Sexual education causing controversy in Tempe

TEMPE, AZ - The Tempe Unified School District is aiming to revamp their health and sex education program.

The district is hoping to create a unified program that is taught in all classrooms.

The board appointed a committee that handpicked three programs that will be part of the initial search process for the best program that provides the type of education to students that complies with Arizona state law.

The three programs are: It's All One, Our Whole Lives, and Family Life and Sexual Health (FLASH).

A group calling themselves  Alliance Defending Freedom is questioning the district's position because they don't like the fact that Planned Parenthood is providing the committee with the information concerning the programs.

"The problem is the wisdom of a school district bringing in Planned Parenthood to consult them on their sex education program. It's is an organization they shouldn't be getting their advice from," said Jeremy Tedesco, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom.

The organization wrote a letter to Tempe officials saying Planned Parenthood's presentation could be illegal under Arizona law.

In the letter, Alliance says Planned Parenthood is "pro-abortion not pro-childbirth/adoption" and that the curriculum committee "should not permit representatives of Planned Parenthood into the district's classrooms to teach sex education."

But Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Baca with the Tempe Unified School District, says Planned Parenthood was never asked to present the information, nor did the group approach the committee about presenting the information concerning sex education programs.

"The committee did not invite Planned Parenthood as an organization to promote any program. A person on the committee knew a person that was familiar with the programs that were being considered and they asked that person to speak. That person happens to work at Planned Parenthood," said Baca

Planned Parenthood states, and the school district confirms, that Planned Parenthood will not be in school teaching children the program.

The district also states that any sex education program that is picked will comply with state law which requires all schools to provide age appropriate and medically accurate information to all students concerning health and sex education.

Under Arizona Senate Bill 1009, all sexual education must promote childbirth and adoption over abortion. The Alliance says Planned Parenthood's presentation violates that law.

Baca posted a letter to parents and guardians on the TUSD website saying the district is not allowing Planned Parenthood to teach sex education to their students, and that the committee does not make curriculum decisions, only recommendations.

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