State News Roundup

October 07, 1987 1 min read

School districts in Delaware must develop comprehensive health-education programs that include aids and sex education for students in all grades, under new policy guidelines approved by the state board.

While mandating for the first time exactly what health programs must cover at each grade level, the board left it up to each district to decide how to teach the material, according to Ambrose Hagarty, a spokesman for the education department.

“Before, it was hit and miss,” Mr. Hagarty said. “Now we are telling districts that they have to have a comprehensive program.”

Under the guidelines, districts are required to devote at least 30 hours each year in grades K-6, and 60 hours in grade 7 or 8, to health instruction. The classes must include sex education and instruction about the hazards of smoking and drug abuse.

In addition, districts must offer instruction on human reproduction and acquired immune deficiency syndrome in high-school health courses required for graduation. According to the guidelines, the courses must emphasize that sexual abstinence is the best way to avoid contracting aids, but should also teach about other preventive measures.

Gov. Madeleine M. Kunin of Vermont has asked Gannett Newspapers, publisher of the state’s largest newspaper, the Burlington Free Press, to pay $455 for costs incurred by the National Guard in delivering to schools materials on the Constitution.

A spokesman for the Governor said a company official had “deceived” the guard and the state’s commission on the bicentennial of the Constitution, which helped sponsor the development of the materials, when he told them the packets for schools would not contain anything of a commercial nature. The guard, which agreed to help distribute the materials, and the commission believed the packets would contain a 24-page study guide prepared by Gannett.

In fact, however, only 10,000 high-school students received the study guide, while 65,000 received a copy of the Constitution wrapped inside Gannett’s U.S.A. Today.

Apologizing, the publisher of the Free Press said the company would distribute the study guide at its own expense.

A version of this article appeared in the October 07, 1987 edition of Education Week as State News Roundup