Although Silicon Valley is full of CEOs meditating in lactation rooms, parents in Palo Alto, California, are apparently worried that their school district’s sexual-education curriculum is too explicit. As the Daily Beast reports, more than 1,600 parents have signed a petition to stop the Palo Alto Unified School District from teaching sex ed until the program is changed, though the school board maintains the curriculum follows state guidelines.
Parents are upset that the sex-ed curriculum includes information about masturbation, sex toys, and premarital sex, according to the Daily Beast. The petition claims the curriculum “leads 7th graders to follow the examples of a wrong age group and encourages 12 year olds to try sex for ‘wonderful orgasm.’” The program’s sex-ed scenarios are reportedly told through a number of fictional situations with characters older than the middle-school students. Per the Daily Beast:
Examples range from positive (“I’d had orgasms through masturbation before, but sharing yourself with someone you love and respect was really different and it felt wonderful”) to negative (“I started to cry”).
Apparently some parents are also upset that premarital and homosexual scenarios are depicted in the sex-ed program, even though the California Healthy Youth Act calls for schools to offer comprehensive sex education to all public school students, the Daily Best notes. Parents who signed the petition want to create a new curriculum, but school-board members said after a recent board meeting that the programming won’t change. However, parents are allowed to opt their children out of the program if they want.
“One of the things that you need to provide [under the state law] is consent education and relationship education,” [board of education vice president] Ken Dauber told The Daily Beast. “And obviously we independently want our students to be prepared for all of the situations they are going to find themselves so that they are able to make healthy decision about their sexuality.”
The school board also issued a statement to the Daily Beast, saying, “The content was fully vetted by our school principals and our chief academic officers. Realizing that these topics and others may not be aligned with some family values, California Law, PAUSD, and Health Connected all provide the right to opt-out of this unit.” But the board also noted that it will consider changes to keep parents better informed, though it won’t actually change the curriculum.