Clovis Unified sued over sex education classes

CLOVIS, Calif.

A ninth grade textbook used in sex education classes at all five of Clovis Unified School District's high schools is stirring up strong emotions among some parents.

"Why would we allow the school to teach kids inaccurate sex information," Aubree Smith said. "These are facts that kids need access to make the best decision through their lifetime."

Smith and the American Civil Liberties Union are filing a lawsuit opposing a curriculum they call: Medically inaccurate, non-comprehensive and biased. The ACLU claims the school district promotes an abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education. They say the textbook does not mention condoms at all, even in the index or chapters about HIV and Aids.

Phyllida Burlingame told Action News, "Clovis high schools teach an abstinence only until marriage curriculum. This means that the curriculum denies students information about condoms and contraception and only prevents information about abstinence as a means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy."

Clovis Unified School District's board policy on family life sex education states: "The district family/life sex education program shall encourage students to be abstinent and to develop healthy attitudes concerning adolescent growth and development, body image, gender roles, sexual orientation, dating, marriage and family."

School spokesperson Kelly Avants says the curriculum is in compliance with state standards.

Avants said, "We have a very lengthy and transparent curriculum adoption process that involves parents, community members, health and science teachers curriculum administrators and health practitioners."

But local Christian leaders say the current curriculum is the best one for teenagers.

Pastor Jim Franklin explainded, "We know that abstinence works, we know that is the number one hundred percent foolproof way of preventing teen pregnancy and preventing stds."

A spokesperson for ACLU told me they would love to see Clovis Unified voluntarily come into compliance with state law.

The California Department of Education declined to comment on the law because there is a pending lawsuit.

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