FREMONT, Calif. (KTVU) - It was a heated debate Wednesday night in Fremont over a controversial sexual education curriculum. Ultimately, in a 3-2 vote, the board did not approve the sex education curriculum for 4th to 6th graders that many parents say is too racy and graphic. The vote came after 1 a.m. Thursday. In a 3-2 vote, the board did approve the curriculum for 7th to 9th graders.
Public comment started at 4:30 p.m. More than 200 people signed up to speak.
Five hundred people packed three rooms at the Fremont Unified School District board meeting, concerned over the particular sex education, which explains such things as oral and anal sex. They said it erodes family values and promotes sexual activity. But the school administration says it complies with the California Healthy Youth Act, passed by the state legislature in 2016 with topics such as gender identity and sexual orientation.
“It’s divisive and controversial,” said Grandmother Carol Zilly. “It is masked as safe and healthy. It is dangerous.”
Many of them carried signs that read “Yes to sex ed, no to the 3 R’s.” The 3 R’s stand for rights, respect, responsibility.
“Whenever you are talking about personal issues, people have a lot of individual beliefs, religious, political beliefs,” said Superintendent Kim Wallace.
Wallace doesn't believe the material is too graphic. She said, they're listening to parents concerns and already implementing changes and toning down some of the more sophisticated content.
“We are in compliance with the law,” said Wallace. “It needs to be medically accurate, needs to be unbiased, and it needs to talk about the elements that are in the California Healthy Youth Act. It does that.”
Parent Martha Kreeger spoke in favor of it, saying her gay son was bullied in school. She said the new curriculum teaches valuable lessons on gender differences and orientation.
“It makes children who live in the dark and thinks everyone condemns them for who and what they are or even struggling with this issue feel accepted,” said Kreeger.
The superintendent reminded parents they have the option to opt out of the curriculum. Many parents said the process is broken.