“I am the expert on my kids,” said Denise Pursche of Clayton, California, who believes parents should decide what is age appropriate.
It was a difficult process, and she said it should be easier for parents, especially given the controversies that have abounded in California since the 2016 sex ed changes.
That’s when AB 329 went into effect. It’s described as a “comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education” plan, and it has changed the suggested materials and approaches.
Part of that law reads, “A school district may provide comprehensive sexual health education or HIV prevention education consisting of age appropriate instruction earlier than grade 7.”
Summer Reeves, a spokesperson for the Santa Clara County Office of Education, told The Epoch Times that the office decides what is “age appropriate” with the help of a comprehensive sexual educator network.
One of the partners in that network is the organization Planned Parenthood, which has created some of California’s most controversial sex ed curricula.
Sex education battles are nothing new in the Golden State. In May 2019, the California State Board of Education unanimously approved a K-12 sex ed curriculum framework that critics argued was unnecessarily explicit and enshrined a progressive sexual ethic. A 2016 state law required school districts to provide comprehensive sexual education—including lessons affirming different sexual orientations and gender identities—for grades seven to 12.
Although the law did not require sex ed for students from pre-K to sixth grade, it changed the way school districts obtained parental consent if they decided to use a state-approved sex education curriculum for elementary students. The state previously required districts to notify parents and obtain a parental opt-in. The 2016 law prohibited districts from requiring active parental consent and instead only allowed parents to opt out.
The measure defeated this week would have reverted to an opt-in system and required districts to notify parents and guardians that proposed sexual health curriculum for elementary students would be available on the district website for review before instruction.
Supporters of a bill that would change sex education in California rallied at the State Capitol ahead of a crucial committee vote on Wednesday.
The bill was authored by State Sen. Mike Morrell, a Republican from Rancho Cucamonga.
Supporters of SB 673 say the legislation would allow parents to thoroughly review what their children are being taught. They say parents would also be able to access the materials online and that some districts already have similar policies in place.
“Over the last two years, I’ve heard from parents all over our state who have voiced concerns about the content of the new sex education curriculum,” Sen. Morrell said in a video statement on the bill. “They’ve shared with me their view that much of what’s available for young students is unsuitable and indecent.”
However, the bill failed to move on, garnering just a 5-2 vote with all Democrats on the committee opposing.
"(Senator) Morrell intends to ensure that the people are empowered.
He said one example is a bill he proposed this year, SB 673, that amends parts of the existing California law on the controversial sexual health education. The bill would require parents to opt-in their child to join the program, rather than joining by default.
“This education of sex, should be between their parents and their child,” said Morrell. “And the parents should decide, not the school districts, especially not the state of California, what should be taught.”
" Earlier this year, Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) introduced Senate Bill 673 to address this issue, after hearing from parents like Denise Pursche, a mother of twins from the bay area, who struggled for over a month to see the new sex-ed curriculum for her fifth graders. At first, school administrators with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District would only send her lesson titles and vague curriculum summaries. But that wasn’t good enough for Denise. She wanted to see the actual lessons and worksheets to be used in the classroom."
“Parents have the right to know what lessons are being covered in the classroom,” said Senator Mike Morrell (R-23rd District-Rancho Cucamonga). “We want them to be engaged and involved in the education of their children. This sensitive material needs to be transparent.”
Although Sen. Morrell’s 23rd Senate District is in Southern California the idea for SB 673 was brought to him by a parent in Northern California’s Contra Costa County. To view SB 673 in its entirety, including the most recent changes, go to: