Last Updated on March 18, 2021 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995
There is a lot to know about just WHAT is going on in schools regarding sexual education. If you are my age (early 40’s), you remember the obligatory sex education class in junior high school (mine was in eighth grade and our teacher read us “The Princess Bride” most of the class). Times have changed, however, and sex education is now being initiated at much younger ages. How young? Kindergarten, which likely encompasses four, five, and six year olds.
California Education Code section 51933 outlines the parameters for sex education in California public schools, and indicates that starting from kindergarten on up, kids may receive sexual education in the public schools. This instruction has to be appropriate for all genders, races, and sexual orientations. In other words, traditional sexual activities and domestic partner type of sexual activities may be instructed.
One may recall the story a while back of a class of San Francisco first graders attending the marriage of their female kindergarten teacher to another female individual. This would probably fall under “sex education.” I don’t recall ever being allowed to attend ANY wedding during school hours when I was growing up. The story about this at World Net Daily states that two families opted not to send their children and the rest of the students attended.
Education Code 51933 states in part:
(a) School districts may provide comprehensive sexual health education, consisting of age-appropriate instruction, in any kindergarten to grade 12, inclusive, using instructors trained in the appropriate courses.
(b) A school district that elects to offer comprehensive sexual health education… shall satisfy all of the following criteria:
1) Instruction and materials shall be age appropriate
2) …medically accurate and objective…
4) [S]hall be appropriate for use with pupils of all races, genders, sexual orientations, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and pupils with disabilities….
The code goes on, but these are the only sections I want to cover herein. There are other codes covering AIDS/HIV instruction which I will leave for another day. Needless to say, all types and forms of sexual activities may be instructed starting when kids enter school. According to a 2003 survey entitled “Sex Education in California Public Schools,” ninety-six percent (96%) of schools surveyed indicated they provide sex education.
Parents have a right, per California Education Code 51938 to excuse their child from sex ed instruction. Parents must do so in writing.
Some food for thought, especially for parents of young students.
Education Attorney for Students
LAW OFFICE OF MICHELLE BALL
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814
Please see my disclaimer. This is legal information, not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by this posting. This blog may not be reproduced without permission from the author and proper attribution of authorship. This blog may not reflect the current state of the law.