SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Starting in 2019, new legislation will require school sexual education courses in the entire state to include information about sexual harassment, sexual violence, and consent.
Springfield Public Schools coordinator of curriculum for physical education and health, Brad Brummel, says SPS is already covering those topics in its health classes, but that he’ll revise the changes with a team of teachers to make sure the district stays aligned with state statute.
“One of my first big projects was to review the health curriculum at the secondary level and dove deep into HB 1606, and I was pleased to find that we are covering that content in our current curriculum,” he said.
Brummel says the most challenging part about teaching sensitive topics in health class is considering that every family is different and that all students are different.
“And that it’s our job as teachers and as a district to provide students with the latest medically factual information, give them the skills and knowledge that they need to be safe and healthy,” Brummel said.
According to the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, in 2017, more than 102,783 domestic and sexual violence hotline calls were made in the state. That same year, in just one week alone, 292 victims were assaulted by an intimate partner and 437 by someone outside of a relationship
According to the coalition, one percent of victims of sexual assault were 16 or 17. But that number jumps to 21 percent for those 18 through 24.
Brummel says the curriculum in SPS classrooms is focused on awareness and prevention – starting conversations early and building trust with students.
“Help them communicate with their parents, help them communicate with their friends. That way they are not dealing with these situations all by themselves,” Brummel said. “As a dad and a teacher, I would want my daughters to come home and talk about anything that they want to,” he said. “I think as an educator we can give them facts and information that they can go home and talk to their parents about.”
The bill goes into effect for the 2019-20 school year.
The current curriculum for Springfield Public schools is available on its website.
HB 1606 also includes:
– Allowing school bus drivers to have a medical examination every two years instead of every year.
– Requires schools to provide braille instruction to eligible students unless the individual education program team determines that braille instruction is not appropriate.
– Requires high schools to provide students with information about careers, salaries, job-finding, and education.
– Requires schools to be in session for a thousand and 44 hours. Instead of a minimum of days.