Nebo District Seeks Psychology Textbooks That Don't Mention Homosexuality

Nebo District Seeks Psychology Textbooks That Don't Mention Homosexuality

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SPANISH FORK, Utah (AP) -- Nebo School District officials want to replace their 7-year-old textbooks for psychology classes in high schools, but they haven't found any that don't discuss homosexuality.

State law does not allow the advocacy of homosexuality to be taught, and the Nebo district wants no discussion of it at all.

"I don't think Nebo's position is that unusual, but it's becoming more difficult to do both things: teach the subject and have up-to-date things," said Priscilla Leek, the psychology teacher from Springville High School who brought the matter to the attention of district officials.

Leek is a a member of the healthy lifestyles committee that reviews and recommends new textbooks.

District curriculum officials also realized the text for the AP psychology class -- the book essentially required for a student to pass the AP test and earn college credit -- not only addresses homosexuality, but takes an in-depth look at it.

"In the last seven years the world has changed," said Leek, who teaches regular psychology and an after-school advanced psychology class for students interested in taking the advanced placement test. "And texts are much more likely to have information they didn't have seven years ago, including homosexuality."

For the AP psychology classes, the school board decided to require parents of students enrolled in the class to sign a consent form acknowledging that sensitive material will be in the books. A similar system was used when the district updated language arts textbooks that had some potentially offensive content.

"They can choose to take their students out if they want," said school board member Randy Boothe.

For the regular psychology classes, the solution is not as simple. The district is now looking at as many options as possible to keep the psychology classes updated while steering clear of the unwanted content, said Nedra Call, the district's director of curriculum .

"We're still looking on that; we have people that are looking," Call said. "The teachers are thinking they may be able to find something, use parts of books, or maybe we don't need to adopt a text to meet the curriculum."

Some board members suggested staying with the old textbooks, but were told the books are falling apart.

Call said the district may be able to locate enough used textbooks.

That may not be the best solution, according to Leeks.

"I can't use an outdated text, because that's just as harmful as using a text that contains material that's considered harmful," Leeks said.

She said so many advances have been made that older books just don't fully cover all the facts anymore.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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