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Croton School Super Responds to Criticism of Health Education Class

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Croton-Harmon Superintendent of Schools Stephen Walker defended the district’s Health Education class curriculum in the high school following criticism from gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino.

Earlier this week, Astorino held a press conference in front of Croton-Harmon High School where he called one of the lessons in the class “inappropriate.”

Walker, who noted Astorino never reached out to the district to inquire about the Health Education teachings, informed the school community some aspects of the health curriculum were developed several years ago after some school district students were involved in a reported off-campus sexual assault.

“In the aftermath of that situation, the district formed our Culture of Respect Task Force, which continues to be active with participation from parents, students and community members,” Walker stated. “At that time, the district also engaged with professionals in the area of mental health and health education to design relevant learning experiences, with the goal of updating how our health curriculum addresses consent and sexual health.”

“One of those learning experiences begins with a discussion about consent, including the nuanced and sensitive language around that topic,” Walker continued. “Students are then asked to anonymously generate words or phrases they have heard or used related to sexual activity, some of which depict potentially unhealthy dynamics about sex. The individual words and phrases shared by the students are not defined within the class; instead, there is a discussion about the overall connotation of these terms, and the importance of using respectful language around this sensitive topic.”

Walker explained the district’s curriculum is in alignment with the national standards and state guidance, and has been presented as examples to professionals throughout the state at a conference of the New York Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.

“Learning experiences such as this one are important for our students. We also trust and stand firmly behind our highly trained, dedicated, and passionate professionals in their facilitation of these experiences,” Walker stated.

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