CUPERTINO (KPIX 5) — Plans for updated sex education curriculum at a South Bay school district had parents protesting at local board meeting Tuesday night before the board voted to not implement the changes.
Cupertino Union School District board members voted 2-2 on the changes, which needed a majority to pass.
The issue for many parents was the graphic nature of the material, and how far is too far when it comes to sex ed in middle school. The proposed curriculum included descriptions of vaginal, oral and anal sex, along with material on homosexuality.
Parents packed the Cupertino Union School District board meeting many carrying signs protesting the proposed changes – some that read “Support age appropriate sex education,” “Over-exposure damages,” and “Do not put adult ideas in my child’s head.”
One parent who reviewed the proposed material summarized the concerns. “The data in it was explicit, it was extremely provocative,” said parent Sri Sarma. “It was written with too much of suggestion.”
In January 2016, the state passed the California Healthy Youth Act, which mandates comprehensive sex ed at least once in 7th or 8th grades, and once in high school. While the district has offered sex ed to students for years, the old curriculum is no longer compliant with the new law.
“No where does it say that the material needs to be so explicit, neither are we saying we do not want to comply with the law,” said Sarma.” All we are trying to say is let the material not be so much in detail.”
“It’s too graphic and too descriptive, and it’s leading kids in a certain way,” said parent Muni Madhdhipatla. “My best question to them is, are we teaching to perform or inform?”
The district has formed a task force, which included teacher Barbara Wooley, to choose new curriculum.
“I think they’re definitely ready for it, I think some of them may be past their due date on being ready for this,” said Wooley. “We’ve spent many years, probably 30 combined years, working with middle school students.”
Right now, teachers are using material from 2003.
“All of our old curriculum our videos were very heterosexual oriented,” said teacher Kristina Everhardt. “Not just heterosexual-oriented but very male-female. One of our movies literally that I showed in 7th grade last year implied that boys were only looking for sex and girls needed to protect their virginity.”
The district will now have to figure out a new way to comply with the state law.