Students respond to flawed Lifetime Wellness curriculum


Graphic by Lia Fox

Despite efforts having been made to reform the class, students still find flaws in the curriculum.

For years, ninth graders have been required to take Lifetime Wellness. While the class provides some students with adequate teachings on various topics, the curriculum falls short for others.

A sample survey of students from each grade found that despite efforts made to reform the wellness curriculum, there are still improvements to be made, as 56.3 percent of the students responded that there is not sufficient teaching of different sexualities.

Senior Sasha Kalvert said the majority of what she learned in the course was about straight people.

“I think there’s not a lot of talk around what safe sex looks like for people who aren’t just having sex with somebody of the opposite gender,” Kalvert said.

Sophomore Ivy Fawcett said that most of the time sex education is provided to people who only identify as heterosexual.

“I don’t think it’s always the teacher’s fault necessarily. I feel like a lot of the activities we do are very heteronormative, and they don’t talk about certain things or they don’t elaborate on the topics properly,” Fawcett said. “If you haven’t grown up around LGBTQ people in the media or just grown up LGBTQ in general, it’s a lot harder to talk about those types of subjects when you don’t understand them yourself. The teachers try their best. I feel like it’s more the curriculum’s fault and it’s not necessarily the teachers that are at fault here.”

Sophomore Sarah Mautner-Mazlen said that wellness teachers need to find a different way to teach the course.

“I probably wouldn’t want to talk to a group of highschoolers about sex either, but I think it is their job to approach it in a way so that you don’t sound scared,” Mautner-Mazlen said.

Kalvert said the classes tend to evade information about different kinds of sex and only focus on certain kinds of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

“There’s definitely a safety issue in that. There’s just not enough discussion around any of these things,” Kalvert said.

Mautner-Mazlen said her class barely focused on sexuality and sexual health, especially compared to the time spent learning Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

“There’s a lot of time spent on things that are important—we should learn CPR and all of that—but we rushed through sexual health and STIs in two days,” Mautner-Mazlen said.

Kalvert said people have been working to change the curriculum for years, with minimal progress.

“People just haven’t been very receptive to feedback. I would really like to see adults in positions of power actually sitting down and taking the time to listen. I think especially over quarantine, a lot of really unhealthy habits developed without anybody to really rectify it. I think now more than ever it’s really crucial that people who are designing curricula are listening to people who have had that lived experience,” Kalvert said.

Fawcett said she hopes the curriculum will be more inclusive in the future so that more students feel represented.

“I think positive change can be made,” Fawcett said. “At the high school we are capable of having a really cohesive, inclusive wellness curriculum.”