Court Order Against Sex-Ed Lessons Sought

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Three groups seeking to halt the new sex education curriculum in Montgomery County schools filed papers yesterday seeking a court order to prevent the school system from teaching the lessons this fall.

The groups requested a stay in Montgomery Circuit Court so that the lessons, the school system's first foray into sexual orientation as a classroom topic, will not be taught countywide. Absent court intervention, eighth- and 10th-grade health teachers will embark on the new lessons starting in October, said Michelle Turner, a spokeswoman for lead opposition group Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum.

Opponents of the sex education lessons, approved this year by the county school board, turned to the courts this summer after an initial appeal to the Maryland State Board of Education was rejected. The appeal is scheduled to be heard in January.

School board members and education leaders say the lessons are age-appropriate and pedagogically sound. "The Maryland State Board of Education has already considered and rejected the opponents' arguments as having no merit," said schools spokesman Brian Edwards. "It appears that a small group of opponents is intent on forcing Montgomery County public schools to spend thousands more in taxpayer dollars to argue the same points all over again."

Opponents say the lessons promote homosexuality and unsafe sex.

"We're only asking that these individual classes, these units, not be taught," said Turner, whose group is joined in the appeal by Family Leader Network and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays. The Thomas More Law Center, a Christian public-interest firm, is assisting.

-- Daniel de Vise

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