Parent Complaints Prompt Oceanside School District to Suspend Sex Ed Program for Youngest Students

A Google Maps photo shows the administrative offices for the Oceanside Unified School District.

A Google Maps photo shows the administrative offices for the Oceanside Unified School District.

Oceanside school officials have shelved a sex education program for the district’s youngest students after parents complained the material was too graphic, undermined their religious values and promoted “premature sexual interest, experimentation, and engagement.”

The district suspended the program for elementary school students earlier this summer, and plans to replace it with a new curriculum designed by teachers and school officials, in collaboration with parents.

The sex ed curriculum, titled “Rights, Respect and Responsibility,” was adopted by the Oceanside Unified School District board last year to comply with the California Healthy Youth Act, which took effect in 2016.

The state law requires schools to educate middle and high school students on how to prevent HIV, sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies, and to support healthy attitudes about “adolescent growth and development, body image, gender, sexual orientation, relationships, marriage, and family.” It permits districts to introduce that material in early grades, but doesn’t mandate elementary school sex education.

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