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Sex Education in California Sparks Culture Clash

Immigrant parents lead fight against hotly debated curriculum

By Joan Frawley Desmond

PALO ALTO, CALIF. — A new sex-education curriculum has provoked opposition in three California school districts this year, and parent-led protests have already forced one local school board to delay its implementation.

“The new curriculum on ‘Human Growth and Development’ needs to be suspended for a major revision to reflect true human development and growth,” read a petition posted on and signed by thousands of parents in Cupertino Union School District who oppose “Teen Talk Middle School,” a curriculum published by Health Connected.

“Parents are not prepared for an agenda that redefines love as a feeling and sex as a way to show affection,” said Bill May, the California-based president of Catholics for the Common Good, a lay apostolate for the evangelization of culture that also sponsors The Marriage Reality Movement.

“The chosen textbook is age inappropriate and has detailed, graphic descriptions of oral, anal, and vaginal sex.”

Parents in Cupertino, located about an hour and a half south of San Francisco in Silicon Valley, also targeted classroom exercises that seemed “designed to increase curiosity [regarding] different sexual behaviors in immature minds,” and on March 29, the school board agreed to suspend the sequential 12-step program.

Last week, protests against “Teen Talk” spread to the Palo Alto Unified School District, home to Stanford University, while parents in San Diego addressed the local school board on Wednesday to outline their concerns about another program that is also designed to be in compliance with curriculum goals mandated by the 2015 California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA).

‘This should not be viewed as a local issue, but one that will be coming up in every school district across the country,’

~ Bill May of the Marriage Reality Movement

The California Healthy Youth Act took effect in January 2016 and “require(s) school districts to ensure that all pupils in grades 7-12 … receive comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education,” according to the text of the law. Now, the fast-moving controversy over curricula designed to comply with the law will likely catch fire in other districts, as online petitions and “parent reviews” that document problems are shared across the state.

Parent-Led Opposition

(Read more from the National Catholic Register)