Parents and community members opposed to new sex education curriculum
Local parents and members of the community gathered Saturday morning in front of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse to protest Teen Talk, Santa Barbara Unified’s new controversial, middle school sex education program.
Teen Talk was approved by the school board last month, but protestors hope to vote out the school board and overturn the vote, saying the board ignored the 1,000 parents in opposition.
The 12-session program covers sexual anatomy, the reproduction cycle, the range of gender identities, sexual orientation, gender expression, birth control, STDs, condom application, relationships, body image, sexual assault and safe sex.
Those opposed to Teen Talk view it as pornographic, citing lack of family values, age-appropriate concerns and Planned Parenthood involvement, and prefer the Health Education and Relationship Training curriculum. All parents have the right to opt out of the program.
Several dozen people took part in Saturday’s protest, which featured signs that read, “No Planned Parenthood curriculum,” “Protect our kids,” “Stop normalizing child sex,” “#TooMuchTooSoon,” “Teen Talk is child abuse” and “Did you know? Your children are being exposed to porn in school.”
“I just think it’s wrong,” protester John Sween told the News-Press. “Kids are going to evolve and find out what it’s all about on their own at some point. I think you can have some type of sex education, but to promote adult terminology in slides… It’s just wrong.”
Michelle Smith, another protestor, added, “It just seems like it’s getting more severe and too detailed, and not focusing anything on the emotional aspect of sex. It’s all about supporting all types with no judgment, but there’s an emotional element to it… When you give yourself to someone else, you’re going to suffer in some way. There wasn’t anything about consequences.”
Murrieta Pastor Tim Thompson spoke to the crowd of protestors, calling Teen Talk sexuality indoctrination.
“You said, ‘We the people do not want this curriculum to be taught to our children,’ and what they said was, ‘We the government, inspired by a spirit of pedophilia, don’t care what you people want,’” he said. “The things that are promoted in this Teen Talk curriculum would tell your children, ‘How do you know you’re not homosexual? Just try it, you might be. Experiment with your friends.’
“This Teen Talk curriculum will tell your son that he can be a girl, or that your daughter could be a boy, regardless of what you, the parent, or common sense, or science, tells us.”
Another speaker, Dr. Paul Aijian, MD, an internal medicine specialist at Cottage Health, referred to the fight against Teen Talk as a “spiritual battle.”
“The result of Teen Talk programs ends up as mixed-up kids getting pregnant and having abortions,” he told the protestors. “Satan has a plan for America and it starts by corrupting children.”
Christy Lozano teaches physical education at McKinley and Cleveland Elementary Schools, and attended the Teen Talk protest.
“I do not support Teen Talk and I’m a teacher. I would have to teach it,” she told the News-Press. “It’s not sexual education. It is not about making an informed decision. It’s telling them who they should be, not educating them. I know it starts in seventh grade, but there’s no health teachers, so it falls on the physical educators.”
Brian Campbell is a father of two children in the school district, and is now running for the school board. He spoke to the crowd, saying Teen Talk does not teach children critical thinking skills.
“The schools aren’t teaching our kids how to think. They’re telling them what to think and what to do,” he said.
Charles Cole, Republican candidate for State Assembly, also attended the protest, calling for the protestors to “take back control of our state and what we believe in.”
Others participating in the protest included Caroline Abate, a candidate running for Goleta Union School District and Grace Wallace, a candidate for Goleta City Council, and both echoed the opposition of Teen Talk.
The event was organized by Janeth Mendoza and Barbara Batastini, who represent the coalition of parents and community members in opposition.
“We will not put up with this no more,” Ms. Batastini said to the crowd. “Teen Talk teaches our children to be sexualized and indoctrinates him.”
Ms. Mendoza echoed this, saying, “We are in a fight for our children.”
To learn more about Teen Talk, visit https://www.sbunified.org/2020/10/09/know-the-facts-about-santa-barbara-unified-school-district-chya-curriculum-teen-talk-middle-school/.