Since the California Department of Education unanimously approved changes to the Health Education Framework in early May, introducing new sex education guidelines for public elementary school grades, many Californians have continued to voice their concerns.
Prior to the decision, parents and religious groups held large rallies at the capitol in Sacramento, as well as organized school walkouts, to protest the new rules regarding topics such as gender identity, sexual health, and sexual abuse.
Stephanie Yates, a mother of three and founder of Informed Parents of California, criticized the board at one of the rallies, saying, “How are they helping kids find themselves when they are confusing them about who they are?” according to the Associated Press.
Claiming that the board made decisions based on a political agenda, Yates also accused officials of recommending material that closely resembled pornography, adding that “this stuff should be taught at home.”
“It’s not the birds and the bees. It’s not biological anymore. It’s not sex ed. It’s sexuality education,” she said.
Despite the overwhelming support Yates received from parents present at the time, some of the proponents of the changes didn’t seem to address their concerns.
“What we are seeing in the Sacramento community is an open arms approach to this curriculum, “ Cheri Greven, the local Planned Parenthood director of Public Affairs, told NBC at the time. “A number of parents spoke up saying they were in favor of this. One father told me it allowed him and his son to open a new line of communication about these topics.”
Meanwhile, parents like Yates are still struggling to understand why the board didn’t make the new curriculum entirely optional. The Education Code 51932(b) states that the California Healthy Youth Act, which requires all students in grades seven through 12 to receive comprehensive human growth and development education, only allows parents to opt their children out of the sexual health education. Regardless of how the child’s family feels, they are not allowed to opt out of any material that deals with sexual orientation, gender identity, discrimination, relationships, or family.
In a statement, education department spokesperson Kindra Britt said that the changes were “also designed to take the needs of our LGBTQ youth into consideration to make sure they felt safe and supported while at school.” However, some felt that the needs of religious or conservative parents were not taken into account.
In an interview with The Epoch Times, New Hope Christian Ministries Pastor Gheorghe Rosca Jr. said that his school district in Placentia wasn’t transparent about the adoption of the new curriculum. And in his experience discussing the matter with other parents, he believes this “is typical of most school districts.”
“They don’t do a good job of communicating with parents and most parents don’t understand the intricacies of the public education system and how laws, policies, frameworks and curricula all work together,” he said.
Essentially, he said in an interview that bureaucrats “make decisions and ask for forgiveness later.”
“It wasn’t until we stormed the board room with hundreds of parents that the District decided to create a Sex Ed Review Committee and allow parents to be active participants in the committee.”
To Rosca, the fact the state refuses to let parents opt out of gender identity curriculum is particularly troubling.
“This isn’t just unfair,” he told The Epoch Times. “It is communism. … My family fled the Communist State of Romania where the [government] decided what to teach children, including values. This is not the America we dreamed of as the land of the free.”
To the state’s education department, however, the lessons are needed to “[dispel] myths, [break] down stereotypes and [link] students to resources [that] can help prevent bullying, self-harm, feelings of hopelessness, and serious considerations of suicide.”
But to parents and community leaders like Rosca, however, “transgenderism is presented as settled science, whereas professionals in academia are not even close to presenting a scientific case for the veracity of transgenderism beyond that of what it has been historically treated as gender dysphoria.”
“Why is the State of California adopting an unscientific curricula and standards and pushing it down the throats of 6.2 million kids?”
Echoing Yates, the father of three is seeing a deliberate political push that ignores the individual in order to impose a state-sponsored “truth.”
“This is a reckless policy and purely political,” Rosca said. “No other unscientific teaching has ever been so rapidly pushed on kids in California’s history.”
Furthermore, Rosca added, the new guidelines give kids the idea that it is wrong for parents to teach them that gender and biological sex are the same.
Traditionally, teachings regarding relationships have always been handed down to children by their parents. But by actively teaching “non-monogamous relationships to 7th graders and an ever-changing spectrum of sexual orientations such as polysexuality, pansexuaity, and asexuality,” Rosca added, and by explaining that “spiritual abuse” is the use of religion to teach “rigid gender roles,” the state’s education authority is making “false statements” to justify accusing perfectly loving and responsible parents of being abusive.
To prevent harm to traditional parents thanks to this new guideline, Rosca said, lawmakers must understand that only parents and families can teach their children morals.
“Parents are responsible to impart values to their children, not public schools,” Rosca said.
Instead of “implementing policies that are unscientific, medically inaccurate and reckless,” he then added, the state should be spending taxpayer dollars on bettering education quality.