Five years later, lack of health class requirement is still a touchy subject


Throughout the Redlands Unified School District, there has been the mystery of why the health class was taken out of the curriculum. The class was removed as a requirement five years ago.

Many students still do not know the reason behind the removal of this class.

In a written statement, Redlands School Board President Jim O’Neill explained that one reason was “the number of students who were using pay-for-summer school to get ahead and how this created an inequity for access to coursework in high school. More than 250+ incoming ninth-graders each year would pay $250 to take Health during the summer through the REP [Redlands Educational Partnership] foundation.”

Some students want the class back, thinking that it’s important to learn about what the health class teaches, while others think the health class made students uncomfortable or that having the class didn’t change anything.  

The following conversation took place between Redlands East Valley High School seniors Anthony Salzar and Jordan Hattar on April 27 regarding the value of health class in high school.

Anthony Salzar:  I believe that health class is valuable. I think that because most teachers don’t teach that. The internet is wrong and can lead people astray.

Jordan Hattar: No, I don’t think that parts of health class are necessary to be taught in a school. Well, back then, of course, they needed it cause there was no internet to know anything about it, but now, I knew all about it since fifth grade. If people don’t have access to the internet then it’s an adventure. At least with the internet, you don’t need to pay for a class or teachers.

Salzar: It’s a free class and this is a public school.

Hattar: Oh really? Well, I just don’t think sex ed is needed.

Salzar: It’s not just sex ed though. You’re also being taught diseases and other stuff.

Hattar: Yeah, diseases but about the other stuff, no, there’s no point. You can learn about protection on the internet and other things like that.

Salzar: If not school, people can learn this stuff from parents, siblings, and family members.

Hattar: What? But for the parents or kids that are too uncomfortable to have that talk, where else where they learn it but the internet?

Salzar: I think the class got taken away from people being uncomfortable.

Hattar: I think that not many people attended the class and they just filled it with other important classes. And I think that if the class were to be brought back, I think it wouldn’t make much of a difference.

Salzar: I think it would because it would stop a lot of teen pregnancy and help people that do know what to do are want to know more about health or sex ed.

“I think that health class is important because someone might have a disease and it’s smart to be educated about that,” says REV sophomore Max Flores, “I believe that it’s a class that should be brought back because some people don’t know how to take care of themselves and how to do it properly.”

“It can stop teen pregnancies and diseases. You also learn about your body, how to keep yourself clean and how to take care of yourself before you involve yourself with someone else,” says REV sophomore Haylee Lyon. “Especially now with the internet, everything is mainstream. I mean it’s everywhere, on TikTok, Instagram. There’s stuff going around anywhere, so I guess sheltering our kids – there’s no point in it anymore.”

While some students are unsure of why this course was removed, REV Assistant Principal Ron Kroetz addresses some of the confusion and says that the class has value.  

“The health class is important. I think that it is important for our kids to know these things and to learn,” says Kroetz. “It can be a touchy subject for some parents and how they see the content, the lessons, and whether they feel it’s appropriate for their children. It’s tough cause every kid is different and everyone has a different upbringing, a different family unit and there are different standards and different families so it’s tough for a school district to say ‘this is the only way we’re going to do it.”  

O’Neill explains the transition of the health curriculum into another class.

“We presented a couple of opportunities,” says O’Neill. “The first was to remove Health as a course for the sake of the graduation requirement and move the health units into another course; at the time it was discussed as either Biology or 9th grade PE.”

IN a related decision, sports were allowed to count for the second year of a physical education course for students.

“These two changes to policy and graduation requirements allowed students to have two more opportunities to take coursework that they were interested in rather than being required to take as a function of graduation requirements,” says O’Neill.

But there have been some challenges.

“For the PE teachers to teach the units, they must attend training and teach the most current version of health education,” says O’Neill. “The updated version includes updates to the laws on health and the new health framework. The Board has not adopted the new version and therefore the teachers have not been trained to teach the updated curriculum.”

Some students are still left with questions.

“How will the people that skipped the class [be affected] because when they were meant to have the class, the transition didn’t take place, get the education of the health class?” Joyce Harris, a freshman at REV, asks.

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