Canyons school district officials pressed the pause button on a socio-emotional learning program because they said sexual content was included in the instruction.
The “Second Step” program was purchased by the district for as much as $ 330,000 several years ago from its developers, the Committee for Children, a nonprofit organization in Washington State.
Stacie Clayton, mother of a middle school student in the district, said she spent up to 30 hours in the Grade 8 Second Step program.
“I looked at every slide, every document, every student learning plan, the teachers’ learning plan,” she told 2News. “There are some completely sexually inappropriate things that shouldn’t be taught to a college kid in my opinion.”
Parents, including members of Utah Parents United – a group that opposes mask warrants in schools – have raised concerns with the Canyons District.
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“Some of the content, quite frankly, just violated state law,” district spokesperson Jeff Haney said of the Second Step program. “When this was brought to our attention, we immediately moved. “
He said objectionable material was on a website, loveisrespect.org, related to the socio-emotional learning program. He didn’t speak directly to what the material was, and although 2News made a request on Wednesday, we haven’t seen him yet.
“It was content about physical relationships, we were talking about sex – no empathy, respect and resilience?” Asked 2News.
“Right,” Haney replied.
2News left messages for a media representative for the Children’s Committee, but received no response on Wednesday evening. We were also unable to reach loveisrespect.org, which can be linked to a national domestic violence hotline.
At a Canyon school board meeting on Tuesday night, registered clinical social worker Jennifer Rupp spoke out in favor of keeping Second Step in elementary schools.
“It teaches very basic skills that are essential for being ready for college and for a career,” she said, “such as following directions, listening to learn, resolving conflicts and solving problems.”
Another person, who spoke to the board on the phone, said that “a group pretty much dictated what was going to be taught in our schools.”
Besides gender, Clayton said he found other controversial topics in the Grade 8 curriculum – elements of critical race theory and a push for social activism that may work against “family beliefs or religious “.
If the now suspended program violates state law, 2News asked how it got past the Canyons Board in the first place.
Haney said the developers may have changed the program since it was introduced to the district.
Canyons superintendent Dr Rick Robins offered another at least short-term socio-emotional learning program, but school board members seemed to want more study before making a selection.