A local group named Louisville Sex Education Now (LSEN) is pushing for equal access to sex ed in JCPS classrooms, but the district said state law complicates the process.

"We want comprehensive sex ed guidelines in JCPS," said Sara Hall of LSEN.

Dressed in green and holding signs, the group rallied Tuesday in front of the VanHoose Education Center.

"We want to talk about healthy relationships," Hall said. "What is consent? What does that look like? Who can consent? When can you consent? And then LGBTQ relationships, gender identity. (Comprehensive sex education) is a much broader field than what they are teaching right now, and we want to make sure all students are included."

LSEN said the state's sex ed standards are too vague. That means what JCPS students learn varies.

"By classroom, by school, it all just depends," Hall said.

Current state standards list just three required topics: preventing pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and prevention/treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

"We have different information being presented all across the district," said board member Chris Kolb. "It's not the fault of our schools. It's just because the guidelines aren't really clear."

Even though sex ed wasn't on the agenda, the group packed the JCPS board's policy meeting Tuesday hoping to put pressure on the district to make changes.

"The state is the one that defines standards and curriculum for us," acting Superintendent Marty Pollio said. 

The district can provide recommendations with learning targets, but Pollio said that the implementation of sex ed is up to each school. Under state law, site-based decision-making councils, made up of a principal, teachers and parents, make the call.

"It is actually against the law for us to infringe on any one of those groups on a district level," Pollio said.

Pollio said he plans to form a committee with health education teachers and a district specialist. They'll take a look at state standards and figure out how to provide better, more specific guidance to schools.

He also plans to meet with members of Louisville Sex Education Now on Wednesday.

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