- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Montgomery County school board last night voted to scrap a new sex- education curriculum that discussed homosexuality and transgenderism, as well as dissolve the citizens committee that designed it.

“We have an opportunity now to move ahead with a fresh look at this curriculum,” Superintendent Jerry D. Weast said.

Michelle Turner, president of Citizens for Responsible Curriculum (CRC), a parents group that successfully sued to temporarily stop the course earlier this month, said, “I’m shocked. It was very unexpected, and I am just very surprised, very pleased.”

On May 5, Mr. Weast had suspended the course, which the board unanimously approved in November, after a federal judge issued a 10-day restraining order along with a ruling that the course was one-sided and discriminated against those with moral and religious objections to homosexuality.

Curriculum supporters had argued that the board could remove a handful of supplemental materials and move forward with the course, but last night, the board voted 9-1 to approve Mr. Weast’s recommendation that they start over.

The board expressly forbade the use of the supplemental materials, which taught that Jesus Christ said nothing about homosexuality and that homophobia is a disease. They instructed Mr. Weast to “research, develop and recommend” a new curriculum that discusses “sexual variations” using “professional educators within the school system.” The board also ended the terms of every member of the 27-member Citizens Advisory Committee that crafted the course, even though some members’ terms ran through 2006.

The board will appoint a new committee. The CRC had said the old committee was stacked with homosexuality advocates.

Committee Chairman David Fishback declined to comment when reached at his home.

“The board remains strongly committed to a comprehensive health curriculum for our students, and we will continue to work diligently to ensure that our students receive the very best instruction in this important component of our educational program,” school board President Patricia B. O’Neill said.

Mrs. Turner, who was one of the dissenting members on the citizens advisory committee, said, “They’ve made a right move. It’s what we’ve been looking for all along, and we’re hoping we can now work with them to develop a curriculum that meets the needs, factually, of the students in the Montgomery County public school system.”

Christine Grewell, co-founder of teachthefacts.org, a parents group that supported the course, said, “I understand Dr. Weast’s decision to not spend the money defending the lawsuit, and I appreciate his stated commitment for the curriculum to foster tolerance.”

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