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Talking points: Clovis’ sex ed teachings subject of lawsuit


A few years ago, I wrote a column in The Bee about what I thought was a stuck-in-the-1950s policy regarding hair length at Clovis Unified. As you might imagine, the response I got to that column wasn’t exactly positive. I have to imagine the people who are upset about that column are probably upset about the latest Clovis Unified story that’s making national news. And, no, I’m not talking about that lip dub video.

On Tuesday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Clovis Unified on behalf of two parents who think the school district’s sex ed curriculum is outdated and doesn’t meet state guidelines. As you can imagine in our ever-polarized society, this story has created a lot of conflicting opinions. The story as been picked up by The Huffington Post, Salon, Fox News, the L.A. Times, Think Progress and others.

Think Progress gave it the most provocative spin:

Students in a Fresno County, California, school district are taught that HIV can be spread through kissing, and the right way to prevent STDs is by going out in groups with friends, getting plenty of rest, and practicing abstinence. Their “Lifetime Health” textbook, which Clovis Unified School District uses for its high school sex education curriculum, makes no mention of condoms or contraception.

Further, Salon, per the ACLU’s lawsuit, says Clovis Unified’s textbook “compares a woman who is not a virgin to a dirty shoe” and teaches that “men are unable to stop themselves once they become sexually aroused.”

In their defense, Clovis Unified’s spokeswoman Kelly Avants told The Bee that the suit is, “a question of differing interpretations of the depth and breadth of a school district’s obligation to cover detailed sexual content in its family life materials.”

Reaction on both sides of this has been as interesting as you’d expect.

One Think Progress commenter wrote:

I live in Fresno and the city seems to have gone back in time more and more each year. It’s a city filled with uneducated rednecks who just love their big ol’ trucks with their anti-Obama stickers. I sometimes feel as though I live in the deep south in the 1950′s!

Meanwhile, a Fresno Bee commenter said:

This sounds like a “gay rights” attack. Take a class in anatomy and physiology and then try to explain how sodomy is a healthy practice. It is unhealthy and unnatural, be it heterosexual or homosexual. Ask a doctor what happens when you get E.coli in your urethra. Maybe the registered nurse who is complaining can educate us. E. coli and the urethra. So sick of these “progressives” who want to sex-up and dumb-down kids.

Where do you stand on this one? With the upset parents? With the school district?

PREVIOUSLY: Is human sexuality at Fresno State too sexy?

Responses to "Talking points: Clovis’ sex ed teachings subject of lawsuit"

Mathew says:

As a former student of Clovis schools, I can tell you there is no sex education in any forms, not even in high school. 95% of ‘health’ class in 9th grade is about coping with stress and eating healthy–with no mention of safe sex and the word abstinence tossed in their a few times.

It’s time for CUSD, and the entire Central Valley for that matter, to move into the 21st century: schools have a duty to inform their students of the most basic measures of safe sex, to not do so violates the rights of the students.

Anon For This One says:

As for Clovis…..
Well, there you have it. They’d rather put their children in danger than to discuss something as taboo ( really??) as a condom.

Is it a parents job to discuss sex with their children? Why yes….but let’s jump into reality for a moment….

We have parents who don’t, who would rather pretend the sex organs don’t work as if by some kind of Akin approved magic till the day a couple is married.
We have parents who don’t care one way or the other.
We have parents that simply aren’t there…

We have parents who don’t even know where to begin..

And then we have kids…. kids who are teens…and the truth is some of them would much rather sit in a class with a text book to figure this out than have to sit face to face with mom or dad. And that’s OK IF they are getting proper information from those we are supposed to be able to trust to give it…it’s a difficult subject to delve into.

However when we’re faced with a school district that is playing the three little monkeys, we are setting so many kids up for failure….

Ask yourselves, The Clovis Collective, is the sacrifice of lives and futures due to lack of information really more important than your archaic ideas of societal acceptability? You would really rather sacrifice the well being of young people for some kind of saving of face and life endangering ideologies?

Now… into the comments….I am so sick of gay relationships only being discussed in the context of sex. It’s ignorant and telling of the homophobes who spew it.

How many of you are in a relationship based only on sex? Is that all your life with your partner is?


Guess what, same goes for those in homosexual relationships. They have relationships based on love, like, companionship….and all of those are no less important to their lives as it is to yours. To focus on what they do in the bedroom and have that be your podium is disgusting…on YOUR part.

I’m so sick of these regressives “conservatives” hiding in their little fear closets and spreading hate and misinformation…. let me rephrase that….spreading hate and lies.

How about you live the life Christ has commanded of you….and be a role model…
Last I checked Jesus was too busy healing the sick, feeding the poor, and caring for others to worry about what Chuck and Steve were doing.

derv says:

I personally think what this valley needs is MORE pregnant teenagers. Nothing makes me happier than driving to work and seeing a young “woman” at a bus stop giving her baby soda on the way to her babies daddy’s mom’s house.

Narsty says:

I went through 12 years of nazi training camp… I mean Clovis Unified School District. Nothing they do surprises me. They like to “sweep” any problems they have right under the mat that they have created. This is just another attempt of ignorance from that particular educational institution. If you want to really be appalled try attending classes there or talk to a counselor. Hell, I didn’t even know the gender of my principal until I shook her hand at graduation. This is a land where teachers have too many kids to remember your name, gay kids aren’t allowed to go to the dance with each other (one male, one female only!), dress code trumps learning and creativity & Males with ear rings are labeled “distracting and offensive”. Regardless their lackluster attempt at educating the youth should be the issue… oh wait it is.

ahmward says:

FUSD has a comprehensive sex education unit in its 9th grade health curriculum. No subject is taboo and speakers from public agencies are brought in to the classrooms. Parents must sign a form giving their consent for students to receive this curriculum and those with strong religious differences are given alternative studies.

BandHDad says:

In their defense, Clovis Unified’s spokeswoman Kelly Avants told The Bee that the suit is, “a question of differing interpretations of the depth and breadth of a school district’s obligation to cover detailed sexual content in its family life materials.”


“Depth and Breadth”?
What about the responsibility of the schools to provide thorough education in all subjects, including Human Biology/Sexuality? Did Todd Akin attend a Clovis school? Would Clovis Unified be proud today if he had? Let’s step into the 21st century, people. Please.

ams says:

I think parents need to stop complaining and take responsibility as parents. It should not be up to the state to educate children beyond the basics, especially with all the varying religious/cultural views and beliefs.

JJJJ says:

The valleys teenage pregnancy rate clearly shows that abstinence education is working wonders. WONDERS.

Schools are places to learn, thats the whole point. If sex is something between a child and his/her parent, then how about math? Geography? English? What’s the difference? The average parent isnt any more suited to teach about sex than they are to teach calculus.

Clovis kid says:

It seems like the only people that like Clovis unified are our parents who never attended. Why wouldn’t parents want submissive kids? Oh yeah, cuz they grow into submissive adults.