The Clovis (California) Unified School District is at the center of a groundbreaking lawsuit that demands that it begin providing students with the sexual information the state has determined they need. The lawsuit, which focuses on the district’s sex education curriculum, contends that the district does not provide the required skills and information necessary to prepare students for responsible sexual activity as required by law. It also accuses the district of endangering the health of students by withholding state-mandated information on birth control and STD prevention.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is representing the plaintiffs, California law has required public schools to provide comprehensive, medically accurate sex education since 2003. According to an ACLU representative, state law mandates that teenagers be taught how to develop healthy relationships and that they be provided information on the benefits of delaying sex. However, they are also to be taught about contraception and STD prevention.
The lawsuit, which was brought by the American Academy of Pediatrics along with the Gay-Straight Alliance Network and parents, claims that the Clovis Unified School District ignores California law. It alleges the district’s program tells students only that even adults should never have sex outside of marriage, in spite of the fact that state law permits consensual sex for adults outside of marriage and does not allow people with some sexual orientations the option of marriage.
Clovis Unified School District has nearly 40,000 students and 40 schools and serves Fresno County. A district spokesperson attributed the concerns behind the lawsuit to a difference between the district’s interpretation of the law and the plaintiffs’ interpretation of it. However, spokesperson Kelly Avants did not argue with the suit’s depiction of the school’s sex education program or deny that the district’s sex education curriculum is built around a philosophy that says sex is acceptable only within marriage, claiming only that the district’s procedures for parent notification as described in the suit are not accurately described.