At the board meeting on May 24, Ashley Stahl, an LGBTQ+ and PFLAG member, gave a public comment regarding the approval of a long-debated student health curriculum. The Roaring Fork School Board of Education ultimately voted to approve the proposal after months of discussion. This curriculum is designed to expand students’ health education in various areas, including physical, personal, social, and emotional health, as well as prevention and risk management. Additionally, the curriculum promotes the inclusion and needs of LGBTQ+ students.
Following the approval, students will have opportunities to receive complete age-appropriate information regarding issues such as puberty, sex, reproduction, relationships, and other topics related to sexual development. The curriculum also aims to equip students with the skills they need to build healthy and supportive relationships, providing them with support from caring adults who respect and affirm their identities.
At the board meeting, members of the PFLAG organization and Roaring Fork community members attended and shared mixed views on the health curriculum. Ashley Stahl stated that sex education has a significant impact on the mental health of people in the LGBTQ+ community. However, Reverend Jim Tarr of Cornerstone Church and other opponents of the curriculum also voiced their criticism, with some stating they would remove their children from school if the curriculum was approved.
Despite the opposition, School Board Director Maureen Steppe stated that there was significant disagreement over the curriculum. The district’s Student and Family Services will now work on developing a proposed scope and sequence for the curriculum for each age group. The Roaring Fork families who are reluctant to have their child participate in a sexual orientation/behavior/identity approved health curriculum may opt-out.
In addition to the health curriculum approval, the board also approved a guaranteed maximum price for the Meadowwood staff housing project. The project aims to add 50 units to the existing 124 units the district offers for teachers and staff, with the goal of attracting and retaining teachers in the future. The Housing Commission will now take a closer look at the selection criteria for teachers and staff in the applying school district. The next regular board meeting is scheduled on June 14th at the Carbondale District Office.