Oceanside Unified School District suspended sexual health instruction for grades K-6 Monday (June 18) after getting feedback from parents and community members through an online and written survey.
Acting Superintendent Reggie Thompkins announced, “The district will be redesigning the K thru 6 sexual health curriculum with input from parents, district staff, and the community. Once a timeline for the curriculum redesign is established, the district will reach out to interested stakeholders regarding the curriculum redesign process.”
Oceanside Unified Board President Ann Corwin says the survey results will be released at their June 26 board meeting. If Facebook posts on the district site are an indicator, the community is evenly split on the issue.
When asked for more specifics on what might be in a new curriculum Corwin spoke on behalf of Thompkins and the school district and declined further comment.
She made clear the district will continue K-6 sex education. Most San Diego county school districts do not have a sexual health program for lower grades. San Diego Unified School District uses the same curriculum provider as Oceanside, but only for grades 6-12.
A change.org petition from a group called Speak Up Oceanside has gathered about 2,300 signatures calling for the district’s sex ed curriculum to be replaced. Such objections led to the recent survey.
The controversial curriculum is created by Washington D.C. activists Advocates for Youth.
The Speak Up Oceanside petition states, “Advocates for Youth is an extreme organization with controversial views about sex, including the belief that our children have ‘inalienable sexual rights’ from birth.”
One lesson that teaches kindergartners they have rights mentions only two exceptions when they may have to allow undesired contact with their body: medicine and vaccines. There is no mention of any type of contact that is always wrong.
The lesson seems to leave the appropriateness of all forms of touching as subjective to the kindergartner’s own wishes. The teacher is instructed to ask the kids, “Whose body?” The kids are encouraged repeatedly to yell, “My body!”
On June 13 the Reader reported in “Would Amaze Videos Get You Arrested Elsewhere?” Advocates for Youth produces videos for 10-14 year olds many believe are not age appropriate.
The video Porn: Fact or Fiction teaches children watching porn is perfectly normal and shows them nude cartoon images in pornographic situations.
A sixth grade lesson from the Advocates for Youth curriculum teaches children to watch out for bias from religious sources. The lesson does not state any other possible sources of bias.
They also teach middle school students that masturbating one another and bathing together poses no infectious risk to them, just the same as abstinence from sexual activity and holding hands.
San Diego Unified recently scrubbed the point about mutual masturbation from their lesson plans after a medical review determined the lesson was not medically accurate. Oceanside is also scrubbing certain objectionable items.
Protesters say scrubbing the worst aspects of the curriculum is not enough. The curriculum should come from people who don’t produce material that needs to be scrubbed in the first place.
Despite similar issues with the grades 7-8 and 9-12 curriculum Advocates for Youth provides, Corwin says the district will not consider conducting a similar survey or making changes for those grades.
People also object to public schools using educational materials from partisan political activists.
When asked if the district is aware Advocates for Youth lobbies politicians in Washington D.C. for controversial issues or that they produce Porn: Fact or Fiction and other controversial videos she replied, “You would need to speak to Advocates for Youth on this.”
Corwin says the biggest objection they received was that the curriculum is not age appropriate.
Parents outraged after kindergarten teacher discusses gender identity
CBS Sacramento's Shirin Rajaee reports
The implementation of sex ed. curriculums for elementary grades has been disturbing to parents across the state. Incidents have been reported of parents expressing outrage when their young children come home from school with the idea that their gender might change, some children traumatized by the thought.
Schools are required by law to notify parents and provide a preview of sex ed. instruction at least 14 days before the instruction is scheduled to take place.
From an interview after story deadline:
Oceanside parent Charity Winters says she moved to Oceanside from L.A. a year ago to find a family-friendly environment to raise children. “I was really surprised and disappointed to find the same politically driven schools as L.A. that prioritize politics and sex over academics,” she says.
Winters volunteered at school throughout the year with her kindergarten-age daughter. She was told homework assignments aren’t given in kindergarten. But that changed when it was time to teach sex education. “No academic homework all year then they assign sex homework for five year olds?” she asks. “"I've personally worked with a handful of students who are graduating kindergarten without basic competencies in the ABC's, yet the district is taking our teacher's valuable classroom time to instead teach them sex ed."
Winters says when Oceanside first presented the Advocates For Youth Curriculum for review, it called for an entire kindergarten class to be sat down on the classroom carpet in a mixed sex group and the teacher would name their private parts and engage a mixed sex conversation of five-year-olds discussing their sexual organs. For girls, the lesson went beyond merely naming the vulva. Girls were to point to each of their “three holes;” urethra, vagina and anus. That was one of the first curriculum items to get scrubbed after parents started protesting.
Winters says scrubbing the worst aspects of the curriculum is not enough. The curriculum should come from people who don’t produce material that needs to be scrubbed in the first place, she believes.
Winters says Speak Up Oceanside includes parents of older students who have similar objections to the curriculum in grades 7-8 and 9-12 (also provided by Advocates for Youth.)