In November 2004, parents at Shamrock Middle School in DeKalb County, GA were informed that the eighth grade students would begin receiving sexuality education instruction using the abstinence-only-until-marriage program called Choosing the Best. We researched this program, looked up the types of sexuality education that were most effective, and concluded that Choosing the Best should not be taught in our schools. We were successful in having this program removed from DeKalb County Schools.
Here’s how we did it:
- We contacted school and county officials by phone and by mail and e-mail expressing our concerns.
- We convened a meeting of a small group of concerned parents to plan a strategy to intervene.
- We prepared a fact sheet of concerns about Choosing the Best entitled Are We Really Choosing the Best? and distributed it at the next PTSA meeting
- We called parents of middle school children, our school board representative, and the reporter covering school issues at the local newspaper, and encouraged them to attend the PTSA meeting.
- We met with middle school and county officials and Choosing the Best staff. We requested that the county hold implementation of the program until parent concerns were addressed.
- We talked to the press after the above meeting.
- We attended county school board instructional committee meeting to raise concerns about curriculum.
- We met with concerned parents to officially organize, name and develop objectives for the parents’ group.
- We wrote letters from the parents’ group to all school board members, followed up by personal contacts with school board officials and local legislators.
- We secured an official post office box in our group name and opened an e-mail account firstname.lastname@example.org
- We created a list serve for group communications, and developed our own web site.
- The reporter covering school issues for the local newspaper continued to dig, discovering that proper authorization was never given for implementing Choosing the Best.
- We wrote a petition for parents to sign and send by e-mail to all school board officials.
- Success! In a memo to middle school parents dated 3/25/05, Dr. Crawford Lewis pulls Choosing the Best from the DeKalb County Curriculum.
- On 4/22/05, Choosing the Best responds to pressure about the accuracy of their curriculum.
- Gov. Perdue “pulls the plug” on DHR board chairman, Bruce Cook in March 2005.
- We continue to monitor sexuality education instruction in DeKalb County Schools. One of our members is currently on the Health and PE Advisory Committee for the school system.