FARMINGTON — A committee of parents, educators, and a school nurse will spend the next few months reviewing Davis School District’s maturation program provided for fifth- and sixth-graders.
The committee that was recently approved by the district’s school board consists of four parents, three teachers, a school nurse and the district’s health curriculum supervisor, John Robison.
Every district is required by a State Board of Education rule to have a committee that reviews proposed speakers, presenters and materials used to teach elementary students about maturation.
“Technology and media are changing everything,” Robison said.
What hasn’t changed are the basics of puberty and maturation, he said.
“Puberty is puberty,” Robison said. “The menstrual cycle can only be explained one way.”
Maturation programs have been in Utah schools since the late 1950s, according to a state Office of Education report.
Fifth- and sixth-grade students must have their parents sign a permission slip before they attend the maturation program. Parents can review the materials either at the school or on the district’s website before giving or denying consent. Parents are also encouraged to attend the class with their students.
The material presented in elementary schools this past year and next year has been changed from what was taught in 2010, officials said.
In April 2011 the state Board of Education removed from its instructional materials list the “Growing Up Comes First” program developed by Planned Parenthood. It came under fire by parents and legislators in 2010 and 2011. It had been on the list since 2000, according to a report by the State Office of Education issued in March.
Davis, Ogden and Weber revamped their maturation programs after the state removed the “Growing Up Comes First” program, officials said.
Box Elder redid its program three years ago, said MaryKay Kirkland, assistant superintendent with the district.
Ogden School District spokeswoman Donna Corby said her district looks at what the state has before deciding what materials will be used in the classroom.
“We also follow the state’s guidelines,” Corby said.
Weber School District adopted several programs, combining them in order to meet the state’s guidelines, said Bob Wood, student services director.
The state board also tightened up the language in its rule mandating the committee for every district. The committee reviews the materials the district proposes to use in classrooms and then once they approve it, the materials go before each district’s school board for approval.
“Every year there are all kinds of companies offering materials for schools and we have to be sensitive in what can be taught and what cannot be taught,” Robison said. “It’s the state law.”