A united group of parents, doctors and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network are suing the Clovis Unified School District in California over a sex education drive championing abstinence until marriage.
The lawsuit alleges that the school district is going against California law and risking the health of its students via misinformation and denying them crucial education around contraception.
A law passed in the state in 2003 requires that sexual health education in public schools be comprehensive, medically accurate, unbiased and inclusive of all sexual orientations.
The American Civil Liberties Union, with assistance from the lawyers Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, is handling the case.
Sex education at Clovis high school is taught via a textbook that omits to mention condom use – even in chapters about HIV/AIDS, STDs and unwanted pregnancy.
Instead, the textbook advises that to protect against such things, a student should have self-respect, plenty of rest and fun – and abstain.
The curriculum even teaches that adults should avoid sex until married.
According to a news release on the lawsuit, additional materials compare a woman who is not a virgin to a “dirty shoe” and say that men are insatiable and uncontrollable when sexually aroused.
Carolyn Laub, executive director of Gay-Straight Alliance Network said: “Young people, experts and legislators have agreed that schools must provide comprehensive and relevant sex ed in order to keep California’s students healthy.
“By ignoring the law, Clovis schools put all students at risk and particularly harm lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, who need unbiased information to make healthy decisions.”
The rate of STDs among California teens has been on the rise over the last decade.
In Fresno County, teens account for nearly a third of chlamydia cases and a quarter of gonorrhea cases.
Fresno County also has one of the highest rates in California of chlamydia infection among 15-24 year olds.
Teen birth rates are down statewide, but remain generally high in rural areas. Fresno having one of the highest teen birth rates in the state for more than a decade.