Parents in one northern California school district are accusing Planned Parenthood of trying to pressure their kids into having sex by providing them with information about consent, sexuality, and gender identity. They’re trying to get the national nonprofit, which is currently the largest sex ed provider in the country, kicked out of school.
For the past decade, Planned Parenthood has partnered with the Acalanes Union High School District to provide comprehensive sex ed instruction to students. But some parents in the district appear to have only recently learned about the women’s health organization’s role. Last month, several outraged residents formed a coalition called NOISE — which stands for “No to Irresponsible Sex Education” — to pressure school officials to drop Planned Parenthood’s curriculum.
And according to Fox News, the conflict escalated even further this week, after parents got their hands on some of the materials currently being used in the high school’s sex ed classes.
Specifically, they object to a checklist that helps kids decide whether they’re ready for sex, as well as gives them suggestions about how to communicate effectively with a potential partner, like asking “Is this okay with you?” and “Can I kiss you?” They’re also concerned about a “genderbread person” tool that teaches kids about the spectrum of sexuality and gender.
That prompted the Bay Area parents to contact the nonprofit legal organization Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative group that works to defend religious freedom and parental rights. According to a press release from that organization — which notes that parents are outraged over “a school program that offers a transgender twist on a holiday tradition and tells young teens they might be ‘ready for sex’” — they’ve worked together to collect 100 petition signatures opposing the curriculum.
“Planned Parenthood is not exactly the best when it comes to putting young people first,” Brad Dacus, the president of the Pacific Justice Institute, told Fox News. “They get more grants from the promiscuity of children. The material they have provided was material that mirrored their agenda.”
School district officials, meanwhile, have defended the sex ed courses. “Our board has long supported comprehensive sexual health and HIV/AID prevention,” superintendent John Nickerson told parents in November. “Planned Parenthood has been utilized as a consultant for well over 10 years in some of our schools.”
Indeed, Planned Parenthood has a long history of providing comprehensive sexual health information to teens, and it’s not uncommon for them to partner with school districts. Although conservative opponents have argued that Planned Parenthood shouldn’t be allowed to provide sex ed in public schools — suggesting there must be some kind of ulterior motive to convince kids to get pregnant and have abortions — a recent study confirmed that a sex ed curriculum developed by the group effectively helps kids delay having sex. And according to national surveys, Planned Parenthood’s materials aren’t exactly outside the mainstream. Most Americans overwhelmingly support comprehensive sex ed. Nonetheless, small minorities of vocal parents are often quite successful at pressuring school districts to remove sex ed materials.
Parents in states across the country have raised concerns about “X-rated” and “pornographic” sexual health classes that include information about condoms and healthy relationships. Over the past 20 years, the number of states that require students to get some kind of sex ed in the classroom has dwindled.