- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Montgomery County school board has assembled a panel of parents, students and representatives of special-interest groups that will help create a sex-education curriculum, but has not included a representative from a parents group that won a lawsuit blocking a previous sex course.

Late Monday, the school board named 14 of the Citizens Advisory Committee on Family Life and Human Development’s 15 members, leaving unfilled a seat for a representative of Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum (CRC). School officials said the parents group did not nominate any representatives who had not served on the earlier panel.

“That seat on the committee will remain vacant until CRC submits a qualified nominee,” said Patricia O’Neill, president of the Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education.

The board did not accept CRC’s nomination of Henrietta Brown, who had served on the previous committee.

However, the school board approved the nominee from Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), the group that joined CRC’s lawsuit earlier this year.

The board has allowed Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at the Family Research Council, a Christian think tank and lobbying group, to sit on the new panel as PFOX’s representative.

In May, a federal judge ruled in favor of the CRC-PFOX lawsuit, saying the curriculum discriminated against certain religious beliefs and promoted homosexuality.

Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools, later scrapped the curriculum and disbanded the committee that helped develop it.

The school board required that the new committee be composed of members who had not sat on the previous panel.

The 14 members named to te advisory panel include:

• Tracy Fox of the Montgomery County Council of PTAs.

• James Kennedy of TeachtheFacts.org, a parents group that supported the previous curriculum.

• Richelle Meer of National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) Pro-Choice Maryland.

• Emily Wurtzof Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

• Eric Kay of the Montgomery County Region of the Maryland Association of Student Councils.

Also named to panel as at-large members were Carol Plotsky, Subash Duggirala, Matthew Murguia, Victor Olano, Maria Pea-Faustino, Esther Pinder, Elinor Walker and student member Esther Lei.

Mr. Weast said yesterday that he will bring a revised curriculum to the board in March and that he hopes the board will vote on it in April. The curriculum then would be taught during the 2006-07 school year.

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