By Jeremy Martin
SAUGATUCK- A scheduled vote by the Saugatuck school board on changes to the eighth grade sexual education curriculum has been postponed until Monday, June 20.
The planned vote on deciding whether or not to adopt an addition to the curriculum that would allow the teaching of “alternative lifestyles” in middle school sex ed classes has, according to Saugatuck School’s Superintendent Rolf Timmerman, been pushed back in order to allow for more public feedback. This gives parents, students and community members time to weigh in on the potential changes to the curriculum.
“We don’t want the perception that we’re trying to push this through,” Timmerman said at the board’s May 16 meeting.
Timmerman initially broached the idea after discovering a video titled “Coming Out: What Every Teen (Gay or Straight) Needs to Know.” Besides discussing the difficulties that many LGBT youth have while deciding whether to come out, the video also focuses on tolerance, sexual identity and bullying.
The video has been viewed by all members of the school board and is available for viewing by the general public in Saugatuck Middle School’s Media Center, located at 401 Elizabeth St.
Timmerman said that he has fielded many questions from concerned parents and community members regarding the issue, and thought it prudent to postpone the vote until more people had an opportunity to watch the video and gather information.
A community forum is planned for June 6, before the final vote on June 20. Both take place at the middle school’s media center.
“I highly encourage them to come in and take a look at the video,” Timmerman said. “I don’t want to influence people based on what I know about it.”
Information on the Saugatuck school system and school board updates can be found at http://www.saugatuckps.com.