine View Principal Dr. Stephen Covert also released a statement:
“We appreciate SPARCC’s shared concerns regarding this incident. I am thankful for their swift review of the events and apology to our students, staff, school leaders and families. Until now, SPARCC has been a trusted resource for our students and school community, however, I am disappointed that the action of one resulted in an unacceptable situation for our students. I want to assure our school community that we will follow district guidelines and will take extra precautions in the future to ensure only pre-approved materials are used in the classroom.”
Pine View Senior Sachin Pavuluri watched the video.
“I think it was a necessary talk for some people just to like clarify stuff, I didn’t find it offensive really…I think it enlightened people and gave them a talk that they may not have had otherwise,” said Pavuluri.
School board member Eric Robinson found the video uncomfortable.
“Its just unfortunate that they decided to use Planned Parenthood to get their message out,” said Robinson. “If parents had been notified about this, this could’ve been stopped off at the pass.”
Planned Parenthood spokesperson Sarah Scully released this statement:
“The “Consent 101” series of online videos are geared for older teens and young adults. The videos explain and model what consent is and what it looks like in different situations, and is inclusive of diverse sexual orientations and race/ethnicities. This award-winning video series is designed to help young people understand consent in a relatable, as well as educational, way.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America has placed these videos online for free so that any community across the country can utilize them just by going to Planned Parenthood’s website.
We hope these videos help young people better understand that consent is part of healthy communication in relationships and encourage them to have open, honest conversations with their partners.”
The school district has now suspended SPARCC from presenting in Sarasota County schools and reinforced guest speaker protocols with staff.