Parents keeping kids home to protest San Diego Unified School District sex education program

Posted at 7:19 AM, May 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-29 21:29:13-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Some parents are keeping their children out of school Tuesday to protest the San Diego Unified School District’s sex education curriculum.

A group of parents say the district’s Sexual Health Education Program (SHEP) is too graphic and not age-appropriate for their students, and they are urging district officials to eliminate the program.

The parents have taken their concerns to the district’s School Board, but they said board members refuse to replace the curriculum.

The program's primary goals, according to district officials, are:

  • Deliver accurate sexual health information to all district students in grades 6-12 to promote healthy behaviors and healthy attitudes towards sexuality.
  • Increase access for students to local youth-friendly sexual health service agencies.
  • Facilitate safe and supportive campus environments for LGBTQ students.
  • Implement surveillance programs to collect health data that informs district, state, and national programming.
  • Promote long-term goal setting, healthy decision making, and responsible behavior among our students.

District officials said students can opt out of the course, but parents want the images they consider graphic gone.

Ashley Bever, a substitute teacher who is organizing the one-day protest, said she was surprised to see all of the materials student had access to.

“I thought a 6th grade teacher did not write this. Where it did come from? Why is it so explicit? Why is it telling kids they have sexual rights apart from their parents?” Bever said.

The topics of discussion that are part of the sixth-grade portion of SHEP include:

-- Gender roles and identity
-- Puberty/adolescent development
-- Sexual reproduction
-- Abstinence and pregnancy
-- HIV and other sexually transmitted infections
-- Sexual harassment/assault
-- Social media safety/responsibility

Click here to view the full scope and sequence of SHEP

The group is scheduled to hold a rally at the district’s office in University Heights at 4 p.m., just before the School Board’s meeting.

The San Diego Unified School District released the following statement Tuesday:

"We encourage all parents to learn the facts about sexual health and how we teach it. We’ve created a website to make it easy for parents to get the information they need. Our education program was constructed with input from parents, faith leaders and community residents to comply with Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s California Healthy Youth Act. After being informed about the program, less than 1 percent of parents chose to exclude their children from learning about sexual health when the curriculum was implemented districtwide last school year."