The Sacramento City Unified School District is investigating a middle school teacher’s decision to show sex ed students a pro-life group’s medical animation videos that depict what happens during abortion.
The videos, presented by pro-life organization Live Action and narrated by former abortionist-turned-pro-life activist Dr. Anthony Levatino, show animations of how abortions are performed during various stages of pregnancy. The middle school presentation also included a music video titled Can I Live? in which rapper Nick Cannon thanks his mother for not aborting him when she became pregnant as a teen.
A sample video is below:
According to the Sacramento Bee, Alex Barrios, a spokesman for the school district, said the videos are “completely inappropriate for the classroom” and fail to “meet the district’s approved family life and sexuality curriculum.” He added the district “will address this matter with the seriousness it demands.”
Parents of children who saw the videos complained to the district. They identified the teacher as Jenny Thomas, a science teacher tasked with teaching about family life and human sexuality. Parents reportedly described Thomas as a good teacher.
The district’s policies, reports the Bee, say family life and sex ed classes should “help students understand the biological, psychological, social, moral and ethical aspects of human sexuality and shall comply with the requirements of law and administrative regulation.” The report continues:
The district’s governing board “believes that students should have opportunities to discuss controversial issues which have political, social or economic significance and which the students are mature enough to investigate and address,” the policy reads. The curriculum should “help students learn how to gather and organize pertinent facts, discriminate between fact and fiction, draw intelligent conclusions and respect the opinions of others.”
Teachers should “exercise caution and discretion” in deciding whether a particular issue is suitable for study or discussion, the policy says. The governing board “expects teachers to ensure that all sides of a controversial issue are impartially presented.”
The school district states California law – the California Healthy Youth Act – requires “comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education be provided to students at least once in middle school and once in high school, starting in 7th grade.”
“Instruction must encourage students to communicate with parents, guardians or other trusted adults about human sexuality,” the district continues. “Instruction must be medically accurate, age‐appropriate and inclusive of all students.”
The following topics are required to be included in sex education:
- Information about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including transmission, FDA approved methods to prevent HIV and STIs, and treatment
- Information that abstinence is the only certain way to prevent unintended pregnancy and HIV and other STIs, and information about value of delaying sexual activity
- Discussion about social views of HIV and AIDS
- Information about accessing resources for sexual and reproductive health care
- Information about pregnancy, including FDA approved prevention methods, pregnancy outcomes, prenatal care, and the newborn safe surrender law
- Information about sexual orientation and gender, including the harm of negative gender stereotypes
- Information about healthy relationships and avoiding unhealthy behaviors and situations
The middle school grade seven curriculum provides for teachers to demonstrate how to use a male condom.
According to the Bee, one parent of a student who saw the videos said while abortion is a relevant topic to discuss in school, the videos were “biased, misleading and graphic” and should not have been part of the presentation.