This is an informative series of Facebook posts about the Comprehensive Sexuality Education movement/program. They were posted by Jennie Earl who serves on the Utah State Board of Education to help explain what is happening in this area and the agenda of those involved. With permission I am re-posting with light format editing.
The four posts cover these topics:
- First, What is CSE and who are the primary players?
- Second, Where is CSE found around the nation and in our state?
- Third, What can you do to protect your family?
- Fourth, What are Utah laws that support family rights?
Post 1 – What is CSE and who are the primary players?
Here is a quick break down of the differences between Comprehensive Sexuality Education CSE (also known as Sexual Risk Reduction) and Abstinence-based Education (also known as Sexual Risk Avoidance).
Comprehensive Sexuality Education
- Graphic Sexual content often depicting sexual acts
- Introduction to various sexual behaviors
- Continually changing definition of abstinence
- K-12 sexual program often weaved throughout the curriculum
- Focus on childhood sexual rights
- Individual pleasure driven
- Sexual License
- Casualness about human anatomy
- Duplicity/advocacy group involvement and removal of parents
- How to consent /sexual negotiations/foreplay
- Expectations low or ambiguous
- All lifestyle relationships are presented as equal
- Discussion about partners in elementary school
- Self-sexual expression is valorized and revered
- Gender theory
- Age/medically appropriate content
- Focus on healthy teen relationships
- Clear definition of abstinence
- Only in 5th grade/ middle and high school health education with parent consent
- Recognize childhood development/innocence/latency period
- Focus on responsibility to self and others
- Sexual health for life, self-control/ long-term goal setting
- Respect for human anatomy
- Exactness/parent involvement
- Refusal skills, clear boundaries
- Clear expectations set high for all youth
- Positive effects of committed legal relationships like marriage are encouraged
- Friendships are stressed
- Value of a person is multifaceted
- importance of biological sex
The main movers in the US are Planned Parenthood and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) who hold consultative status at the UN. Along with these two organizations, state education policy makers and many advocacy groups work hand-in-hand to push the agenda to remove sexual taboos, “change social norms” and to “transform education”.
For more information about CSE go here.
CSE advocacy groups to be aware of and information from Influencewatch are included here:
The Human Rights Campaign has a program called Welcoming Schools https://www.welcomingschools.org/
Southern Poverty Law Center has classroom resources titled “Teaching Tolerance” https://www.tolerance.org/.
This same organization lists Family Watch International as a hate group https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/family-watch-international
Post 2 – Where is CSE found around the nation and in our state?
Comprehensive Sexuality Education or CSE can be found in every state. Here are three examples of what is happening in the US.
1. New Jersey’s bill https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/PL19/6_.HTM
2. Here is an analysis of the final bill passed in Washington in March 2020 http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2019-20/Pdf/Bill%20Reports/Senate/5395-S.E%20SBR%20FBR%2020.pdf?q=20200401075453
A couple of things worth noting from the bill. CSE will be delivered in K-3 via Social Emotion Learning SEL. Protected classes do not include religion as stated in the analysis.
3. California’s Healthy Youth Act-information with questions and links https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/he/cf/cahealthfaq.asp
I often here “yes but that is California and we are Utah”. Where can CSE be found in Utah?
Some local health departments distribute and refer to organizations that promote CSE. For example look through Weber/Morgan health Department’s site under “Health Promotion” and “Teen Health”. http://www.webermorganhealth.org/health-promotion/teen-health/
The relationships link has resources for parents and resources for youth compare the difference between the two. One of the references for teens says “Build Healthy Relationships” which takes you to:
http://www.seriouslysexuality.com/ Notice the primary players on this site (SIECUS and menstoyhub)
Also under “sexual health” Advocates for Youth and Planned Parenthood are two of the three references used for Educators.
This post is from Pro-Life Utah Showing one of the programs offered through Utah’s library system as a summer program. http://www.prolifeutah.org/your-stories/story.cfm?id=515
Utah State Board of Education Core Guides:
In the Spring of 2019 USBE approved new health standards. Staff then developed with the help of outside agencies “Core Guides” to accompany the standards. These Core Guides could be used by educators in their classroom.
In August the public contacted Utah State Board members with concerns about CSE advocacy groups listed as resources in the Core Guides. Many CSE items were removed over the next several months as they were a clear violation of Utah law (thank you to those that emailed or called in), but CSE advocacy groups remain as resources promoted because of their continued presence within the Core Guides. As of March 2020, a vetting process has been put into place to assist in vetting upcoming and current Core Guides. The motion to remove the current Core Guides from our site until the new process is fully implemented failed to get enough votes.
For Illustrative purposes I am only going to reference second grade but you can look through the full core guides as I have included the link to it as well.
Third Grade Core Guides: https://www.schools.utah.gov/file/f3bfef32-f04f-46aa-ab48-cfef868a7481
Human Rights Campaign “Welcoming Schools”, Southern Poverty Law Center “Teaching Tolerance” and GLSEN: Can all be located under Mental and Emotional Health 3.MEH.2 Additional Activities and Resources Link
Advocates for Youth -Under Human Development Standard 3.HD.3 Feeling Safe
Full Core Guides can be found here: https://www.schools.utah.gov/curr/health?mid=908&tid=2
Other areas where CSE advocacy groups can be found: Suicide prevention coalition groups locally and state wide, bullying programs and policy, some times in English class readings or History class.
Post 3 – What can you do to protect your family?
- 1- Educate yourself about CSE See Post #1. https://familywatch.org/porn-pandemic/#.XodZWW5ME60
- 2- Teach your Family! In the fall as I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious about CSE content I knelt and prayed for help to understand what and how to help my own children and Utah families. That morning I was lead to Ezekiel 44:23 “Teach my people the difference between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean” You have a unique insight about each of your children and know best what they need. As you strengthen your relationship with your children, youth will naturally want to know exactly where you stand on issues related to human intimacy. They will want to live up to any expectations you set. You are the authority when it comes to your family. The responsibility to teach them falls on your shoulders first. As you seek inspiration you too can find resources and know how to teach important truths to your children and family members.
- 3- Talk with your local district about the content they allow in the classroom. Utah is not a CSE state! Organizations that advocate for such practices should not be in our schools they are outside Utah law. There are tons of great resources for schools that are usable for all children from many different backgrounds. As a parent in Utah, you can request certain materials not be taught to your child. You can ask to have your child receive an alternate assignment or to be excused as per Utah law ( https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title53G/Chapter10/53G-10-S403.html ). Ask to be part of the Sex Education Materials Review Committee for your local district. Ask how they vet materials. USBE recently approved a vetting process that you could recommend is implemented at your school. https://usbe.civicclerk.com/Web/GenFile.aspx?ad=2608 Family Watch also has an analysis tool they use. 15-CSE-Analysis-Tool_Template_final_7_18.doc
- 4- Take a few minutes and meet with your child’s teacher to explain your concerns. Meet with your local school board members.
- 5- A number of national organizations have put together a parent guide to help families navigate current gender issues in the school setting. In chapter 5 of this guide it includes parent involvement and community building information. https://genderresourceguide.com/
- 6- Any program used at the school should have evidence demonstrating that it does what it actually says it will do. I have included a link of research conducted by Irene H. Ericksen, M.S. and Stan E. Weed, Ph.D. They have looked at 120 studies of school-based sex education programs and reported on the findings. The full report, short video findings, and an abstract are listed here. https://www.institute-research.com/published-cse.php An organization called Blueprints looks at Healthy Youth Development programs that are based on scientific evaluations and have strong evidence of effectiveness https://www.blueprintsprograms.org. In the same vein, always check the statistics you are given. For example research conducted by UCLA Williams Institute https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/ will have a different approach than research from the Institute for Family Studies. https://ifstudies.org/. It is good to be familiar with the objective of research entities and their agenda.
- 7- Find solutions by making recommendations to education leaders of resources you would support using in the classroom. Ascend is an organization that compiles sexual health education resources to be used around the nation. They are a great wealth of information-Here is a statement from them “Sexual Risk Avoidance is an educational approach based on the public health model of primary prevention to empower youth to avoid ALL the risks of sexual activity.” Take a minute to look through their materials. https://weascend.org/ (Check out Heritage Keepers and Real Essentials. They are located on their site.)
- 8- Other areas to ask questions about locally: What bullying program is my school using? What suicide prevention strategies are they implementing? Who are these programs affiliated with? Is there research that the program actually does what it says it will do? For example some programs say they are research-based meaning that they may use other’s research to validate their program but have never had their program evaluated to see if it reduces bullying or suicide. Resource https://www.stopbullying.gov/ Article about a local district and parental involvement. https://www.parkrecord.com/news/lgbtq-diversity-training-for-teachers-sparks-controversy-at-trailside-elementary-as-group-claims-it-teaches-sex-education/
- 9- Attend public meetings. A schedule for local school Community Councils, Local School Boards, Utah State Board of Education and Local Health Departments should be posted on the organization’s webpage or the secretary could direct you to the information. Often these can be found by calling the secretary of the organization or by going to their website. Each will have its own time frame and rules for public comment. For example USBE has public comment within the first hour of their normal monthly meeting. Public Comment is a time for elected officials to listen, so rarely will a response be given during this part of the meeting.
- 10- USBE has a new vetting process for core guide materials. If the public has concerns with any of the information or organizations on the core guides they can bring their concerns before the Standard and Assessment Committee to be heard. Here is the number to call to get on the agenda. Noralee Green Phone: (801) 538-7515. If you have an ongoing concern and it has not been addressed after talking with local education leaders, USBE has a hotline where our auditing department will investigate https://www.schools.utah.gov/internalaudit?mid=892&tid=3
In closing, work within your comfort level and where you can have the greatest impact. Act on your personal impressions for your family and community. Ask others to help and support you in your efforts. Many parents are wanting to be part of the solution but simply are unsure about what to do or where to start.
Post 4 – Utah law that supports family rights
#4 CSE Law Post-this is not all inclusive but key provisions of Utah Law that support families in Utah
(Click on the links to read the whole law)
- a) Under both the United States Constitution and the constitution of this state, a parent possesses a fundamental liberty interest in the care, custody, and management of the parent’s children.
(d) The state recognizes that:
(i) a parent has the right, obligation, responsibility, and authority to raise, manage, train, educate, provide and care for, and reasonably discipline the parent’s children; and
(ii) the state’s role is secondary and supportive to the primary role of a parent.
(e) It is the public policy of this state that parents retain the fundamental right and duty to exercise primary control over the care, supervision, upbringing, and education of their children.
(3) The Legislature:
(a) recognizes that parents are a child’s first teachers and are responsible for the education of their children;
(b) encourages family engagement and adequate preparation so that students enter the public education system ready to learn; and
(c) intends that the mission detailed in Subsection (2) be carried out through a responsive educational system that guarantees local school communities autonomy, flexibility, and client choice, while holding them accountable for results.
2) The Legislature recognizes that:
(d) the primary responsibility for the education of children within the state resides with their parents and that the role of state and local governments is to support and assist parents in fulfilling that responsibility;
3) Through an integrated curriculum, students shall be taught in connection with regular school work:
(a) honesty, integrity, morality, civility, duty, honor, service, and obedience to law;
(b) respect for and an understanding of the Declaration of Independence and the constitutions of the United States and of the state of Utah;
(c) Utah history, including territorial and preterritorial development to the present;
(d) the essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system;
(e) respect for parents, home, and family;
(f) the dignity and necessity of honest labor; and
(g) other skills, habits, and qualities of character which will promote an upright and desirable citizenry and better prepare students to recognize and accept responsibility for preserving and defending the blessings of liberty inherited from prior generations and secured by the constitution.
Parental participation at local schools
(3) a) Each local school board shall adopt a policy on parental involvement in the schools of the district.
(b) The local school board shall design its policy to build consistent and effective communication among parents, teachers, and administrators.
(c) The policy shall provide parents with the opportunity to be actively involved in their children’s education and to be informed of:
(i) the importance of the involvement of parents in directly affecting the success of their children’s educational efforts; and
(ii) groups and organizations that may provide instruction and training to parents to help improve their children’s academic success and support their academic efforts.
Waivers of Participation
If a parent of a student, or a secondary student, determines that the student’s participation in a portion of the curriculum or in an activity would require the student to affirm or deny a religious belief or right of conscience, or engage or refrain from engaging in a practice forbidden or required in the exercise of a religious right or right of conscience, the parent or the secondary student may request:
(a) a waiver of the requirement to participate; or
(b) a reasonable alternative that requires reasonably equivalent performance by the student of the secular objectives of the curriculum or activity in question.
4) a)The state board shall adopt rules that:
(i) provide that the parental consent requirements of Sections 76-7-322 and 76-7-323 are complied with; and
(ii) require a student’s parent to be notified in advance and have an opportunity to review the information for which parental consent is required under Sections 76-7-322 and 76-7-323.
(6) Except as provided in Section 53G-10-202, political, atheistic, sectarian, religious, or denominational doctrine may not be taught in the public schools.
Any course touching these items mush have parent consent
(i) “Sex education instruction” means any course material, unit, class, lesson, activity, or presentation that, as the focus of the discussion, provides instruction or information to a student about:
(A) sexual abstinence;
(B) human sexuality;
(C) human reproduction;
(D) reproductive anatomy;
(L) sexually transmitted diseases; or
(M) refusal skills, as defined in Section 53G-10-402.
(2) A school shall obtain prior written consent from a student’s parent before the school may provide sex education instruction to the student.
(3) If a student’s parent chooses not to have the student participate in sex education instruction, a school shall:
(a) waive the requirement for the student to participate in the sex education instruction; or
(b) provide the student with a reasonable alternative to the sex education instruction requirement.
(b) The state board shall make rules that, and instruction shall:
(i) stress the importance of abstinence from all sexual activity before marriage and fidelity after marriage as methods for preventing certain communicable diseases;
(ii) stress personal skills that encourage individual choice of abstinence and fidelity;
(iii) prohibit instruction in:
(A) the intricacies of intercourse, sexual stimulation, or erotic behavior;
(B) the advocacy of premarital or extramarital sexual activity; or
(C) the advocacy or encouragement of the use of contraceptive methods or devices; and
methods of strengthening the family; and allow instruction to include information about contraceptive methods or devices that stresses effectiveness, limitations, risks, and information on state law applicable to minors obtaining contraceptive methods or devices.
No funds of the state or its political subdivisions shall be used to provide contraceptive or abortion services to an unmarried minor without the prior written consent of the minor’s parent or guardian.
1) Any person before providing contraceptives to a minor shall notify, whenever possible, the minor’s parents or guardian of the service requested to be provided to such minor. Contraceptives shall be defined as appliances (including but not limited to intrauterine devices), drugs, or medicinal preparations intended or having special utility for prevention of conception.
(2) Any person in violation of this section shall be guilty of a class C misdemeanor.
I am including one rule because it focuses on the local Instructional Materials Commission and parent participation.
An LEA governing board shall annually appoint and review members of the LEA’s curriculum materials review committee on or before August 1.
(b) An LEA’s curriculum materials review committee shall include parents, health professionals, school health educators, and administrators, with at least as many parents as school employees.
(c) The members of an LEA’s committee shall:
(i) meet on a regular basis, as determined by the membership;
(ii) select officers
Youth suicide prevention
(2) In collaboration with the public education suicide prevention coordinator, a school district or charter school, in the secondary grades of the school district or charter school, shall implement a youth suicide prevention program, which, in collaboration with the training, programs, and initiatives described in Section 53G-9-607, shall include programs and training to address:
(g) methods of strengthening the family; and
(h) methods of strengthening a youth’s relationships in the school and community.
Maintaining Constitutional Freedoms in the public Schools
(1) Any instructional activity, performance, or display which includes examination of or presentations about religion, political or religious thought or expression, or the influence thereof on music, art, literature, law, politics, history, or any other element of the curriculum, including the comparative study of religions, which is designed to achieve secular educational objectives included within the context of a course or activity and conducted in accordance with applicable rules or policies of the state and LEA governing boards, may be undertaken in the public schools.
(2) No aspect of cultural heritage, political theory, moral theory, or societal value shall be included within or excluded from public school curricula for the primary reason that it affirms, ignores, or denies religious belief, religious doctrine, a religious sect, or the existence of a spiritual realm or supreme being.
(3) Public schools may not sponsor prayer or religious devotionals.
(4) School officials and employees may not use their positions to endorse, promote, or disparage a particular religious, denominational, sectarian, agnostic, or atheistic belief or viewpoint.
I hope this is helpful for parents working with their local districts.