On Monday evening, October 28, 2019, the Battle Ground School Board held a regularly scheduled meeting at which the 2nd reading of the proposed CSE was being voted on. The Battle Ground School District/Board requires that before any new or changes to curriculum occur that two “readings” need to be done. During the 1st reading the details are provided and questions asked. The public can comment during “citizen communications” sessions. If the Board Directors majority votes Yes the 2nd reading is held at the next scheduled meeting. If the Board majority votes Yes at the 2nd reading the curriculum is adopted.
On October 14th, following citizen comments and the 1st reading of the CSE the Board members voted 4 Yes 1 No to approve the curriculum. Following that vote members of the public increased their efforts to contact the Board members who voted Yes to share information and views. Only the Directors know who contacted them and in what ways but the perception was that it was heavy and intense. There’s no way to know who said what or provided what materials. Except…we provided some data and facts to each of the Board members which we would like to share with you in this article. We have no idea whether these had an impact or not.
So, without further delay here are the materials we shared for your reading/information pleasure:
1st we reviewed the proposed curriculum and wrote a report (12 pages) that got into detail about materials and shared the good and bad: 2019 BGSD Sexual Health Curriculum review Sept 2019
2nd we wrote a 1 page summary of the 12 page document: BGSD 2019 HS Sex Health Curriculum Review – 1 page summary – Dick Rylander
3rd we were made aware of data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that reviewed HIV and STD rates. Specifically Washington State “mandated” sex ed covering HIV and STDs starting in 2007. The CDC data from 2007 – 2017 (most recent) shows that HIV rates had declined. However, the STD rates have increased dramatically. This suggests that the education mandate and teachings are failing. In this link you can choose the State; type of disease and even break it down by county if you choose. Looking at the failure we argued that adding gender and related teaching on top made no sense. https://gis.cdc.gov/GRASP/NCHHSTPAtlas/charts.html?c=14357 https://gis.cdc.gov/GRASP/NCHHSTPAtlas/tables.html
4th we had heard that “bullying” of gender “fluid” students was an issue. So, we went looking for data to define the nature of the size of the issue. We found 2 major studies in the past 3 years that defined bullying, broke it down into types of bullying and applied percents to each bullied group. We put that in a 3 page document and shared with each Board Director. What did the studies show? One said that 20% of students are bullied at some point in time. The other study said 25% of students were bullied. Then they broke down the percent of students who were bullied were bullied due to gender issues. The data say that ~15% of those bullied were gender perception related. So 15% of 25%. When you break that down the numbers are small. We commented that the real impact (to be clear bullying is not something that should be tolerated for any reason) was so small it made no sense to usurp Sex Ed teaching to address bullying for gender fluid students. Here’s what we emailed each Director: Gender_lgbtq_bullying_sex_ed_curriculum_Oct_24_2019
5th we learned that the OSPI (Office of Superintendent of Public Instructions) Sex Ed Survey results were being released and got a copy of the summary which we share with the Directors via email. What were the takeaways? 10,000 people responded from across the state and 58% of them said that they did NOT want the gender materials added to the CSE. Here is the pre-release summary: OSPI CSE Survey Result Snapshot
6th we sent a summary of everything we sent so they had a snapshot in one document: BGSD_CSE_Lt_to_Board_of_Directors_Oct_2019
Finally (for now) there is a report that was issued in 2019 that looks at CSE data and finds that results don’t match the goals: USReport053119 This report is 32 pages and the file is large
A LOT of people were involved. Church groups, parent groups, individuals and legislators….literally hundreds of people came together to organize and comment. They were respectful and articulate and tolerant. Most have no issues with the biology of sex and teaching. Most concerns centered around delving into issues they believe are better suited to being done at home by parents and not having the education being used to promote philosophical fringe views. Most also objected to the use of the FLASH curriculum. These people and groups shared information, ideas, questions and views from scientific and religious view points. Somewhere along the way there was enough effort and energy to impact the vote. This shows the power of people taking a stand. Don’t stop!
The State Superintendent of Schools (Chris Reykdal) is pushing for a CSE (Comprehensive Sex Ed) curriculum which would force the teaching of gender starting in Kindergarten. In the last legislative session a bill to mandate teaching their views of the world was stalled when thousands of parents showed up to object. However…it’s again on the agenda to be introduced again. They are hell bent on forcing sex ed to be taught the way they want it and damn what the parents want. If you are serious about fighting this you need to be vigilant and join groups that will held your voices to be heard.