Abstinence education curriculum accepted
Board sets date for public meetings
A proposed abstinence education class moved forward last week when board members of the Williams Unified School District (WUSD) approved the curriculum for the class as recommended by the Sex Education Advisory Committee. Committee member Nell Brown, RN, told members of the school board that the class would include HIV and STD education.
Board members Bud Parenteau, Janet Cothren and David Nenne were present for the meeting. Board members Ron Stilwell and Becky Nelson were absent from the meeting, as was WUSD Superintendent Tom McCraley
"We're going to hire somebody outside of the school district to teach this class," Brown told members during the Feb. 13 meeting. "I think this is a class that we should present to our kids. It's not abstinence only."
The sex ed committee, according to Brown, has met three times and plan to hold two public meetings as well.
"We reviewed all the curriculums on what we would go through. The books to me are appropriate. I think our community truly needs this," Brown said.
Cothren and Nenne both approved the committee's recommendation. Tentative dates were set for the public meetings concerning the abstinence education program. The first is planned for March 11, with the second meeting following a day later on March 12.
"I think the recommendation would be to move forward with the process and there are two public meetings that will come," Cothren said.
WUSD board members voted to approve an ad hoc sex education advisory committee during their regularly scheduled meeting Jan. 9. The program will be instructed to students in grades six through 12. The class will delve into a number of related topics, including family health issues, education and abstinence education as well. The program is being offered via a grant funded through the Arizona Youth Partnership Group, according to WUSD officials, who said the program would teach and provide materials related to the new program.
The partnership came after a recent report indicated a high number of teen pregnancies in the Williams area as compared to the county average. According to the report, 79.2 girls out of 1,000, who are between the ages of 15-19, experience pregnancy in the Williams area. In Coconino County, 41.6 girls out of 1,000 experience pregnancy in the same age group.
Besides Brown, other members of the sex education committee include WUSD Family Outreach Coordinator Sandy Roe, Doris Ann Mertz, Williams Elementary-Middle School Principal Donny Bridges, Ladena Dennison, Jaren Hudgens, Theresa Chavez, Dixit Patel and DaNene Pace.
SADD chapter approved
Board members approved the establishment of a SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) chapter in Williams during their regular meeting Feb. 13. SADD is a student-led organization that promotes awareness in regards to substance abuse and other harmful decisions made by young people. A number of plans are already under way in regards to the organization, including recruitment efforts and the possibility of finding a location for future SADD gatherings. Williams SADD Chapter President Ellie Krombeen said the group may look for seized properties in the Williams area in order to offer youth in the community a "SADD house."
"We have a recreation center for kids and, to me, that's more kids based. High school students don't go there very much," Krombeen said. "We're looking at the idea of a SADD house for teaching classes, teaching, sewing, playing instruments."
the sports program
Williams area resident Ken Agee spoke to members of the WUSD board during the Feb. 13 regular meeting in order to voice his frustration with the direction of the Williams Vikings sports program. Agee asked board members to take the time to attend local sporting events and questioned why changes to the sporting program, such as the Vikings recent switch from the 2A North Division to the 1A North Division and coaching changes, were not brought to the public for questions and comments prior to their implementation.
"Our fans seem to be disappearing immediately after halftime or after the band," Agee told board members, adding that he believes discipline with players has been left wanting, citing other issues as well.
"Whether we want to believe it or not, there's favoritism," Agee said, adding that last names seem to be very important when it comes to sports at Williams High School.
"I think we need to take a hard look at our programs and those who are leading them," Agee said. "We have an opportunity to make a difference in here and we need to do it. It's not my goal to polarize everybody."
Board members said they would refer the matter to McCraley upon his return.