Parents across California, including in San Diego County, kept their children out of school Friday as part of a protest against the state’s new sex education curriculum in public schools.
The group Informed Parents of California say the new sex ed guidelines are inappropriate, and they believe the curriculum sexualizes children as young as kindergarten age.
Parents in 40 California counties, including in San Diego, gathered Friday morning at their local County Board of Education buildings for a “sit-out” against the guidelines.
Last week, the state overhauled its sex education guidance for public school teachers, with gender identity and practicing safe sex among the subjects being covered.
The California State Board of Education is currently in the process of revising its Health Education Framework.
A portion of the draft for kindergarten through grade 3 includes:
Students also learn about individual differences, including gender, from a very early age. Gender socialization begins before children start school—students may believe that different norms are associated with people of particular genders by the time they enter kindergarten. While this understanding may be limited, students can still begin to challenge gender stereotypes in a way that is age appropriate. While students may not fully understand the concepts of gender expression and identity, some children in kindergarten and even younger have identified as transgender or understand they have a gender identity that is different from their sex assigned at birth. The goal is not to cause confusion about the gender of the child but to develop an awareness that other expressions exist. This may present itself in different ways including dress, activity preferences, experimenting with dramatic play, and feeling uncomfortable self-identifying with their sex assigned at birth. However, gender non-conformity does not necessarily indicate that an individual is transgender, and all forms of gender expression should be respected. My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis is an age-appropriate book that can be used to demonstrate gender differences and inclusion. (See the Access and Equity chapter for additional information about inclusive instruction.) Dispelling myths about gender expectations in kindergarten can lay the groundwork for acceptance, inclusiveness, and an anti-bullying environment in schools. Gender non-conformity and physical characteristics are often at the root of many forms of bullying.
A portion of the draft for grades 4 through 7 includes:
It is important for the teacher to reassure students that puberty occurs at different times for different youth and these differences are normal. (5.1.6.G, 5.1.9.G, Essential Concepts). Teachers should normalize sexual feelings and explain to students these feelings do not mean that students should feel pressured to participate in sexual activities. When the topic of masturbation is introduced or arises, teachers explain what masturbation is and that it is safe and not mentally or physically harmful. This is also an important time to discuss gender, gender roles, and gender expression as puberty can be a difficult time for all students. Educators should acknowledge this and create an environment that is inclusive and challenges binary concepts about gender. The goal is not to cause confusion about the gender of the child but to develop an awareness that other expressions exist.
The final revision of the Health Education Framework may be adopted in May. See the drafted material here .