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Here is a thing that we all knew already, except for those of us who were homeschooled by a Duggar in Jesus's basement and think the Earth is flat and just a few thousand years old, and also gravity? Pffft, just a theory. Telling kids to save their v-cards for their lawfully wedded opposite-sex marriage spouse is really dumb. And it doesn't prevent pregnancy or disease. And in California, it is against the law.


That's according to a recent ruling by Fresno County Superior Court Judge Ronald Black, in a lawsuit against the Clovis Unified School District, which was not complying with the California Comprehensive Sexual Health & HIV/AIDS Prevention Act. The 11-year-old law requires "HIV/AIDS prevention education [to be] taught once in middle school and once in high school" and specifically states that "abstinence-only education is not permitted in California public schools." The purpose of the act is quite clear:

  • To provide a pupil with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect his or her sexual and reproductive health from unintended pregnancy and STDs;
  • To encourage a pupil to develop healthy attitudes concerning adolescent growth and development, body image, gender roles, sexual orientation, dating, marriage, and family.

But the Clovis school district didn't get the memo, apparently, because contrary to the state's definitions and requirements of comprehensive sex ed, it just did whatever the hell it wanted, including:

  • requiring schools to use materials that emphasized abstinence as the only real way to prevent pregnancy and disease;
  • failing to "require medically accurate information" about contraception and disease prevention;
  • requiring parents to affirmatively consent to letting their kids learn about HIV/AIDs;
  • hiring untrained instructors who were not actually experts on comprehensive sex education;
  • using textbooks that excluded condoms and contraception;
  • using materials that "promoted and reinforced bias based on sexual orientation";
  • showing a video that "compared a woman who was not a virgin to a dirty shoe";
  • showing a video taught claimed "condoms provide no protection from the transmission of STDs, that hormonal birth control makes women ten times more likely to contract an STD, and that the only legitimate relationship is a monogamous heterosexual marriage";
  • showing a video that the California Department of Education said "may not be used due to medical inaccuracies";
  • showing a video asserting that "boys and men are physically unable to stop themselves once they become sexually excited" and that "something bad will happen if they have sex "outside of marriage," so they should "adopt the mantra 'one man, one woman, one life.'"

All of that? Yeah. Illegal. Also just plain dumb, and not just because the information is wrong, but because -- as we have discussed many times now -- IT DOESN'T KEEP KIDS FROM FUCKING. The rates of teen pregnancy and disease are just as bad, or even worse, among kids who are taught that "just don't have sex" in the best way to not get knocked up or get diseases on their junk.

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That's why spending money on such programs is a complete waste and causes real, actual, quantifiable harm to kids. Which is why, as the judge noted:

Given the high cost of teen pregnancy and similar toll on society of HIV/ADIS [sic] and other sexually transmitted diseases, the rights vindicated by this suit, access to medically, and socially appropriate sexual education, is an important public right.

The school district has changed its program, so now kids in Fresno learn real medical information about pregnancy and disease prevention. But the judge has still ordered the district to pay nearly half a million bucks in attorney and court fees, for wasting everyone's time, because parents (with the help of other organizations) never should have had to sue the school district in the first damned place to force it to teach actual sex ed, as California law requires.

According to the ACLU, Clovis is hardly the only school district in the state that is violating the state law; it's just the first to get busted for it:

In a sampling of California school districts, more than 40 percent failed to teach about condoms and other contraceptive methods in middle school; and in high school, 16 percent of students were taught that condoms were ineffective, and 70 percent of districts failed to comply with provisions of the law that require age-appropriate materials about sexual orientation.

As a result of this lawsuit, some other school districts have begun to change their sex ed curriculum because gosh, it sure would suck to get sued and have a judge tell them YOU ARE BREAKING THE LAW AND HURTING CALIFORNIA'S CHILDREN! So yay, that's a good thing. Now if we can just get all the other states and the federal government to get on board, we might actually save some money and some lives. But let's not rush into anything.

[American Academy of Pediatrics v. Clovis Unified School District via SFGate / California Department of Education]

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