An emotionally charged Chino Valley school board meeting on Thursday ended with the majority voting to approve new sexual education curriculum materials for grades 7 through 12.
School board members Irene Hernandez, Christina Gagnier and Joe Schaffer voted for the curriculum which will be used starting this school year. Board president James Na and member Andrew Cruz voted no.
The materials had been recommended by a committee that included five community members selected by each of the five school board members.
Mr. Na and Mr. Cruz were largely supported by the attending audience in their opposition to adopting the material, which complies with the California Healthy Youth Act (AB 329) approved by the legislature in 2015.
The Act’s tenets include education on human development and sexuality, including education on pregnancy, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases.
The audience gave thunderous applause after each of the five public speakers who addressed the board spoke critically about legislation which they say promotes abortions and LGBTQ lifestyle.
Mrs. Hernandez was heckled by audience members when she said her role was to represent all students.
Some called out insults including “liar” when Mrs. Hernandez stated the district’s materials were not pornographic, causing Mr. Schaffer to shout to board president Na to call the meeting to order.
Mr. Schaffer also asked security to remove an audience member.
“There is very little to like about the California Healthy Youth Act,” said Gina Gleason, director of public policy at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, during public comments.
She asked that the district make sure parents understand that they can opt out of the sex education course.
Superintendent Norm Enfield said opt-out forms for parents are posted on the district website, chino.k12.ca.us.
Chino Hills parent Jennifer Zhao said she had reviewed the district’s new curriculum during the public review period and found it more conservative than what she believes other school districts are using.
She believes however that the law undermines the values of many Chinese parents who live within the district.
“There is a danger that I see in normalizing different sexual orientations that is harmful to children,” she said.
She said she was worried that teachers would provide students with resources listed in the high school curriculum material.
“Children give their trust to their teachers,” she said.
Mrs. Zhao voiced agreement with parent Michael Chu, also in attendance, when he said his concerns are that abortion, gender fluidity and divorce become normalized.
Mrs. Zhao and Mr. Chu are among about 485 parents from Chino Hills High, Ayala High and Canyon Hills Junior High who are signed up to receive information in Chinese from Informed Parents of California.
According to its website, the group is a statewide resource to informparents on critical issues that impact children’s educational well-being and the role of parents in education.
There are 34,673 members on its Facebook page.
Mr. Cruz and Mr. Na each took two turns speaking on the sex education curriculum before the vote.
Mr. Cruz told the packed school board and overflow audience watching from large screens outside the board room, “It’s good you don’t trust the system. The direction it’s going is straight to pedophilia.”
Mr. Na said the Act promotes abortion which leads to fewer children attending public schools.
Referring to an earlier presentation given by district staff on declining enrollment in the Chino Valley school district, Mr. Na said laws like this will drive parents away from the district and towards private schools and homeschool program.
Mrs. Gleason said Calvary Chapel Chino Hills is hosting speakers from around the state on the California Healthy Youth Act from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24.
The church is located at 4201 Eucalyptus Ave., Chino.