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Victory for Sexual Health Education in Miami Dade

Victory for Sexual Health Education in Miami Dade

On Wednesday, July 20th, the school board of Miami Dade County held a meeting to decide whether to keep or reject the previously approved "human growth and development" curriculum. In other words, sex ed materials.

The materials were approved in April, but 278 objections were filed against the textbook. The point of contention was the book's inclusion of contraception, abortion, and other topics. This spurred a hearing where a neutral judge affirmed that the textbooks were in line with state standards.

Several groups mobilized in support of the textbook, including PRISM. Knowledge about sexual health is important to the health and safety of all, but particularly to the marginalized youth we seek to serve. Upwards of 90% of speakers were in support.

Detractors argued the textbook enabled sexual grooming and jumped to accusations of communism and censorship. These talking points are not only irrelevant to the conversation but are well-established canards used by reactionary movements.

At the initial meeting, three separate "concerned parents" associated with conservative nonprofit Moms for Liberty yelled at students and other speakers. . School board members, security staff, and onlookers in the audience were subjected to a flurry of screamed insults as all three were forcibly escorted from the building.

During that meeting, the board voted 5-4 to remove the textbook from the curriculum.

This put the district out of compliance with state standards (which require schools to teach sexual health curriculum), so another meeting was held just last Thursday to discuss how the board would move forward.

In just three days, we and several other organizations mobilized hundreds of parents in Miami, creating a petition that garnered over 2800 signatures, an online tool that sent over 300 emails to each board member, and dozens of speakers at the special meeting.

After several hours of discussion, Chairwoman Perla Tabares Hantman reversed her vote– meaning there were finally enough votes to keep the textbook, in another 5-4 decision.


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