A parents’ right to have their child excused from classroom sexual health education lessons should not be limited by a school district’s misinterpretation of the California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA).

Why do we say “misinterpretation”? Based on the fact that some school districts acknowledge the right to opt-out of CHYA, while others allow a limited opt-out, and still others have refused to provide any opt-out for at all for students. While confusion among the school districts abounds, there is a simple solution. It’s to use a well-established student opt-out provided in California Education Code established in 2004.

The California Healthy Youth Act (AB 329) is part of “health” education. Herein enters EC 51240, the provision of law that frees students from health instruction that conflicts with a family’s religious or personal moral conviction! This includes gender roles and sexual orientation lessons in the context of health education.

In addition, Section 51938 of the Education Code protects the right of parents “to excuse their child from all or part of comprehensive sex education, HIV prevention education, and assessments related to that education.” Parents can excuse their child by submitting “their request in writing to the school district.”

Finally, under a federal law known as the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (20 U.S. Code § 1232h), schools must allow parents to opt their child out of any surveys that ask questions regarding the following topics: 

1. Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent.2. Mental or psychological problems of the student or the student’s family.3. Sex behavior or attitudes.4. Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior.5. Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships.6. Legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers.7. Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent.8. Income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program). 

There is Help for Parents!

“School districts are bound by state law to teach the California Healthy Youth Act, but students are not bound to government “health” sex education thanks to California Education Code 51240,” says Real Impact’s Gina Gleason.

“We are encouraging parents from across California to join the movement to excuse their child from adult-themed sexual health education and surveys."

Take the steps to opt-out your child today!

Download the opt-out form and read the Alliance Defending Freedom legal letter.

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