By Charissa Proctor
By far one of the most compelling and fundamental values of a free society is the prizing and protection of the innocence of its children. Is there any more universally recognized portal into a glimpse of the divine than the light you see in a child’s eyes over the joy of discovery, the delight of creativity, the exploration of nature …. their first time holding a roly-poly, crunching a fall leaf, or sinking their toes into the sand?
If we are a “first world country” and fail to uphold this longstanding tradition of joining together as families and communities to protect this most sacred trust – the sanctity of our children’s souls – we will decline rapidly into a state worse than any ancient pagan culture or “third world country”. It has long been celebrated as a human rights advancement of our freedom-loving western world that we do not exploit our young people through the practices of child labor, child sex exploitation, child marriage, and slavery. Until now. Suddenly we are informed that on June 1, the Conejo Valley Board of Education (Jenny Fitzgerald, Bill Gorback, Karen Sylvester, Cindy Goldberg, Lauren Gill) unanimously approved the graphic, sexually explicit “Teen Talk” curriculum for middle school, despite the fact that every single parent and community member present at the board meeting spoke in opposition to it, citing the medical inaccuracies and devastating consequences of implementing the subject matter that is included in Teen Talk and not a single one spoke in support.
Orange Unified in the OC rejected this curriculum and reported that: Concerning medical accuracy, a CHOC Hospital pediatrician attended our meeting and stated: “In reviewing Teen Talk, students are not being told medically accurate statistics regarding the effectiveness of condom use in anal sex. They are not being told the truth that anal sex is the highest risk behavior for transmission of HIV and other STDs especially since condoms are not FDA approved for anal sex.” [https://www.ocregister.com/2018/08/10/sex-ed-must-be-inclusive-and-medically-accurate-unlike-teen-talk/] After reading excerpts from this curriculum the only thing I can equate it to is the codifying of child sexual abuse and exploitation into our education system. This curriculum is patently harmful, destructive and primes children for sexual exploitation, sexually transmitted diseases, increased abortion, infertility, and mental health disorders. I would have assumed it was written by child predators and abusers had I not been informed that it was in fact, curriculum for our public schools. Data abounds on the subject of the often irreparable and lifelong harm done to children from early exposure to sexually graphic content. This used to be a concern with the prevalence of screen time and the associated added risk for young eyes to inadvertently be exposed to “adult content”. Now however, your local school board has approved curriculum for your child’s classroom that 1) SEXUALIZES CHILDREN and normalizes child sex or desensitizes children to sexual things. It gives examples of children having sex or imply many of their peers are sexually active. It glamorizes sex, uses graphic materials, teaches explicit sexual vocabulary, or encourages discussion of sexual experiences, attractions, fantasies or desires. 2) TEACHES CHILDREN TO CONSENT TO SEX. Teaches children how to negotiate sexual encounters or how to ask for or get “consent” from other children to engage in sexual acts with them. While this may be appropriate for adults, children of minor age should never be encouraged to “consent” to sex. “Consent” is often taught under the banner of sexual abuse prevention. Sex with minors is illegal in the state of CA. 3) PROMOTES ANAL AND ORAL SEX, normalizes these high-risk sexual behaviors, and may omit vital medical facts, such as the extremely high STI infection rates (i.e. HIV and HPV) and the oral and anal cancer rates of these high-risk sex acts. [ref. CPA https://californiaparentalliance.org/15-harmful-elements-of-the-sex-ed-curriculum-teen-talk/] Parents, teachers, and community leaders used to stand together on the side of science, psychology, and life experience to provide a safeguard to our children on their road to coming of age; knowing that it is often the guidance of parents and teachers that protects kids from feeling peer pressure to engage in dangerous high-risk activities, teaching them healthy boundaries. Knowing that just as putting a child in the driver’s seat of your automobile and sending them out onto the road would result in disaster, the same is true of their sexuality when embarked upon recklessly and prematurely. Dr. Carolyn Ross, M.D, M.P.H. on Psychology Today notes that: “The earlier a child is exposed to sexual content and begins having sex, the likelier they are to engage in high-risk sex. Research shows that children who have sex by age 13 are more likely to have multiple sexual partners, engage in frequent intercourse, have unprotected sex, and use drugs or alcohol before sex.” [https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/real-healing/201208/overexposed-and-under-prepared-the-effects-early-exposure-sexual-content]
So our schools are now advocating for encouraging children into high risk sexual behaviors that lead to STDS, potential infertility, lifelong mental health disorders, the high likelihood of depression, and stripping them of the age of innocence that leads to a vibrant, healthy adulthood in which they feel confident and ready to make mature decisions about how to engage in relationships without having had their boundaries violated by their educators before the age of consent. Will the members of the Conejo Valley School Board approving this curriculum in opposition to all parents and members of the community present at their meeting be held personally liable for the destructive psychological and physical impact to minors? We all know the transcendent feeling of looking into the eyes of a child and seeing the light of innocent joy. We all know that introducing explicit sexual content into their young world darkens that light and dampens that joy. It is wrong and it should not stand in this community. Our responsibility and privilege is to pass on to future generations the hope and blessing of healthy, grounded, strong, compassionate, creative, free adults who were granted the incalculable gift of a childhood in which their communities recognized their value and stood strong to protect them from exploitation. Please take a moment this week to read more about this curriculum https://californiaparentalliance.org/15-harmful-elements-of-the-sex-ed-curriculum-teen-talk/ and send your comments and reactions to the Conejo Valley School Board:
Jenny Fitzgerald – departing President j[email protected]
Bill Gorback – Vice President [email protected]
Karen Sylvester – Board Clerk [email protected]
Cindy Goldberg [email protected]
Lauren Gill [email protected]
Contributor: Charissa Proctor is a Ventura county resident.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.