United Parents' Review of Final CUSD Sex Ed Curriculum

It’s time to comment on the results of a year’s worth of efforts to create a better Sex Ed Curriculum in the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD). Several United Parents co-founders and members were able to influence the process and the final product by serving on the Sex Ed Task Force, a special advisory committee established by CUSD, to review and improve the curriculum. Collectively we (and some individually) spent hundreds of hours reviewing curriculum, re-writing lesson plans, making suggestions for improvement, and providing data, research and stories in an effort to protect children and families while honoring the law

And, what was our cause?  It was to de-sexualize the CUSD curriculum.  It was to emphasize the importance of abstinence for our youth.  It was to remove bias from lesson content and replace propaganda with settled science. It was to promote class discussions and illustrations that were appropriate for 12 and 13 year-old children. It was to gain transparency and make the curriculum easy for parents to review. It was to include parents in the lessons, and hopefully the ongoing discussion. 

In the end, what was accomplished?

  • Teen Talk was largely, although not entirely, rejected. Objectionable portions remain in our curriculum, but the worst were discarded.

  • A Parent Interview was added to each lesson, which we hope will facilitate meaningful discussions between parents and children about sex, sexuality, and family values.

  • Parents of 7th and 8th-grade students are now allowed to check out a copy of the curriculum for their child’s grade for more convenient review at home.

  • Three e-mails will now be sent out to parents during the course of the curriculum, informing them about what has been taught and reminding them about the parent interviews that students are expected to complete.

  • Information about pre-natal care was added to balance the already-included abortion content.

  • More information was added on the importance of developing healthy friendships, as not all relationships are sexual.

  • Youth are now taught about the “legal age of consent,” and the curriculum teaches youth about setting boundaries and refusal skills.

  • Lesson content on the dangers of pornography was added.

In the end, what was NOT accomplished?

  • Some lesson content may still be deemed to be age-inappropriate.  Scenarios discussed in class are likely too mature for all children, and three types of sexual relations are still named and described.

  • The value of abstinence (on many levels) was not included — it is only discussed as a means to prevent disease and pregnancy. The emphasis is still on teaching kids how to have sex safely.

  • A graphic diagram of female anatomy is still included in the 7th-grade curriculum.

  • Biased and controversial ideas regarding gender and sexuality are still presented as “commonly understood” fact.

  • The very real dangers of HIV and other STI’s are not emphasized. Students are taught how HIV and other diseases/infections can be contracted, what some of the signs are, and how they can be treated. But, the very real and devastating consequences of these diseases are not discussed, possibly leaving some youth with the impression that with medication all will be well.

  • Content about the value of marriage and family (mandated by CHYA) was removed and remains absent in our curriculum.

So, what now?  This is a question that only you can answer for yourself and your family.  The curriculum that the CUSD will now teach to our children is far better than the originally-proposed Teen Talk of a year ago. We are grateful for the many ways in which the curriculum was improved — for the addition of anti-porn instruction, for example.  But, many parents may still find some lesson content objectionable — themes and lessons that are either not age-appropriate for their children or that run contrary to their family, religious, or cultural values.

Our participation on the Sex Ed Task Force was eye-opening for all of us. We struggle to escape the conclusion that a fully acceptable sex ed curriculum could have been created had our good-faith efforts not have been sharply undercut by powerful outside interests, whose goals and values are inconsistent with those of our community and the majority of its parents. We are disappointed that the CUSD staff and board (with one exception) either actively supported the lesson content to which we were strenuously opposed or allowed fear of outside forces to dictate their actions (and votes) on this very important issue. 

We urge you to review the curriculum for yourself. We don’t presume that all parents share our views. But we do believe that each and every parent has the right and responsibility to supervise their child’s introduction to and education of sex and sexuality. If this curriculum does not support your family’s values, then you should consider exercising your parental prerogative to opt out.


After a year-long process to improve the originally-proposed Teen Talk Sex Ed curriculum, the Capistrano Unified School District will make their final work product available for review beginning TOMORROW. It can be reviewed three ways: 1) at the district offices from 8:00am to 4:30pm, 2) by checking out a copy at the district office for review at home (if you are a parent of a 7th or 8th-grader) and, 3) at one of the scheduled Middle School Parent Nights.

We will begin our own review of this final curriculum tomorrow and post our review as soon as possible.

If you are unable to attend one of these meetings, you can view their PowerPoint online  HERE.  Unfortunately, you will not be able to ask the district questions. For example, slide #7 indicates that the curriculum does not “encourage the adoption of specific values regarding sexuality” and that it doesn’t “contradict family-held, religious, cultural or ethical values regarding sexuality.” After reviewing the curriculum, you may disagree.

If you are unable to attend one of these meetings, you can view their PowerPoint online HERE. Unfortunately, you will not be able to ask the district questions. For example, slide #7 indicates that the curriculum does not “encourage the adoption of specific values regarding sexuality” and that it doesn’t “contradict family-held, religious, cultural or ethical values regarding sexuality.” After reviewing the curriculum, you may disagree.

Concerning the Parent Opt-Out:

The district has made it clear that parents will have the right to opt their child out of this curriculum. However, they have not yet made this process easy. After searching the district’s website, we couldn’t locate it. Once we do, we will share a link to the required form.

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February 27th BOARD MEETING REVIEW Capistrano Unified School District

Many have asked about the February 27th CUSD Board Meeting. The District’s draft Comprehensive Sexual Education curriculum, which is still riddled with bias, and inappropriate content for twelve and thirteen year old children, was on the docket for adoption. The great majority of the over 30 speakers (about a third of whom were middle and high school students currently enrolled in CUSD schools) petitioned the board to briefly delay approval so that these problems could be adequately addressed. 

Sadly, despite articulate, persuasive and substantial opposition from the community, the CUSD board voted 6-1 to approve the deeply-flawed curriculum. Only Trustee Jim Reardon had the courage to vote “no.”

It was extraordinary to listen to so many articulate young people explain to adults the vital importance of including topics like the value of abstinence and the dangers of pornography in the sex ed curriculum. It was equally stunning to witness six trustees vote in favor of this proposed curriculum anyway, as if they didn’t hear a word that was said.  

Clearly, minds had been made up long before they entered the board room. The six trustees’ actions call into question the seriousness of their stated commitments to listen to, consider and fairly represent the views and best interests of our community and its citizens. It also undermines the value of the open comment portion of these meetings, making it appear that they are largely for show, a way to mislead the electorate into believing that their voices actually matter.

Our takeaway from this experience? Quite simply, if you really want to make a difference in our schools, take time to meet with your trustees long before the board meetings happen. Better yet, find, recruit and support candidates with the wisdom, courage and integrity to accept the challenge and responsibility of real leadership and to replace those board members who are not standing up for our children and representing our community’s views.

The father of one of the young speakers recorded his daughter’s speech.  We have reposted it here so you can get a flavor of the messages that these brave young people presented, as well as feel some hope for the future as we see the courage and caliber of the youths who spoke out for themselves and their peers.

Click on image to see video on Facebook

Click on image to see video on Facebook

Sign Our Petition!

With only a handful of days left before the Capistrano Unified School District Trustees vote on a new Sex Ed Curriculum, it’s time that all parents’ voices be heard. If you live in the Capistrano Unified School District boundaries, please join with us in telling our Trustees what we DO and DO NOT wish our children to be taught at school.

Over the last 7 days, our organization has sent to the CUSD Trustees:

  • A letter stating our objections.

  • Invitations to discuss our curriculum concerns in person.

  • A four-page detailed analysis explaining reasonable suggestions for improvement that would satisfy most parents who are concerned about the current content and tone of the curriculum.

TODAY it’s your turn! Please sign our PETITION to tell our Trustees and the CUSD staff that the current Sex Ed Curriculum is unacceptable in its current form (as of 2/15/19). But, we believe that with a few changes, it could be.

CLICK HERE to sign our petition and PLEASE forward the link to your friends and neighbors.

To Sit Out or Not to Sit Out


We have received many inquiries about the upcoming national Sexx Ed Sit Out, happening on February 19th. People want to know what we think about it. Are we going to participate? Are we going to promote it? The short answer is, no. Not this time around.

As many of you will recall, we held our first United Parents meeting to inform parents about Comprehensive Sexuality Education and what that might mean for their families one year ago, on the day of the very first organized National Sexx Ed Sit Out. Rather than participate in that Sit Out, we decided to, instead, teach people the truth about what was happening, specific to the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD).

You see, at that point, our Trustees had decided to reject Teen Talk (a curriculum that offends the values and goals held by many families in our district) in favor of working with parents to create a better solution. And, we were grateful. So, although the Sexx Ed Sit Out wasn’t designed to be a criticism of local leaders — but as a message for legislators in Sacramento — we thought that our participation might send the wrong signal. So, we decided to focus our time and energy on the process of creating a better Sex Ed Curriculum through cooperative work with Trustees and District staff.

A year has now come and gone. Several United Parents members had the privilege of sitting on the CUSD Sex Ed Task force, organized to oversee the development of a better Sex Ed Curriculum. We weren’t given very much to do, but we provided data, opinions, and studies to support our views. At the end of the Summer, we reviewed their work product and offered more suggestions. Some were accepted. Most were not.

It became clear to us that there are two fundamental differences of opinion which are so far apart that building a bridge to span that chasm has been very difficult. One group believes that we owe it to our children to teach them the value of delaying sex until marriage — both in the short and long term. The other group believes that there is nothing wrong with pre-marital sex and that it’s our obligation as adults to see to it that kids are made aware of all the ways they can protect themselves during every possible sexual activity. In a nutshell, that’s pretty much it.

Our dialogue with the district and Trustees is ongoing. Today, we delivered to the Trustees a thorough but concise document, outlining our objections and solutions for continued improvement. We will post those suggestions here TOMORROW.

The Trustees will vote on a the newly proposed Sex Ed Curriculum on February 27th. That gives us just a few more days to affect positive change. On FRIDAY we will be sending a link to a petition we hope you will sign to let our Trustees know what we expect a Sex Ed Curriculum to teach our children — and what we expect that it will not teach. Please sign it, and forward it along to your friends. This may be our last opportunity to SPEAK UP on this issue.

Capistrano Unified School District Invites Parents to Review Proposed Sex Ed Curriculum

After many months of review and consideration of parent and community feedback regarding the sex ed curriculum in the Capistrano Unified School District, a new proposal is now available for public review. Unfortunately, it has not been posted to the CUSD website in its entirety — so far, only the links to supplementary materials and an outline of the lesson plans have been published. Most of the content was taken from Teen Talk and Rights, Respect, and Responsibilities and will be submitted to the Board of Trustees on February 27th for approval.

To review the curriculum, please go to the Instructional Materials Center at the CUSD Offices (33122 Valle Rd, San Juan Capistrano) during business hours (M-F 8:00am to 4:30pm). We also encourage everyone to request that the entire curriculum be posted to the CUSD website so all families have an opportunity to read it without causing a hardship. To make this request, please contact Superintendent Vital (superintendent@capousd.org), Dr. Susan Holliday (seholliday@capousd.org), or Josh Hill (jjhill@capousd.org). In addition, you might consider contacting our Trustees.

We will post more to our site as it becomes available.

California Healthy Youth Survey

(Clicking on image will take you to the CDE website)

(Clicking on image will take you to the CDE website)

Every year, in California, a health survey is administered to students in grades five, seven, nine, and eleven. For students in the fifth grade, an opt-in letter must be signed by parents. Students in grades seven, nine, and eleven will be required to fill out this survey unless a parent has signed a letter to opt them out.

Every parent should review this survey before permitting their child to take it. We have included links to these surveys and opt out forms (for the CUSD) here:

Fifth grade survey

Seventh grade survey

Ninth grade survey

Eleventh grade survey

Opt Out form (grades 7,9,11)

Opt IN form (grade 5)

These surveys are the same from district to district, but the opt in and opt out letters may differ as these are designed to be customizable. The templates for these letters can be found HERE. If you are unable to procure an actual opt-in or opt-out form from your school or district, you should be able to use the form found on the CDE website.

Please forward this information on to your friends and neighbors. ALL parents need to become more aware of what is happening in their children’s schools; this is one good step forward.

Read What's Happening in the East Bay

School districts all over California — districts like Mount Diablo Unified — are learning the hard way that most parents, once they understand what is being promoted under the name of Comprehensive Sexuality Education, do not want their children exposed to it.

We encourage trustees everywhere to reject curricula that sexualize our children and write their own lesson plans that focus on subjects that will actually arm our children with accurate, helpful, age-appropriate sex-education information — not sexualization information.

700 Concerned Parents in Chino STEP UP and SPEAK UP in Support of Parents' Rights

On September 6th, about 700 parents showed up at a Chino Hills school board meeting to demand that the school district allow parents to opt out of K-12 sex education curricula. Concerned citizens -- clearly not a minority -- spoke in favor of a proposal that would require the school district to notify parents when Comprehensive Sexuality Education, HIV Prevention Education, Family Life Education, and even instances which may imperil their child's physical/bodily privacy on school premises are going to be taught.

The proposal complies with state law, which already allows for a parent to opt their child out of Comprehensive Sexuality Education, but goes a step farther by granting parents ample time to withdraw their children from subject matter they decide is inappropriate.

Parents in Chino are promoting changes in sexual health curricula that steer children away from risky sexual behavior, by encouraging them to abstain from sexual activity all together until they're married and to not encourage them to explore sexual acts and identities. They believe that what is at stake is the fundamental right of parents -- not the State -- to direct the upbringing of their children.

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CSE Not Just a California Problem

The Salt Lake Tribune published an article by Heather Ells, a student at Maple Mountain High School, that explains the objections many people have with Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), as it is currently packaged and promoted. The majority of students and parents simply do not want more graphic, sexually explicit curricula to be taught in our schools to our children.  It's as simple as that. 

Parents who approve of CSE have the right to share this type of information with their own children, but they do not have the right to force my children to be exposed to the same lessons which smack of ideology rather than science and are, in the eyes of most, completely age-inappropriate.  

My children.  My choice.  Makes sense, right?  Well, in California our school districts don't have a choice whether or not they can choose to incorporate a CSE curriculum into their middle schools an high schools.  The California Healthy Youth Act took away that right.  So, parents need to engage their Trustees in a constructive dialogue regarding the best way forward.  How to comply with the law and still maintain a curriculum that is dignified, age-appropriate, and science-based is a question that can be answered and solved if good people stand together and take time to think creatively.

In coming weeks, we will share with you an analysis of several good curricula that focus on abstinence and how close they come to compliance.  Perhaps the solution for some districts is to adopt a curriculum like one of these and simply add a few supplemental lessons to bring the program into compliance.  Solutions are out there.

Orange Unified School District Rejects Teen Talk Too

In response to an article published in the Orange County Register on July 19, 2018, Brenda Lebsack (OUSD Board member) wrote a thoughtful response which was published on August 10th.  She points out that the main reason her district rejected Teen Talk was due to medical inaccuracies found within the lessons -- inaccuracies that put teens in harm's way.

Skip Hellewell, a member of our United Parents team, also wrote a response to this original Orange County Register article:

Dear Editor 

Your 7/19 article “O.C. school districts resist state sex ed law” missed the main points of growing resistance to proposed sex ed curricula.  Most parents aren’t resisting the law (AB 329, the CA Healthy Youth Act)—they are offended by curricula that go well beyond the law.  Likewise, parents aren’t against the LGBTQ—they seek to protect the innocence and health of ALL children.  

The proposed curricula appear to violate AB 329 because they are not age appropriate, introduce children to risky sexual behavior, and do not respect parental sex ed rights.  For example:  The Teen Talk curriculum provided at the Capo USD for parental inspection invites 12- and 13-year-old children, in the first lesson, to discuss masturbation, oral sex, and anal sex.  This offends innocence.  

Sex ed curricula are now required to teach children the benefits of, and skills needed, to delay their sexual debut until, hopefully, it’s legal, or even until marriage.  Sadly, the proposed curricula do not adequately teach this vital knowledge.  You don’t have to be Christian to be concerned; parents of all beliefs are conservative when it comes to protecting their children.  The cited “sexual assault victim” might have been protected with better teaching of refusal and coping skills, and healthy relationships.    

Laws are created in Sacramento, but curricula are approved by the school boards of our local school districts.  The trustees of the Capo USD, and the Orange USD, cited in your article, should be commended for listening to parent’s concerns and engaging them.  It’s democracy at work.  The most common reaction when these sex ed curricula are explained to parents is, “They’re teaching my child what?”  Parents are widely unaware of the new law and the proposed curricula.  This is an opportunity for the Register.  I just returned as a subscriber; make me proud.  

Robert Hellewell

Update on Oceanside -- Parents CAN Make a Difference

We've already told you about the success parents have had in Oceanside as they have STEPPED UP to speak against the unnecessarily explicit sex ed curricula their district was planning to implement beginning in Kindergarten.  Below is an update.  

The lesson is . . . if we stand together . . . if we WAKE UP, STEP UP and SPEAK UP . . . we CAN make a big difference.  And, our efforts are not for our own children only.  Critics claim that we should mind our own business and simply "opt [our] children out if [we] don't like it." Yes, we may do that if our curriculum ends up being graphic, salacious, and based on ideology.  But, unfortunately, the great majority of parents simply don't have the time to be involved in issues like this.  They are busy going to work and taking care of their families.  They trust that the schools are doing right by their children and would never dream that their children would be subjected to the content that is found in so many of the currently available CSE curricula.

Most parents will never know that this was ever an issue.  But, we will know.  Please stand with us as we continue to have a positive influence on the direction our school districts take in teaching our children (and their friends) only what is necessary, medically accurate, and age-appropriate. And, even more importantly, talk to your kids.  Help them understand who they really are and what it means to be a part of the human family.

Oceanside Parents Need Our Help

Over the last several months, concerned parents in Oceanside have succeeded in working with their Trustees to remove many objectionable lessons from their selected Comprehensive Sexuality Education curriculum, Rights, Respect and Responsibility, a curriculum like Teen Talk that is being promoted by the California Department of Education through their website ASHWG.org

Unlike Teen Talk, this 3R's curriculum is designed for grades K-12 and many parents are understandably unhappy about the early subjection of their youth to topics like sex methods, masturbation and gender fluidity, to name three.  In the sixth grade 3R's curriculum, students are encouraged to log on to scarleteen.com to get answers to their questions about sex.  They are encouraged to do homework assignments on sexetc.org and amaze.org where they can play fun games to learn about condoms and masturbation. 

We have been asked by parent networks in Oceanside to help them get 2500 signatures on a petition that will be sent to their Board of Trustees asking them to authorize Comprehensive Sexuality Education for middle school and high school age children only (as mandated by law). Parents in Oceanside helped parents in the San Diego Unified School District with a similar petition and now they're reaching out to networks like ours for help.

Let's step UP and speak UP!  If we don't . . . our opinions won't matter. One does not have to be a resident of Oceanside to sign their petition.  

Sign the petition here!


CSE in Tucson, AZ

Rights, Respect, and Responsibility is a Comprehensive Sexuality Education curriculum that was recently implemented in the Sunnyside Unified School district in Tucson, AZ.  This curriculum has also been promoted by our own Califonia Department of Education (CDE) on the website ASHWG.org.  This curriculum, and all others that have been deemed compliant (or somewhat compliant) by the CDE all promote the early sexualization of our children, and promote the philosophy that gender is not binary, but is fluid and ever changing.

The Capistrano Unified School district was considering a similar curriculum called Teen Talk.  But, fortunately, they have agreed to take into consideration the views of parents who object to this philosophy and are working to craft a curriculum that complies with the letter of the new law while not offending the value systems of the majority of parents who reside within this district.


ACLU vs. Clovis Unified School District (Abstinence-Only Curriculum)

Forces have been fighting against districts teaching children about abstinence for a long time.  In  2003, the ACLU sued the Clovis Unified School District because they were teaching an abstinence-only curriculum.  We do not promote an abstinence-only curriculum; we acknowledge the value of teaching older children about contraception and STI’s, but we do promote curricula that emphasize the value of abstinence for a child’s emotional and physical health, no matter their sexual orientation or preferences.

Because of the ACLU's meddling with local control in our school districts, our board members are understandably reluctant to teach anything that has not been endorsed by the ACLU, and the like. This is one reason our board members need to know that they have the full support of their community in choosing curriculums that are not formally approved by these non-governmental organizations. 

When the ACLU doesn't approve of what a school district teaches regarding CSE, lawsuits can follow.