POLICY MANUAL

Family Life Education (FLE) - Policy P6-25

A. Generally
Instruction shall be organized and maintained under State Department of Education guidelines for locally developed FLE curriculum content.

B. Community Involvement Team
Under the procedures adopted in school board policy #2-17, Citizens' Advisory Committees, a community involvement team shall be established. The team shall be made up of school administrators, teachers, a school board member, parents, clergy, a medical professional and others in the community.

C. Instructional Materials
All classroom instructional materials used in Family Life Education (FLE) must be approved by the school board.

D. Staff Training/Grade Level Leaders

1. Staff Training
The superintendent, or a designee, will select teachers for FLE training programs sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education.

2. Grade Level Leaders
The superintendent, or a designee, will appoint a FLE leader for each grade level. The FLE leader will assist in training teachers and will work with the community involvement team.

E. Separate Sessions
As determined by the community involvement team portions of classes in the FLE program which deal exclusively with human sexuality may be conducted in separate sessions for boys and girls.

F. "Opt-out" Procedures
The superintendent or a designee, will develop "opt-out" procedures for parents or guardians who do not want their children included in all or part of the FLE program.

G. Handicapped Students
The superintendent, or a designee, shall develop a plan for including family life education in the individualized education plan (IEP) of handicapped students.

H. Annual Review
An opportunity for the FLE curriculum to be reviewed by parents and others in the community will be provided annually.

I. Abstinence Focus
Curriculum guidelines and materials will include abstinence education, defined as "an educational or motivational component which has as its exclusive purpose teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by teenagers' abstaining from sexual activity before marriage."

Legal Reference:

Code of Va., §22.1-207.1. Family life education. "The Board of Education shall develop by December 1, 1987, standards of learning and curriculum guidelines for a comprehensive, sequential family life education curriculum in grades K through 12. Such curriculum guidelines shall include instruction as appropriate for the age of the student in family living and community relationships, abstinence education, the value of postponing sexual activity, human sexuality, human reproduction, and the etiology, prevention and effects of sexually transmitted diseases. All such instruction shall be designed to promote parental involvement, foster positive self concepts and provide mechanisms for coping with peer pressure and the stresses of modern living according to the students' developmental stages and abilities. The Board shall also establish by December 1, 1987, requirements for appropriate training for teachers of family life education.

By December 1, 1987, the Board of Education shall provide the House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance an analysis of the state and local fiscal impact of implementing a mandatory statewide family life education program and a recommended apportionment of state and local funding for such programs if not otherwise determined by law.

For the purposes of this section, "abstinence education" means an educational or motivational component which has as its exclusive purpose teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by teenagers' abstaining from sexual activity before marriage."

Code of Va., § 22.1 -207.2. Right of parents to review certain materials; summaries distributed on request.--"Every parent, guardian or other person in the Commonwealth having control or charge of any child who is required by §22.1-254 A to send such child to a public school shall have the right to review the complete family life curricula, including all supplemental materials used in any family life education program. A complete copy of all printed materials and a description of all audio-visual materials shall be kept in the school library or office and made available for review to any parent or guardian during school office hours before and during the school year. The audiovisual materials shall be made available to parents for review, upon request, on the same basis as printed materials are made available.

Each school board shall develop and, when so requested by an individual parent or guardian of a student participating in the family life education program, distribute to that parent or guardian, a summary designed to assist parents in understanding the program implemented in its school division as such program progresses and to encourage parental guidance and involvement in the instruction of the students. Such information shall reflect the curricula of the program as taught in the classroom. (1998)

U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare/Office of Civil Rights, Final Title IX Regulation Implementing Education Amendments of 1972 Prohibiting Sex Discrimination in Education (Effective date: July 21, 1975.) § 86.34 c. "portions of classes in elementary and secondary schools which deal exclusively with human sexuality may be conducted in separate sessions for boys and girls."

Virginia Board of Education, Guidelines, "Family Life Education" (Approved December 8-9, 1987).

Editor's Note: The following Attorney General's Opinion was issued March 31,1989:

"You ask whether the 'opt-out' provision of the Family Life Education guidelines adopted by the Board of Education permits a parent or legal guardian to absent their child from all or any part of the Family Life Education program, and not just those parts of the program deemed to be sensitive by a local school board.

I. Applicable Statute and Guideline Provision
As required by § 22.1-207.1 of the Code of Virginia, the Board of Education developed standards of learning and curriculum guidelines for a comprehensive, sequential family life education curriculum in the public schools of the Commonwealth. See Board of Education, Family Life Education (rev. March 1988) (the "Guidelines"). These guidelines are required to be implemented by local school divisions in order to meet accreditation standards. See 4 Va. Regs. Reg. : 7.21, at 2831 (August 29, 1988)

The Guidelines expressly require that "an 'opt-out' procedure shall be provided to ensure communication with the parent or guardian for permission for students to be excused from all or part of the program," (Emphasis added.) See Guidelines §III(H) at xv.

II. Guidelines Provision Applies to All or Part of Family Life Program
The 'opt-out' provision of the Guidelines, quoted above, clearly and without exception authorized a parent or legal guardian to excuse his child from all or any part of the Family Life Education program. It is my opinion, therefore, that this provision permits a parent or legal guardian to absent their child from all of any part of this program and not just those portions of the program deemed to be sensitive by a local school board." (1989)

8VAC20-131-170. Family Life Education. Each school may implement the Standards of Learning for the Family Life Education program promulgated by the Board of Education or a Family Life Education program consistent with the guidelines developed by the Board of Education, which shall have the goals of reducing the incidence of pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases and substance abuse among teenagers.

§§22.1-16, 22.1-19 and 22.1-253.13:3 of the Code of Virginia.

Adopted by School Board: August 9,1988
Revised by School Board: June 20, 2000

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