In 1988, the State Board of Education established regulations regarding the Family Life Education (FLE) program. The Virginia Department of Education encouraged this program in response to a decade of rising teenage pregnancy rates, rising sexually transmitted infection rates, and the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic.
In order to provide parents with alternatives, regulations require that an opt-out provision be included for parents to remove their child(ren) from any family life education lesson or all lessons at a particular grade level and that alternative, non-FLE lessons be available to students opted out of FLE lessons. In addition, school divisions are required to establish an advisory committee with broad community representation to review and make recommendations regarding the FLE content.
Fairfax County Public Schools' (FCPS) FLE program was fully implemented in 1990. FCPS requires FLE to be taught in grades K-12.
The elementary FLE program is taught by the regular classroom teacher. The early elementary program emphasizes the importance of families, distinction between good and bad touch, sources of help, and the importance of friendships.
Human sexuality is first introduced in grade four. In the Human Growth and Development unit, students learn about the male and female reproductive systems. Students view age-appropriate videos and learn the maturational process, changes which occur during puberty, and prenatal development. Students study the effects of peer pressure and begin to examine the influence of media on behavior and attitudes. Students begin an understanding of sexually transmitted infections in grade 5. The emotional and social health unit includes abuse prevention from good touch/bad touch in primary grades to types of abuse in upper elementary grades. Instruction for abuse prevention includes resources for help.
The FLE program for students in grades seven and eight is taught by health and physical education teachers. Building on information learned in late elementary school, students continue their study of basic anatomy and physiology as well as the physical, psychological, and social changes that occur during adolescence. Students are taught that abstinence from sexual activity is the only way to guarantee the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. The emotional and social health unit includes instruction on abuse, internet predation, and healthy dating relationships.
Ninth graders participate in Family Life Education unit through their biology class for human growth and development and through health and physical education class for emotional and social health. In tenth grade, students study FLE during health class, while in eleventh and twelfth grades, the lessons are generally taught by social studies teachers.
During ninth and tenth grades, students continue building on their base of knowledge regarding human reproduction, sexually transmitted infection prevention, and the skills needed to make health decisions. In grades nine and ten, students learn how maturation affects adolescent development and learn to recognize the development of sexuality as a lifelong aspect of personality. Students are provided definitions for heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual, and transgender and that all persons deserve to be treated with respect regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Students are taught that substance use/abuse affects decision making and that abstinence from sexual activity is the only way to guarantee the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. The problem of dating abuse and violence is introduced and students are taught how to avoid dangerous situations and how to get help when it is needed.
During grades eleven and twelve, students continue their study of sexually transmitted infections and grade twelve has a lesson on Virginia laws that pertain to family and family life education topics.
|FLE Letter K-12|
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Health & Physical Education Coordinator
June 23, 2015