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Battle over San Diego Unified School District sexual health curriculum

Posted at 6:40 PM, Feb 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-06 00:18:04-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - For more than two years, a group of parents has fought with the San Diego Unified School District over its sexual health curriculum.

The curriculum was created by Advocates for Youth, a nonprofit funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The lessons were adopted by SDUSD to comply with the California Healthy Youth Act, enacted on January 1, 2016.

Ashley Bever, an SDUSD parent and substitute teacher, is one of the most vocal opponents of the new curriculum. She believes the district was not transparent in its selection process.

“One of the biggest factors is that curriculum is supposed to be age-appropriate, that means what is typical for that age group, and 11 and 12-year-olds aren’t usually having anal sex or doing behaviors that might cause someone to contract Hepatitis A,” said Bever.

She and community members protested at Tuesday’s SDUSD board meeting. They ultimately want to see the entire curriculum removed and replaced.

An online petition opposing the curriculum has over 6,000 signatures and an in-person petition has collected 4,000 signatures.

“We would like for the district and the board members to take us seriously and at least make this an actionable item on the agenda,” said Bever.

A spokesperson for SDUSD says the district stands by the curriculum.

Maureen Magee, director of communications for SDUSD, says fewer than 1 percent of parents chose to opt their children out of the program last year.

The district has posted the curriculum online and encourages parents to read it and ask questions.

Magee also points to a SDUSD poll of teachers in 2017. It found 81 percent of San Diego Unified teachers stated that they were comfortable or very comfortable teaching the new curriculum, and 86 percent of teachers indicated that they found the curriculum to be age-appropriate.

Magee says there are no changes proposed to the district’s Sexual Health Education Program