In a petition that has gathered more than a thousand signatures, an anonymous parent describes in forceful language the boundaries that many believe are being crossed by the Palo Alto Unified School District’s new curriculum on sexual education for 7th graders.

Parents rail against situations offered in the Health Connected curriculum that discuss underage drinking, explicit sexual acts, masturbation, non-heterosexual sex and adult situations concerning initiation of sex. The condemnations that have rung out from parents have coalesced into a movement to create a curriculum that is more age-appropriate.

According to Trinity Klein, Paly English teacher and parent of a PAUSD middle schooler and elementary schooler, “One of the scenarios that was excerpted for the petition was two girls having sex, and some families who might be less comfortable or accepting might find it uncomfortable, but I just see it as keeping it real.”

Our publication supports the idea of revising Health Connected’s curriculum to include fewer, less graphic scenes concerning underage sexual intercourse. Instead, more scenarios involving discussions of consent should be implemented. That being said, we support the same diversity in scenarios that is currently included in the curriculum, and would like to see more hypotheticals that show what a respectful relationship looks like, with more open discussions around how to deal with difficult issues. Furthermore, we ardently oppose any efforts to stifle proper sex education.

Verde respects the importance of having a thorough sex education curriculum that adequately prepares middle schoolers for the intricacies of the high school experience. We want more open, frank and direct discussions around what it means to be a healthy and flourishing teenager.