“Inappropriate and ridiculous.”
Charleston parents slam SC sex ed law giving clergy members more say than health experts
By Jenna Schiferl, Jun 19, 2019
The Post and Courier – An online post seeking clergy members for positions on a Charleston County School District health committee has some local parents confused over why religious figures are being recruited.
South Carolina’s 1988 Comprehensive Health Education Act mandates that school districts create health advisory committees to review educational materials for lessons on reproductive health, family life education and pregnancy prevention.
It mandates three clergy members serve on the committee.
Kate Quertermous, a mother of two students currently enrolled in Charleston County schools, said the presence of clergy members on the committee is inappropriate and ridiculous.
She became concerned after she saw a post on the district’s Facebook page.
“Initially I was in disbelief,” she said. “It just seemed so strange. This is a health advisory committee. There’s no gray area here. This is black and white.”
All four of Quertermous’ children have attended Charleston County schools. Two have since graduated, one is a rising 11th grader and another is a rising seventh grader.
“I’ve got a real reason to be upset about this because it will directly affect our family,” she said.
The law requires these committees to have 13 members, including two parents, three clergy members, two health professionals, two teachers, two students and two other persons not employed by the local school district.
Quertermous was not originally aware of the state law that specifies the committee’s makeup but said she plans to contact legislators about updating the Comprehensive Health Education Act.
“It’s 2019, this isn’t how it works. It’s a public school. This whole precedence they’ve set is completely dangerous,” she said, adding that requiring clergy members to serve on the committee violates the separation of church and state. Read more.