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California Department of Education approves new sex education framework for K-6

Posted at 6:44 PM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 21:44:15-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The California Department of Education is moving forward with changes to the state's health and sex education framework after officials unanimously approved new guidelines.

Despite months of large protests, the new guidelines for elementary school students would allow individual school districts to decide whether or not kindergartners learn about sexual orientation, gender fluidity and more.

"The information our state board seems to want to give our third and fourth graders is too graphic to even be shown on the nightly news and why my friends why are we robbing our children of their youth?" Republican Senator Jeff Stone said.

The new health and sex education framework tells teachers that students as young as kindergarten can identify as transgender and it offers tips on how to talk about different identities.

While some parents support the change, others strongly disagree and said the guidelines are inappropriate for classroom discussion.

"I feel like that's something that should be talked about with me at home and not in a classroom," Local second grade Bakersfield mom Amanda Patrick said.

Many protesters argued that a handful of the proposed books were too graphic and used close-up illustrations of children's and adults private areas that would be shown to kids starting in the third grade. Other books included topics such as gender fluidity, body changes and guidelines to sexuality.

In light of the pushback, the board of education decided to remove five of the proposed books and to remove the topic of masturbation from the framework.

BOOKS REMOVED FROM FRAMEWORK:

  • My Princess Boy
  • Who are You? The Kids Guide to Gender Identity
  • Changing You! A Guide to Body Changes & Sexuality
  • What’s Happening to My Body?
  • S.E.X. The All You Need to Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties

However, other books covering topics such as reproduction and LGBTQ relationships will remain a part of the framework.
Mom's like Patrick of Bakersfield said if local public school districts adopt the framework it may be overstepping their boundaries.

"Much like religion we don't teach that our students can choose whatever religion they want to be, why should we let kindergarteners think that they can choose whatever gender they want to be," Patrick said.

According to the board, the framework is not meant to teach kids how to become trans or gay but it is meant to provide teachers with language, tools and resources that will help them navigate conversations that come up.

For LGBTQ community members like Andrew Carl, they feel it is an inclusive approach.

"So I like that it's including everybody in the sex talk but I think kindergarten is way too young," LGBTQ community member Andrew Carl said.

Each district in Kern County will now have to decide whether or not to implement the new framework. Parents can opt their students out of specific lesson plans they don't agree with and school districts are required to notify parents before these lessons take place.

"I would definitely opt her out at this age, junior high and high school that's different but she's only in second grade," Patrick said.

23ABC News reached out to the Panama Buena Vista School District, Bakersfield City School District, Taft Unified School District, Norris School District, Tehachapi Unified School District, Kernville School District, the Delano Elementary School District and we did not hear back as of publication.

The state board of education will also meet again to review the new framework. Once the final draft of the framework is approved California parents may see the new framework as soon as next year according to the California Department of Education.