School District Considers Deeming Teaching Children About Sex Outside of Sex Ed ‘Inappropriate’

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School District Considers Deeming Teaching Children About Sex Outside of Sex Ed ‘Inappropriate’

The Orange Unified School District offices in Orange, Calif., on Aug. 15, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

11/12/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

The Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School Board in Los Angeles County is considering a proposal that would declare that teaching children about sex—outside of sexual education—is inappropriate.
The topic arose during the board’s review and revision of board policies during a Nov. 8 meeting.
Trustee Julie Hamill suggested the board add such a rule under a section in the board policy manual labeled “Appropriateness of Materials.”
“We can add ... something along the lines of ‘materials discussing sex and human sexuality taught outside of approved health curriculum are per se inappropriate,’” she said.
The proposal will be referred to the district’s legal team for review and likely return to the board for consideration and a vote in the coming weeks.
The “Appropriateness of Materials” section currently states teachers must use their “professional judgement” and confer with administration when wishing to introduce supplemental material not included in the district’s approved materials list.
The section requires teachers and administration to consider whether the material in question contains “educational value, factual accuracy, representation without bias or prejudice, appropriateness, including whether the material contains pervasive vulgarity or profanity, and relevance of the materials as well as the ages and maturity of the students.”
Ms. Hamill said she thought the proposal was necessary because “it’s important to protect our students, our teachers, and our principals who are having to deal with very bizarre situations right now.”
District students are currently taught sexual education lessons in health class in fifth grade and in seventh grade, according to Trustee Linda Kurt.
Rally at California State Capitol in Sacramento to protest against sex education curriculum in public schools on Jan. 25, 2019. (Ilene Eng/The Epoch Times)

Rally at California State Capitol in Sacramento to protest against sex education curriculum in public schools on Jan. 25, 2019. (Ilene Eng/The Epoch Times)

High school students are also taught HIV prevention in biology as required by the 2016 California Healthy Youth Act, according to Ms. Kurt.
She also raised questions about whether mentions of sex might arise in psychology courses or in English class reading material.
“I haven’t read a lot of literature that the kids are reading in a long time ... but I would imagine that a lot of books that the teenagers read have a lot of references to sexuality or something similar,” Ms. Kurt said. “So, if we were to do what [Ms. Hamill] is saying, we wouldn’t allow such books to be read outside of the two weeks of sex education lessons in biology?”
Other trustees agreed that staff would have to examine ways to add the proposed rule that wouldn’t interfere with such content in other classes.
Trustee Sara Deen also said the district should be careful when defining “sexuality,” being mindful not to exclude certain groups.
“I just want to make sure we’re being careful about what we’re identifying as ‘sexuality’ and come up with a policy that’s inclusive, understands we have a wide range of practices and beliefs in the community, and we have to make sure this policy is articulate and [that] we also communicate it well,” Ms. Deen said. “We’re trying to be inclusive while being developmentally appropriate.”
Ms. Hamill then asked if the board could, in the meantime, include in the board manual language deeming the teaching of elementary school children about sex as inappropriate.
“What I really have a big problem with is that we’re tiptoeing around sexual content in the name of inclusivity,” she said. “It’s not hard to protect kids. If you’re not the health teacher, stop talking to our kids about sex.”
Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

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Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.

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