NEAR WEST SIDE — In an effort to calm the fears of Near West Side parents, Chicago Public School officials will hold a meeting on the district's sex education curriculum at Andrew Jackson Language Academy Friday.
Leaders in CPS' Office of Student Health and Wellness will meet with Jackson parents at 5 p.m. Friday at the elementary school, Principal Mathew Ditto said.
In a letter to parents, Ditto said that the CPS office is evaluating all sex ed curricula, including teacher resources and supplemental materials, "to prevent any unintentional sharing of material that is not part of the curriculum."
On Thursday, parents at Jackson said they were shocked after viewing sex ed materials labeled for fifth-graders, contending that the information was over the top and not age-appropriate.
On Tuesday, Ditto said the material was developed by a coalition of health advocacy groups and was intended as a supplemental resource "strictly for teachers' use."
"We have not implemented this curriculum in the classrooms, and Chicago Public Schools is unaware of this material being used in any classroom in the district," he said.
The materials were "mistakenly downloaded" and displayed in a binder labeled as curriculum for fifth-grade students at a parent meeting last week, Ditto said. Schools are provided electronic files that include curriculum and supplemental resources for teachers "not intended for student access or consumption," said the Jackson principal.
Stephanie Lulay says some parents want to suspend the program:
Jackson teachers and Ditto also plan to meet with Dr. Stephanie Whyte, the CPS chief officer of student health and wellness, to review the curriculum by grade, the principal said.
At Skinner West elementary school Tuesday night, Armando Chacon, president of the West Central Association Chamber of Commerce and a Skinner Local School Council member, asked Principal Deborah Clark if the slides would ever be presented to students at the West Loop school.
"I just want to know it's not an issue," Chacon said.
Clark responded that the "inappropriate" material, or anything like it, would never be shown in Skinner classrooms.
One of the sex ed pages, titled "Feel Good Reasons to Use FCs [Female Condoms]," included information on how to make sex last longer and read: "Once you pop, you don't have to stop!"
Another page reads: "Got issues? Lube! Lube! Lube!"
After viewing the material, Jackson LSC Chairwoman Angela Bryant launched a petition urging CPS to suspend teaching the sex ed curriculum in elementary schools. Bryant wants CPS officials to audit all content being presented to elementary school students, ensuring that it has been revised to be "modest, objective and age-appropriate."
CPS officials have stated that the material presented at Jackson was a mistake.
But a slideshow that has since been removed was posted on the website of another school, Waters elementary, and include all five of the controversial slides in a PowerPoint presentation.
Under new sex ed guidelines, fifth-grade students are typically taught about contraception, CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey confirmed. The discussion includes use of female condoms, he said.
Parents can opt their children out of school sex education classes by providing written notice to a school.
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