Today, attorneys for the Board of Education of Montgomery County in the suit over revisions to the health education curriculum agreed to extend the current temporary restraining order through the end of December 2005. The joint motion to extend the order, which was submitted to the United States District Court, was agreed to by attorneys representing the plaintiffs that filed suit last week over the implementation of a revised curriculum and teacher resource materials on sexual variations for the Grade 8 and Grade 10 health education classes.
“The agreement reached today by our attorneys provides us with the time and opportunity to resolve this litigation, which we hope can be done in an amicable and productive manner while at the same time maintaining the school system’s fundamental right to control its own curriculum,” said Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of the Montgomery County Public Schools.
The agreed extension of the court order will not affect school activities because the revisions had already been suspended by the superintendent for the remainder of the school year. The revisions involved a two-day instructional section on sexual variations in both grades. Other approved health education subjects are being taught instead. Because the revisions are intended for the spring portion of the health curriculum, the agreement reached today will not affect lessons for the upcoming fall semester.
The revised curriculum on sexual variations was to be field tested in six schools when the suit was brought. The temporary restraining order was granted May 5 and that same day the superintendent suspended the field testing. The existing health curriculum is proceeding as scheduled.
The court’s order focused on certain background teacher resource materials that were not part of the curriculum and that were never intended to be provided to students. “It is important to note that there are two components to the health education program -- the curriculum that is presented to students and the teacher resource materials that are provided only to teachers,” Dr. Weast said.
“However, the continuation of the temporary restraining order means that litigation is also continuing and, as a result, it would not be appropriate to discuss the revised curriculum or the teacher resource materials at this time,” he said.