Sunnyvale, CA—The Pacific Justice Institute helped convince a Bay Area school district to abstain from adopting a proposed sex education curriculum this week.
Parents who packed the Cupertino Union School District’s (CUSD) board meeting
were in an uproar over a curriculum that CUSD was considering adopting in
compliance with the California Healthy Youth Act, which became law in 2016. The
law, which requires public school districts to provide comprehensive sexual
health education to students in grades 7-12, also requires that (1) such
education be age-appropriate, (2) parents be given a full and fair opportunity
to review any proposed curriculum materials to determine whether such materials
are age-appropriate for their children, and (3) parents be allowed to opt their
children out of any portions of sex ed classes that they deem objectionable.
CUSD had only made the curriculum materials available during working hours over
a span of roughly three weeks, preventing many working parents of CUSD’s
roughly 18,000 students from reviewing the materials. Furthermore, the
curriculum materials included graphic descriptions of vaginal, oral, and anal
sex, along with material on homosexuality—all of which, many parents felt, is
too “adult” for their teen and pre-teen children. One parent even accused CUSD
of essentially presenting porn to a PG-13 audience.
Finally, CUSD admitted on its website that it would be very difficult for
parents to opt their children out of portions of sex ed courses that they
“In enacting the Healthy Youth Act, the California Legislature explicitly
recognized that students’ parents and guardians are the best judges of what is
and is not age-appropriate for their children,” said PJI staff attorney Ray D.
Hacke, who sent a legal opinion letter to CUSD’s board prior to the meeting and
spoke on behalf of a group of concerned parents at the meeting. “The
Legislature thus empowered parents to help make that call. CUSD may have been
complying with part of the law in attempting to adopt the curriculum. However,
the district apparently forgot the part about enabling parents to play an
active role in their children’s education.”
Ultimately, CUSD’s five-member board deadlocked in a 2-2 vote, with one member
abstaining. A majority was needed for the curriculum to be adopted.
“Waiting on adopting the curriculum was the right call,” PJI President Brad
Dacus, and frequent FOT guest, said. “Hopefully CUSD will give parents more of
a chance to review the materials and recognize that when it comes to children’s
education, parents are their partners, not their adversaries.”