California’s Comprehensive Sex Education
The state of California often leads with progressive policies and unfortunately, that also applies in regards to children’s education.
The California Healthy Young Act (AB 329), enacted in 2016, requires school districts to provide students in grades 7 to 12 with comprehensive sexual health education with information about HIV prevention, atleast once in both middle and high school. It also allows districts to elect for sexual health education in grades K-6; all information must be age-appropriate, medically accurate and objective. The law added that materials must be inclusive of all races, genders, sexual orientations, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. It is up to the each school district and teachers to select their own curricula under their locally elected boards, placing the responsibility on these individuals to determine what materials are “age-appropriate”.
The legislation exclusively states requirements and the California Department of Education provides a Health Education Curriculum Framework as guidance for districts. There has been opposition resulting in protests at the capital, as the materials in this framework included explicit images and language.
Parents do have the choice to opt their children out of comprehension sex education. The law states, “Parents and guardians have the ultimate responsibility for imparting values regarding human sexuality to their children”. However, the California Healthy Young Act now teaches about gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, and the harmful negative gender stereotypes. When a teacher decides to teach these outside of the comprehension sexual health education context, parents are not able to opt-out.
In 2019, SB 673 aimed to require school districts that chose to teach comprehensive sexual health and HIV prevention to elementary-age students (grades K-6) to post the curriculum online and require parents to opt their children into these courses. The bill failed to pass in early 2020.
It is evident that California is continuing down its path of throwing out sound morals and values, thus showing that parents must step up and play an active role in their children’s education.
Parents are encouraged to visit their district offices and ask to view all curriculum utilized in their children’s class for the school year. In addition, inquire about all outside resources such as speakers, websites, brochures, and demonstrations.