Know your state laws on sex education
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Despite efforts by SIECUS, Planned Parenthood, and other groups, sexuality education is not controlled by federal law. The individual states pass legislation that controls what happens in each state. In this special issue of the WSR, we will be using California’s latest regulations as an example. We believe the discussion—although directed specifically at California—will serve as a blueprint for those who want to stop the outrageous programs in your state. You, of course, should investigate what your own state law does and does not require.

This year, California is implementing its “California Healthy Youth Act.” The CHYA places a set of sex education requirements on all schools in California. It is a horrible law, but its proponents are telling lies about what is required to make it even more horrible. So let’s look at what the law does and does not require.

Based on phone calls received at American Life League’s offices, parents are being told that:

  1. Sex education is now mandated in grades K-12.
  2. Parents are not allowed to opt out their children from the program.

As you will see, both of these statements are wrong.

In section 51934 of the CHYA, it says:Each school district shall ensure that all pupils in grades 7 to 12, inclusive, receive comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education from instructors trained in the appropriate courses. Each pupil shall receive this instruction at least once in junior high or middle school and at least once in high school. This instruction shall include . . . [In this and other sections, we have added emphasis to those words we want to call attention to.]

Thus, what is actually mandated is teaching the (outrageous) sexuality education program twice —once in junior high and once in senior high. Thus, a school district can fulfill the requirements by having instruction in eighth grade and again in 12th grade. 

Section 51934 [c] of the CHYA does allow school districts to teach the program in younger grades and teach it more often, but that is not mandated,and the school does not have to teach all the topics required to be taught in junior and senior high school. 

The actual wording of that section is: (c) A school district may provide comprehensive sexual health education or HIV prevention education consisting of age-appropriate instruction earlier than grade 7 using instructors trained in the appropriate courses. A school district that electsto offer comprehensive sexual health education or HIV prevention education earlier than grade 7 may provide age appropriate and medically accurate information on anyof the general topics contained in paragraphs (1) to (11), inclusive, of subdivision (a).

As for the rights of parents to control whether or not their children attend any of these classes, the actual legislation goes out of its way to protect parents’ rights. We present below some excerpts from the CHYA to emphasize that point:

Section 51937It is the intent of the Legislature to encourage pupils to communicate with their parents or guardians about human sexuality and HIV and to respect the rights of parents or guardians to supervise their children’s education on these subjects. The Legislature intends to create a streamlined process to make it easier for parents and guardians to review materials and evaluation tools related to comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education, and, if they wish, to excuse their children from participation in all or part of that instruction or evaluation. The Legislature recognizes that . . . parents and guardians have the ultimate responsibility for imparting values regarding human sexuality to their children.

Section 51938 (4). . . the parent or guardian has the right to excuse their child from comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education and that in order to excuse their child they must state their request in writing to the school district.

Section 51938 (c). . . anonymous, voluntary, and confidential research and evaluation tools to measure pupils’ health behaviors and risks, including tests, questionnaires, and surveys containing age-appropriate questions about the pupil’s attitudes concerning or practices relating to sex, may be administered to any pupil in grades 7 to 12, inclusive.A parent or guardian has the right to excuse their child from the test, questionnaire, or survey through a passive consent (“opt-out”) process. . .in order to excuse their child they must state their request in writing to the school district.

Once parents have exercised their right to take their children out of these classes, it triggers several obligations on the part of the school district. These are enumerated as follows:

Section 51939.  

(a) A pupil may not attend any class in comprehensive sexual health education or HIV prevention education, or participate in any anonymous, voluntary, and confidential test, questionnaire, or survey on pupil health behaviors and risks, if the school has received a written request from the pupil’s parent or guardian excusing the pupil from participation.

(b) A pupil may not be subject to disciplinary action, academic penalty, or other sanction if the pupil’s parent or guardian declines to permit the pupil to receive comprehensive sexual health education or HIV prevention education or to participate in anonymous, voluntary, and confidential tests, questionnaires, or surveys on pupil health behaviors and risks.

(c) While comprehensive sexual health education, HIV prevention education, or anonymous, voluntary, and confidential test, questionnaire, or survey on pupil health behaviors and risks is being administered, an alternative educational activity shall be made available to pupils whose parents or guardians have requested that they not receive the instruction or participate in the test, questionnaire, or survey.

From our experience, it is very common for those who want to force these outrageous programs on our children to lie about what is and is not mandated. As this quick look at the California Healthy Youth Act shows, even in this very liberal state, parents’ rights are of concern to enough legislators that Planned Parenthood and other sex pushers are not able to get all of what they want. Parents need to understand the laws in their state and then take action to protect their children. In the next article of the Special Wednesday STOPP Report, we will begin discussing what parents can do to protect their children.