CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston County School District Board of Trustees’ controversial decision to remove several members of the Health Advisory Committee (HAC) on September 25th came back up for reconsideration Monday night.
“We have worked really hard for the students of Charleston County and our terms aren’t up yet. We have work that we still want to do,” said Dr. Bonnie Cleaveland, a former member of the HAC, who has since been removed.
Five removals and six appointments were voted on during the November regular meeting. Of the five removals proposed, four of them passed. A total of ten people were appointed to the committee.
Before the votes were taken, Trustee and Policy Liaison Ed Kelley provided more context on why the removals were happening in the first place. He pointed to a state law regarding abortion in school curriculum.
“School districts may not offer programs, instruction, or activities including abortion counseling, information about abortion services, or assist and obtaining abortion and materials containing this information must not be distributed in schools,” Kelley read.
Kelley claimed the HAC’s curriculum violated this law in numerous ways. He also brought up a curriculum from a group called “the 3Rs,” where abortion was mentioned in teacher instructions.
Meanwhile, a member of the committee offered clarification on the material in question. She told the board HAC has created lessons from board and state-approved curriculum.
“If you go and look at those lessons and read those, you’ll see that there is no lesson on abortion, there’s no lesson that teaches gender identity or sexual orientation. We stick to the standards, but we still follow that memo, teachers are trained to follow that memo, that they need to make sure the classroom is inclusive with those questions that students might have,” said Holly Kut, the Instructional Specialist for Health and Physical Education for CCSD.
Board members offered a variety of opinions during the debate. To watch the full discussion, click here.