Back in May, hundreds of protestors gathered at the County Office of Education in Linda Vista.
Photograph by Eric Bartl
On September 21, Arabic-speaking immigrants gathered at the Ninevah Club in El Cajon (at Main Street and Mollison Avenue) for a conference hosted by Protect our Kids, a group spreading awareness of California’s required instruction on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in public schools.
The mostly Chaldean audience listened to a translated presentation by attorney Mark Schneider and Brenda Lebsack, a Santa Ana Unified teacher and Orange Unified board member. Much of it consisted of graphic illustrations of sex organs from books they say are approved by the California Health Education Framework. They spoke about parental rights and alternative education options.
Brenda Lebsack, in teal, spoke to Arabic-speaking parents at El Cajon’s Ninevah club, regarding disturbingly graphic aspects of California’s mandated sex education programs.
The California Healthy Youth Act (AB 329), which took effect January 2016, requires “comprehensive sex education” — which includes discussion of sexual orientations and gender identities — once between 7th and 8th grade and again between 9th and 12th grade for all public and charter schools. And it’s encouraged in grades K-6.
Though public and charter schools are required by law to teach sexual health in middle and high schools, parents can opt their children out. But Education Code 51932(b) prohibits parents from opting their children out of discussions or lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in other subjects.
“I’m crying when I see what they show the children,” said one Chaldean immigrant parent. “It’s harmful.”
Schneider said, “SOGI stands for Sexual Orientation Gender Identity. You cannot opt your children out of this indoctrination. This is being taught in social studies, literature, and humanities. We’ve even heard of it being taught in math and science. Your children are being taught to question their gender [and] to explore having romantic feelings with people of the same sex, starting in grade school.”
The state framework was approved by the State Board of Education on May 9. It states, “Some children in kindergarten and even younger have identified as transgender.” Kindergartners are to be taught there are “families with lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender parents, guardians, or caretakers and children.”
Third grade teachers are guided, “When providing instruction on sexual and reproductive organs, teachers can introduce the concept that gender does not always match the sexual and reproductive organs described.” For 7th grade, “Some students may be non-monogamous.”
As the audience expressed objections, Schneider provided a solution: “In the United States you have a constitutional right to educate your children outside the public school system. You can exempt your child by filing a private school affidavit with the superintendent of public instruction. You must do this between October 1-15 each year. You can enroll your child in a private school satellite program and participate with a group of home school parents... Homeschoolers can take advantage of the entire curriculum offered in the public school system, and you can custom tailor your own curriculum with it. [There are] hundreds of online courses like Khan Academy.”
Lallia Allali was in the audience. She is a Muslim who immigrated from Algeria 17 years ago and was an English learner. Now she is the chairperson of San Diego Unified’s District English Learner’s Advisory Committee and helps other immigrant English learners. She says 41.8 percent of California public school students speak a language other than English in their homes.
Lebsack invited Allali on stage and she spoke to the audience in Arabic. Later she explained California Education Code 51101, which says, “The parents and guardians of pupils enrolled in public schools have the right... to be informed by the school, and to participate in the education of their children...” She says, “Because parents are partners in their children’s education, [they] want full transparency.”
Allali says a translation should be provided to English learners “when a new framework or curriculum is adopted. When the new sex ed framework was [posted] for parental review [last winter] it was only available in English.”
Allali and Lebsack filed a civil rights complaint. Because English learners were not provided the framework in their “home language,” they contend, “immigrants weren’t able to give input during the public comment period, because they could not read the material.”
On September 27 Lebsack and Allali followed up their complaint with a letter to California Superintendent of Education Tony Thurmond, stating, “We have over 1.3 million English learners... yet we mute their voices when it comes to teaching their children that gender is a choice and children can be both genders or neither gender. Do you think most immigrant parents agree with [this]? Do you think these unprecedented teachings might disrespect many of their values?”
Allali says, “As a Muslim mother, I am very concerned about the new framework. It’s not age-appropriate. It’s too explicit, immoral, and contradicts my faith values. Many Muslim families reached out to me and shared the same concerns.”
The Chaldean parents at the conference feel the same. Ebtesam Al Seifo says she was thinking about her grandchildren. “I’m crying when I see what they show the children. It’s harmful. Home school is better than this. If they take this away then public school would be ok.”
El Cajon resident Rafid Butrus helped organize the event. He says once Middle Eastern immigrants, both Christian and Muslim, find out what California is imposing on children, they won’t tolerate it.
He says, “Thousands of Middle Eastern immigrants came to the U.S. after the wars in Iraq and Syria, and some still don’t know their rights. They compare living here to Iraq and think everything is good and safe. There is no war or kidnapping. But they don’t know there are things coming that will destroy our families and destroy our kids. They have to learn they have a right to opt their kids out of sex education and to take kids out of public schools. And they should learn it’s important to vote.
He continues, “We do everything we can to protect our kids. And when we learned about SOGI we were in shock. Once they start talking about LGBT they spread the gay and lesbian thoughts to our kids. We will not let the government do these bad things to our kids. We will take them from public schools. I will take my kids to either private school or home school.”
Chula Vista Elementary School District’s non-discrimination policy characterizes as “gender-based harassment” any “denial of access to facilities [or participation in programs] that correspond with a student’s gender identity” as is any refusal to “address the student by a name and the pronouns consistent with their gender identity.”
A teacher from Virginia was fired last December because he believed using gender pronouns that don’t align with a student’s biological sex is dishonest and violated his conscience, so he refused to do it. On September 30, he sued his former employer for violating his rights.
Last year the Reader reported on Advocates for Youth, a curriculum creator used by Oceanside Unified and San Diego Unified, that produced a video for 10-14 year-olds showing them cartoon porn and telling them viewing porn is perfectly normal. Judith A. Reisman is a psychologist and researcher from Virginia who worked under President Reagan’s Justice Department. She uncovered numerous instances of child pornography in Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler magazines in the ’80s. She says she encountered resistance from a bipartisan pedophile cabal in the government and other institutions of power who obstructed any potential prosecution. (Illinois Republican Congressman Dennis Hastert served on the task force with Reisman. Many years later he was exposed as a pedophile.) “Pedos are everywhere,” she says.
She says encouraging children to watch pornography grooms them for abuse, and a pedophile’s chance of molesting a child grows exponentially the younger the child is when introduced to porn.
San Diego Unified’s biggest cheerleader for Advocates for Youth’s program has been board trustee Kevin Beiser, who was accused earlier this year of sexually assaulting young men and of having a preference for “young, tall, skinny boys.”
On April 9 one of the citizens calling for Beiser’s resignation said, “A predator has been leading this school board for some time. It makes sense that Kevin Beiser was the loudest supporter of the predatorial sexy education for little kids. He supports giving sixth graders condoms at school... it doesn’t take much imagination to connect the dots between the alleged predatorial behavior of Kevin Beiser and the sick sexy ed Beiser loves so much.”
Reisman traveled to San Diego to speak to San Diego Unified’s school board and Superintendent Cindy Marten at her closed session performance evaluation in February. She said, “You must start learning the origin of human sexuality education, which began in 1948 with Dr. Alfred Kinsey. How many of you know that?”
“Check and see how many times Kinsey is referred to in your schools. This is the man who was in charge of the sexual assault of at least 317 children, which served as the basis for [the new] field of human sexuality.”
Reisman handed each board member a chart which details a Kinsey experiment that reportedly involved molesting hundreds of children repeatedly.
An American Civil Liberties Union attorney speaking to a Riverside County Board of Education meeting earlier this year said, “We have gender identity, which is a spectrum... a social construct. Gender is not a binary. We don’t have male/female full stop... who you are attracted to can be a spectrum too. Is anyone familiar with Kinsey? The Kinsey scale? There is straight, queer and everything in between.”
Another Advocates for Youth video, “Awkward Conversations,” says, “If you feel you can’t talk to your parents, don’t give up, there are many other caring adults who want to help,” as it shows a boy sitting in a car with a man holding a sign that reads “LGBTQ+.”
AB 329 was authored by California Assembly member Shirley Weber, whose 79th district runs north from eastern Chula Vista through east San Diego to La Mesa; then west through Mission Valley to Linda Vista. Weber did not respond to a request for comment. For the nearly four years since AB 329 passed into law, parents across the county and the state have come to their local school districts in large numbers several times a year to protest what they see as an infringement on parental rights. The last rally in San Diego occurred May 17. It was organized by the Alliance to Protect Children, and nearly 200 protesters came to the County Office of Education on Linda Vista Road to voice their objections.
A student from Mark Twain High School, which is directly across the street from the county office, led a group of students in counter-protesting the signs they saw as they let out from school. “Let them learn! Let them learn!” they chanted. He crossed the street to engage the protesters. “Why don’t you want us to learn about sex education? We want to protect ourselves from diseases.”
A rally organizer replied, “We want you to be protected too, and we think students should learn sex education. What we are saying is they are teaching kids too much too soon.”
The student replied, “Well, that’s true.”