School Board postpones implementation of California Healthy Youth Act (AB 329)

By Michael Hernandez

 

THOUSAND OAKS—Approximately 150 residents (filling the board room and the overflow areas) at a packed Conejo Valley Unified School District meeting heard Tuesday that the school district would be delaying implementation of the controversial California Healthy Youth Act (AB 329) until fall 2020.

Luis Lichtl, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, stated:  “While the California Healthy Youth Act curriculum frameworks was approved by the California State School Board of Education in May, 2019, the finalized document has not been completed   This framework is not a curriculum but gives guidance to review, look and select approaches that are right for our community. 

“The district seeks transparency and we have done a lot to provide information. Please see our web site at:  http://www.conejousd.org/Departments/Instructional-Services/Health-Education.”

According to the CVUSD web site, “CVUSD has not implemented any additional curricula (published or district-created) to meet the new requirements of AB 329. Staff has reviewed and evaluated “Positive Prevention PLUS” for potential supplemental materials in line with our existing adopted materials, but no part of that curriculum has or will be implemented during the 2019/20 school year.  Instead, students will receive regular health instruction in in their 7th grade science class and their 9th grade health class,” according to Supt. Dr. Mark McLaughlin.

“Administration is not reviewing any of the CDE recommended curricula. Rather, CVUSD administration and teachers will be reviewing the new requirements passed by AB 329 and the recently approved CA Health Education Framework to identify appropriate supplemental materials to be approved by the board of education. These materials will be in addition to the already board approved 7th grade and high school curriculum that addresses Comprehensive Sexual Health & HIV/AIDS Instruction.

 “The California State Board of Education (SBE) has scheduled a Health Instructional Materials Adoption for 2020. This adoption will consider publisher submissions for instructional materials programs designed for kindergarten through grade eight. Final SBE consideration of submitted programs will occur in November 2020 as per the CDE website. The CVUSD will continue to utilize the previously adopted textbook Glencoe Health (Board Adopted June 2005) – Grades 9-12 until pilot materials are produced, reviewed by stakeholders, evaluated and piloted by teachers, and ultimately adopted by the BOE.”

“Per the California Department of Education, The California Healthy Youth Act has five primary purposes:

(1) To provide pupils with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect their sexual and reproductive health from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and from unintended pregnancy.

(2) To provide pupils with the knowledge and skills they need to develop healthy attitudes concerning adolescent growth and development, body image, gender, sexual orientation, relationships, marriage, and family.

(3) To promote understanding of sexuality as a normal part of human development.

(4) To ensure pupils receive integrated, comprehensive, accurate, and unbiased sexual health and HIV prevention instruction and provide educators with clear tools and guidance to accomplish that end.

(5) To provide pupils with the knowledge and skills necessary to have healthy, positive, and safe relationships and behaviors.”

Meanwhile, at the packed Tuesday board meeting, at least three passionate students spoke out in favor of California Healthy Youth Act by stating “trans gender students need this curriculum.”  In their public comments, they spoke against Trustee Sandee Everett  for what they claimed was “bigotry.”

By contrast, 10 parents spoke against the curriculum that educational publishers had developed for AB 329 use.   California Parent Alliance President Tim Cooley said, “We must refuse to perform this (social) experiment on our children.”  One mother only identified as Rachel said she was an advocate for three things:  “transparency, notification, and opt-out rights.”

 

 Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor.  He has worked 25 years as a middle school teacher.   Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].


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