Durango School District 9-R has moved away from using Planned Parenthood to help teach sexual education.
The district, with the help of grants, now has enough health teachers to teach sex education without the help of outside groups, district officials said. District 9-R last used Planned Parenthood programming in May 2008, said Monica McCafferty, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman.
Planned Parenthood provided guest speakers to discuss sexually transmitted diseases, contraception and other topics. District 9-R also used a 10-day Planned Parenthood program at Durango High School. That arrangement ended in 2007.
The school district still teaches a comprehensive sex-ed curriculum, but now, 9-R teachers do the teaching.
"We decided the best practice would be to take that part of health education back," said Sandra Berman-LaFrance, 9-R’s executive director of student achievement. "It’s our job to provide that service. It’s not something we’re in the business of contracting out if we can provide that service."
The district teaches what officials call an "abstinence-based" curriculum. Although it emphasizes abstinence, it also includes information about STDs and contraception.
"We’re legally bound to teach scientifically based health," Berman-LaFrance said.
A 2007 Colorado law requires schools that offer human sexuality courses to teach a science-based curriculum.
Berman-LaFrance said 9-R is proud of the programs it offers, including a health center at DHS.
"We’re looked at by people all over the state and probably the nation for the coordinated health services we offer," she said.
Regular classroom health teachers teach most of the sex-education curriculum in 9-R. For some specialized topics, such as STDs and contraception, District Health Educator Linda Herz steps in.
District health officials are working to get teachers more comfortable teaching sexual education, so students hear the information from their regular teachers whenever possible.
"Our stand has always been that we want our teachers to be the ones teaching sex ed to our students," Berman-LaFrance said.