High School and Middle School Sex Ed Curriculums May Cover “Sexting”

Tuesday, March 12, 2019, 3:15 pm
Karessa Wheeler

Two new videos explaining the dangers of “sexting” may soon be added to the sex education curriculum for the middle and high schools, following a public hearing at the East Lansing Board of Education Monday night.

Mary Ellen Vrbanac, sex education supervisor for the District, told the Board that the Sex Education Advisory Board has been searching for several years for material to help students understand the risks of young people using their phones or computers to send or receive sexual pictures, videos or texts.

“We were able to select content we felt was current and informational as to the consequences of sexting,” Vrbanac said.

One 14-minute video “Talk It Out: Sex, Self-Respect and Social Media” makes a distinction between flirting online and sexting, Vrbanac said. It would be shown as part of the HIV/AIDS curriculum in 7th and 8th grade as well as during the high school sexual health curriculum.

The second video is shorter and intended for only students in 8th grade or higher. “Ally’s Story” Second Thoughts on Sexting” share a personal experience with sexting and “brings a lot of realism to the consequences of sexting,” Vrbanac said.

Both videos would be able to be reviewed by contacting Vrbanac at mary.vrbanac@elps.us and parents would have the option of excusing their children from watching them. The material would also be appropriate for a “responsible technology use” discussion with students outside of the sex ed curriculum, she said.

Following Vrbanac’s presentation, there were several questions from the Board members but no questions or comments from the public.

Board President Erin Graham asked if the videos would touch on the unsolicited sending of photographs of body parts. Vrbanac said yes, that topic is included as well with several different scenarios.

“As a parent of a middle schooler and a high schooler, I know that that goes on quite frequently – the sending of unsolicited photos of body parts - and I am glad we will be talking about it at a younger age,” said Graham.

Trustee Chris Martin is supportive of adding sexting into the educational curriculum.

“These are a very important topics that I deal with it all the time in the criminal justice system,” Martin said.

The Board will vote on the additions to the curriculum at a later meeting.

Photo: East Lansing High School students Sophie Rutkowski and Tuerhong “Harry” Halimulati were honored for their art pieces in the MSUFCU Student Art Exhibit. Also pictured is ELHS art teacher Robin Remer-Saenz (center.)

Also at the meeting the Board recognized two East Lansing High School art students who recently won awards from the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union’s Student Art Exhibit. Sophie Rutkowski received first place and Tuerhong “Harry” Halimulati received an honorable mention in the juried art show for 17 area schools.

The Board also heard a presentation on data from Glencairn Elementary School from Principal Lorraine Ware and teachers Lauren Schefke and Tiffany Talamonti-Burgee.




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