What do you remember from sex ed? Just that it was probably inadequate and involved putting a condom on a banana? In a move to actually discuss sex, a California school district proposed adding clear the definitions of oral, anal, and even vaginal sex to its sex-ed curriculum. Well, middle schoolers in Cupertino won't learn about any of that in the classroom, because over 150 parents protested the new additions and overturned the district's changes.
San Jose's Mercury News reports that parents in the Cupertino School District described the controversial curriculum as "too graphic" and inappropriate. At a school board meeting, over 50 parents submitted comment cards and a Change.org petition calling for revisions collected over 4,300 signatures before the meeting even convened. Parents added that the new curriculum approached sex and health education from the viewpoint that the students were already sexually active.
"The chosen textbook is age inappropriate and has detailed, graphic description of oral, anal, and vaginal sex. These are taught in a mixed-gender group and activities require explicit topics to be explored and discussed among seventh graders," the petition reads. "The scenarios described in the curriculum are designed to increase curiosity on different sexual behaviors in immature minds." The petition also included an image of the textbook, which clearly defines several sexual acts.
The district's proposed changes were in reaction to a law called the California Healthy Youth Act, signed by California Governor Jerry Brown back in October 2015. It mandates that all students in grades seven through 12 receive "comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education." If the Cupertino School District fails to comply, it could face fines, which is exactly what happened to another district in Fresno, CA.
The Cupertino School District was still using a curriculum from 2003. Teen Vogue reports that Kristina Everhardt, a teacher in the Cupertino School District, described the old lesson plan as too focused on heterosexual, male-female sex. She also noted that one of the videos that she showed last year depicted boys as "only looking for sex" and focused on the importance of girls protecting their virginity.
"We hope with every fiber of our being that our seventh-graders are not sexually active," Barbara Wolley, an educator tasked with updating the sex-ed courses, told the Mercury News. "But we also know in reality, it's going to come to a point where they need to know this information."
Because the changes didn't get approved, the Cupertino School District will continue to use the lesson plans from 2003. The school board said that it was too late in the school year to assemble a task force, propose a new curriculum, and train teachers.