This has been one of the more confusing areas for figuring out the concerns expressed by certain candidates. After a lot of reading, I have figured out that it is because they are lying.
This should not have been a surprise. On a regular basis, someone from church (possibly but not definitely a current candidate) would raise a fuss about the new curriculum teaching kindergarten children how to masturbate or something like that.
It was always so clearly false that I didn't worry about it, assuming that the real issue was that the curriculum was not abstinence only, and that you were never told that masturbation would make you go blind.
For this topic, I am going to focus on Beaverton Schol District. I will mention that the Hillsboro School District candidates use a lot of the same phrasing, which I don't think is a coincidence.
It would be very easy to be flippant, and I don't want to do that. In fact, this is a very important topic.
It is also pretty easy to be educated on, because all of the information is on-line, and in the offices, and available at Back-to-School night.
I am grateful to the voters who used this material to try and pin down one of the candidates on her claim that schools were teaching sixth graders about oral sex. First she equivocated that it was actually fifth grade, but even the phrase that she included -- which is not in the material -- was pretty innocuous, in that in referring to penetration it mentions orally and anally, as well as vaginally.
The objection was that once a child knows that oral is a thing, they may start thinking about it and wanting to know more.
I think it is naive to think that fifth and sixth graders won't have previously heard that oral sex is a thing. It is a wide world out there with lots of different people and music and video clips and so many ways that it can come up.
This is what I want to be very clear: you want your children hearing about it from you or from teachers before they hear about it from friends.
I am going to divert a bit to one of the reasons behind how the curriculum is chosen:
“Erin’s Law” requires that all public schools in each state implement a prevention-oriented child sexual abuse program. That includes training the school personnel, who are mandatory reporters, but it also means giving students the tools to know if someone is doing something wrong to them, making sure they have the words to ask for help, and that there are people they can ask for help.
Yes, that means little children, who may need protection from their parents or grandparents. We don't like to think about it, but it happens.
It may also mean teenagers who might be assured that some things are just playing around, and normal making out, because after all you can't get pregnant from it, so is it even really sex? Because being told that oral and anal don't count is a thing.
I am all for chastity, but that is not for the schools to teach. That is for parents and church leaders, and you will have to do it by being able to explain the benefits, not by relying on ignorance and fear.
The ignorance and fear leaves children at risk for abuse.
I don't support anyone who supports that.
There are two other things that seem worth noting.
The anti-Comprehensive Sexuality Education candidates keep mentioning a "robust" opt-out. There are pretty clear and accommodating options for opting out, including some materials developed with BYU. I am pretty sure any way of making it more "robust" would become an obstacle for most students. I think it's disingenuous, and I am still not surprised.
The other thing that seems pretty clear, especially with the support of Oregon Family Council and Free Oregon, is that part of the objection to CSE is that it will not specifically stigmatize LGBT students. Beaverton and Hillsboro candidates have shown great skill at avoiding direct questions, but I do not trust them with queer students, just as their opposition to Critical Race Theory means I don't trust them with students of color, and some of their statements about programs means that I don't trust them with poor students.
Fortunately, they are not the only ones running.
For Beaverton School District, please vote for Susan Greenberg, Karen Pérez-Da Silva, and Sunita Garg. While I do not think it is fair to hold the endorsement of the others against LeeAnn Larsen, I voted for Ugonna Enyinnaya, but either of them should be fine. We are just lucky that whoever was recruiting for Beaverton missed Zone 5.
For Hillsboro School District, please vote for Erika Lopez, Mark Watson, Nancy Thomas, and Jaci Spross.
If you are in other districts, it can be pretty easy to know which candidates are which. Look for candidates against sex education and critical race theory, and for opening schools full time immediately, and actively vote against them.
And if you were just going to ignore school board elections, or know other people who were going to do so, please reconsider. This matters.
Ballots are due by May 18th.