San Diego

Parents Call for ‘Opt Out Day’ to Protest Sex Ed Curriculum

Parents have brought the issue to the school board at least three times in the last year

Some San Diego parents have had it with a controversial sex education program being taught in city schools, and they're prepared to intentionally keep their students out of school in protest of it.

A group called Concerned Parents of San Diego is asking school parents to keep their kids out of school next Tuesday.

The "Sex Ed Opt Out Day" is a one day protest against the San Diego Unified School District board’s refusal to remove what the parents call graphic and inappropriate sex education curriculum known as 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 even show you 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.

Bever supports the movement to keep children out of school next Tuesday in an effort to get the school board's attention.

“Take an extra day of vacation on the Tuesday following Memorial Day and let the district know, 'Hey, we're not OK with you not even asking us or including us.’”

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.

SHEP is taught to 6th, 8th and 10th-grade students. The district says it's complying with state law and the curriculum is researched-based and increases the overall well-being of students.

Opponents have equated it to pornography, but not everyone agrees with keeping their kids out of school for a day.

“I wouldn't support the walkout, I wouldn’t' say you shouldn’t do a walkout, but I wouldn't join the walkout,” parent Heidi Chang said. “I saw the curriculum and I was OK with it.

Next Tuesday, Concerned Parents of San Diego has scheduled a rally outside of school district headquarters prior the school board's regularly scheduled meeting.

The SDUSD 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.”

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