Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Sex education to entail more than saying 'no'


For Haines High School students, sex education will be more than just learning to say no.

In an eight-minute-long special meeting Tuesday, the Haines school board unanimously approved additional sex education materials that will go beyond abstinence and include birth control and gender identity.

At the Nov. 1 meeting, board members said they didn’t think the abstinence-only teachings included in the health textbook were enough to adequately cover the topic.

Health teacher Mark Fontenot, who gained approval from the board last month as the sole sex education instructor, provided board members with links to three websites and listed two physical materials with descriptions of each to review before the meeting.

The websites include:, which covers lesson plans on topics related to human sexuality and reproduction;, the U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Registry with information about safe relationships and dating violence; and, which Fontenot will use for information about condoms and “safest practices in their usage.”

The physical materials included male and female condoms that Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium makes available for patients.

Board president Anne Marie Palmieri said Fontenot chooses reputable sources. The materials now seem “well-rounded” and “fairly complete,” she said.

Board members Sara Chapell, Lisa Schwartz and Brian Clay were not there for the vote.

This action comes after a new law required all aspects of sex education to be approved by the school board, including the instructor, the curriculum and classroom materials.

Parents must also have access to all the materials and be notified at least two weeks before the sex education unit is taught in the freshman health class. Superintendent Tony Habra said any parent who makes a request to review the materials is more than welcome to do so, even using a school computer if needed.

Parents do have the option to opt their child out of sex education, and the student will be given alternative assignments.


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