Some parents are expected to keep their kids out of class Tuesday in protest of controversial sex education program at San Diego schools.
A group called "Concerned Parents of San Diego" has scheduled a "Sex Ed Opt Out Day, " a one day protest against the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) board’s refusal to remove what the parents call graphic and inappropriate sex education curriculum known as SHEP.
The group has scheduled a rally outside of school district headquarters prior the school board's regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday.
"We're asking, not only a massive opt-out day where people don't go to school at all, we're asking them to opt out once the ciriculum is taught over the next several weeks," said attorney Dean Broyles. "We want to make clear, we're not against sex education; we just want sex education that's age-appropriate, medically accurate and aligns with community values.
The school district says the curriculum, taught to sixth-, eighth- and tenth-grade students, is in compliance with state law, is researched-based and increases the overall well-being of students.
The district had previously released the following statement, but did not address the call to keep students out of school for a day:
“We encourage all parents to learn the facts about sexual health and how we teach it. We’ve created a website to make it easy for parents to get the information they need. Our education program was constructed with input from parents, faith leaders and community residents to comply with the new California Healthy Youth Act. After being informed about the program, less than 1 percent of parents chose to exclude their children from learning about sexual health when the curriculum was implemented districtwide last school year. Anyone who wants more information on sexual health should visit https://www.sandiegounified.org/shep."
Ashley Bever, a mother and substitute teacher, says the district is simply not listening to parents who are concerned with SHEP.
She showed NBC 7 a book called "It's Perfectly Normal," literature used as supplemental teaching material for the program. The book contains pictures that the station couldn’t show on TV.
"The curriculum talks about things like self-pleasuring, so to have an adult cross that line and talk to children about pleasure, highly inappropriate," Bever said.
Parents have brought the issue to the school board at least three times in the last year and the board has yet to formally address their concerns.