02.28.2020 Friendship | Family | Intimacy

Is California’s Public School Sex Ed Program Too Much?

Christine Dionese
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Recently, California passed measures that will require school children (potentially as young as four, five, and six) to be taught about anal, oral, and vaginal sex by their school teachers, with 7th grade being the officially mandated time the new curriculum must be adopted by classrooms across the state. Skeptics — which span parents, families, health care providers, religious advisors, and psychologists — strongly question the appropriateness of the curriculum while others support it, suggesting that some students may not have any other place to learn about their sexuality or feel supported. 

The first sex ed update that California schools have seen since 1994 passed in May 2019 by the California Board of Education and was enacted by the California Legislature to reflect the laws of the California Healthy Youth Act. The state’s health curriculum includes mental, physical, and sex ed information, and not surprisingly, is one of the most inclusive, liberal sex ed curriculums in the US. 

While the California Healthy Youth Act was passed into law in 2015, it’s the most recent addendum to the sex ed curriculum that has voiced concerns from many Californians in public forums leading up to the measures passing. Several books proposed to be included in classroom lessons contain cartoons depicting naked female and male anatomy along with explicit descriptions of sexual acts, however, for now, the books will remain shelved instead of making their way into the curriculum. To remain neutral, the board’s stance is that the books aren’t “bad,” they just need further scrutiny before hitting classrooms. 

Many parents on the public comment committees felt the books were far too sexually suggestive. 

Parents commented that the proposed education was “too much, too soon” and some even called it “mind corrupting,” suggesting that the education was too persuasive and biased for an age group that is only just beginning to learn critical thinking skills.

Others, however, say that a health education program that begins with a foundation that teaches kindergarteners how to be inclusive and accept everyone sets a precedent that bullying will not be tolerated. How specific that message needs to be expressed is the question necessitating further exploration.  

California Ed Source recently wrote in their reporting, “Frameworks are written for all subjects, from math and science to history and language arts. They are not curriculums and school districts are not required to use the materials they recommend. But, they are considered strong guidance for districts and schools as they adopt their curriculums.” However, this is not the case for some districts whose curriculums are mandated far more aggressively than Cal Ed suggests. 

The new law states that the following should be covered: 

1 | Lessons on birth control and sexually transmitted diseases. (Lessons may include discussions on condoms, oral, anal, and vaginal sex, immunizations that do not require parental consent, and other medical procedures such as what abortion is and how one can be obtained without parental involvement.) 

2 | Descriptions of types of sexual activity including oral, anal, vaginal, and bondage.

3 | Meanings of sexual assault and harassment.

4 | Sex trafficking.

5 | Lessons specifically geared toward LGBTQ.

6 | Gender neutral language and information about transgenderism. 

Because so few parents are aware of this new legislation, parents should visit Informed Parents of California to educate themselves on what their children may be learning at school. They also cover topics including the California Healthy Youth Act curriculum and its legislation, cultural concerns, incursions of the nanny-state, parental rights, student survey, testing, and other state-sponsored data collection, violations of Constitutionally-protected freedoms, social-emotional learning, and school choice. 

Do you have kids in school? Were you aware that these new measures passed and are set to roll out this year? Are public officials introducing a subject best left to parent’s discretion? 

Christine Dionese, co-founder of flavor ID is an integrative, epigenetic health and food therapy specialist. She has dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health by harnessing the power of the epigenetic landscape. Christine lives, works, and plays in Southern California with her husband and daughter. Listen to her podcast Well Examined, an exploration of where science and discovery meet intuition and wellness.

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