A Washington state school board decided to ditch its sex education curriculum over a flood of complaints about a pro-LGBTQ agenda baked into the lessons.
Dozens of parents and other community members filed into the Battle Ground Public School Board meeting on Monday to speak out against “comprehensive sexual education” courses designed by the district to comply with state law, which requires sex ed curriculum to be “medically accurate, age appropriate and inclusive of all kids regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation,” Clark County Today reports.
The state doesn’t require sex ed, only HIV and AIDS prevention, but districts must comply with the definition if they opt to adopt a curriculum.
“Battle Ground had attempted to adopt bits and pieces from a variety of potential CSE courses in order to put together something that satisfies the law, but would assuage concerns of community members. In an online survey with over 2,000 respondents, 18 percent indicated they felt the new curriculum presented a pro-LGBTQ agenda,” according to the news site.
Parents also argued the graphic nature of the materials would promote promiscuity among teens and questioned special interests involved in developing materials.
“I don’t think that … any of these parents has any trouble with the biological aspect of sexual education, it is the extras they’re trying to put in that is the problem for most of the parents here,” parent Shauna Walters told KGW8.
“We have a large, large population of people who are of faith, and that type of teaching directly contradicts their own personal value system,” Walters said of the pro-LGBTQ courses.
Parents weren’t messing around on Monday, when dozens flooded into the school board meeting wearing teal shirts that read, “No CSE Vote No School Levy.”
Nearly four dozen signed up to give the board a piece of their mind, an ordeal that lasted for more than three hours, Clark County Today reports. Many parents threatened to remove their kids from public schools if the district adopted the curriculum.
Folks like 17th District Representative Vicki Kraft argued the focus on LGBTQ and other issues in comprehensive sex ed is part of a “larger agenda” to “groom and sexualize children,” noting that much of the CSE curriculum comes from California, according to the news site.
Some pointed to a local Drag Queen Story Hour as another example infecting the area.
Walters, a candidate for Battle Ground City Council, contends “foreign interests of the sex industry” work through think tanks to help craft sex ed curriculum. Planned Parenthood, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, and similar groups often have a hand in creating sex ed materials used in schools.
A few people spoke in favor of the program, but were vastly outnumbered.
It was a similar situation earlier this year in Olympia, where an effort to mandate comprehensive sex education statewide failed amid public pushback.
In Battle Ground, the board ultimately voted 3-2 to shelve the district’s sex ed program until the state mandates one. Board members opted to keep a “Growth and Development” class about puberty that’s part of fifth-grade biology.
McCoy, the district’s superintendent, voted against the idea to shelve the sex ed curriculum because a committee spent a lot of time working on it. Nonetheless, he said the response has been overwhelming.
“Between the calls from Minnesota, Michigan, and North Dakota it was tough to get to phone calls from Battle Ground,” he griped. “I’ve taken issue with previous comments that ‘I want to make Battle Ground a battleground.’ That’s not why his board is here. This board is here to serve the kids.
“We’re not looking for a fight,” he said.