Florida students will learn about child trafficking and drug abuse as part of their curriculum

New curriculum in St. Johns County is teaching students about substance abuse and human trafficking starting in the sixth grade.

FLORIDA — Florida students will soon start getting some tough lessons in the classroom. Starting next semester schools will be required to teach students about drug use and abuse, child trafficking and prevention and mental and emotional health education.

The new requirements in schools comes after the state board announced that all students in elementary through high school in the entire state are required to receive five hours of training in those subject areas.

The middle and high schoolers will learn about all three topics and elementary students will only learn about drug use and abuse and child trafficking prevention.

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Dr. Lynn Wadelton who’s a clinical psychologist at First Coast Therapy Group said depending on the type of information given to these students it could cause problems opposed to prevention.

“A mass approach is a mass approach, it is not as good as an individualized approach for all of these really complicated problems that are going on,” Wadelton said.

She said there are some pros to providing the educational program if it’s taught in a thoughtful way. However, the school and parents should work together to provide a backup plan in case a child is extremely disturbed by what they’ve learned.

“For example, overly anxious kids do not need to get extra anxiety in their day and we already live in a pretty dangerous world that everybody is highly aware of. I’m also concerned about people getting desensitized and thinking that this sort of stuff is normal,” Wadelton said.

She also believes parents should have the right to refuse their child from receiving the information.

“Parents still get to be the gatekeepers for protecting their children from information they don’t want them to have,” Wadeltons said.

Right now Duval County School have already started implementing this teaching in their curriculum.

St. Johns County schools will start their teaching about these topics in January 2020.