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Education

Lawrence School District To Use National Sex Education Standards

Lawrence's school district will use national sexuality education standards this year, rather than state standards.

Sarah Oatsvall, the district's assistant director of teaching and learning, says the national standards are more comprehensive than state standards approved by the State Board of Education in 2006.

The goal is to improve the students' self-image, promote good behaviors and help students make good decisions, she said.

The national standards include more information about birth control and sexual orientation.

Lawrence's school board adopted the national standards last year and they are being implemented in all the district's schools this year.

Parents can "opt-out" if they don't want their children to participate in the sex education curriculum.

Two or three students didn't take part in a short portion of the curriculum last year. Those students left the class through a silent signal from the teacher so others would not know they were leaving, she said.

Community groups also are working with the district.

For example, Sue McDaneld, who coordinates family planning and sexually transmitted disease programs at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, will speak to eighth-graders about STDs and pregnancy prevention.