SANTA ROSA, CA - Santa Rosa High School held a "Week of Diversity" on April 9-13 that included 82 presentations by outside speakers. Parents were told in a letter announcing the event that it was "essential to the exposure and understanding of important topics and teen issues not normally taught in our public school system." The letter listed the topics and speakers and permitted parents to opt their children out.
However, a controversial assembly entitled "Sex and Stuff" was not mentioned in the letter, and children who had been excused from the other presentations attended the assembly.
According to parent-witnesses, "Sex and Stuff" was a play presented by a group called the San Marin High School Peer Counselors. Parent Orlean Koehle, who attended many of the Diversity Week classes, said the play depicted "all the ills and sadness a high school student could ever experience, from sexual molestation to rape to unwanted pregnancy, HIV infection, anorexia, deaths from drunk driving, fights, and even suicide."
"Still worse," she continued, "were the vulgar, inappropriate sex scenes, beginning with a very suggestive dance followed by a scene where a bra, undies, and nylons are thrown from behind a sheet. Another scene, by virtue of sound effects, was suggestive of sexual intercourse taking place behind the sheet."
Although the play occasionally contained a redeeming statement or line, these were "surrounded by such filth that only the filth is likely to be remembered." Mrs. Koehle cited as an example the teaching of abstinence, which included recommendations for alternative sex acts.
Some parents were so outraged at the school's failure to notify them about the assembly that they contacted the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), which found the lack of notice in direct violation of California Education Code. "No school district can expect to directly undermine the rights of parents without being held accountable," said PJI attorney Brad Dacus. He added that his organization "is in the process of working with parents to assist them in recognizing their legal remedies in this matter."
Other 'Diversity Week' Presentations
After reviewing the agenda for the "Week of Diversity," some parents opted their children out and attended the presentations themselves. Orlean Koehle reports that at least half the classes were conducted by what she described as "an amazing lineup of leftist, radical, Marxist speakers who were assembled to address young, inexperienced, fertile minds - the best place to plant seeds of indoctrination." She offered the following observations about the presentations:
- Fourteen classes addressed gender, homophobia, and AIDS issues, all in support of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender philosophies that these life-styles are not a choice, but genetic, and that they are healthy and normal. A single 50-minute presentation was allowed in opposition to the gay agenda, while the week-long program included more than 20 hours of pro-homosexual indoctrination.
- Eleven classes espoused radical leftist ideology and causes, including anti-war indoctrination, support for Communist Cuba, support for guerrilla forces in Colombia, support for stopping "American Imperialism" through greedy capitalist corporations, support for social change to make America more like Cuba "where the government owns everything and gives it out equally to the people so there are no rich and no poor."
- Seventeen classes supported vegetarianism, animal rights and various environmental causes. Speakers from organizations such as Amnesty International and the Sierra Club encouraged students to change their diets and to become environmental activists.
- Five classes were devoted to police bashing. Students were shown a video depicting police brutality, and were regaled with alleged atrocities committed by the Santa Rosa police department. They were encouraged to support a group called the Purple Berets and the ACLU in setting up a Citizens Review Board to monitor the actions of the police. Most egregious was a class conducted by militants representing the Midnight Special Law Firm, who gave students a three-page handout with the opening, "Never trust the police," and taught them how to engage in civil disobedience.
- Two classes focused on making a "hate-free world." One of the presenters portrayed a person who expresses hatred as a believer in a "book" (which she reads every day and especially on Sunday) that gives her the right to hate and to put others down. While this presenter stated that her book contains the truth, other students shouted "There is no truth!" Everyone in the class knew what "book" the presenter was referring to, which made the Christian students feel as though they were being accused of prejudice.
Education Laws Violated
Mrs. Koehle and other parents who attended the Week of Diversity believe that, in addition to the unannounced assembly, which violated Education Code 51554(b) requiring written notification to parents prior to "instruction that involves presentations on sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, human sexuality, or family life delivered in an assembly," these California laws were also broken:
- Education Code 51553, which states that whenever sexual instruction is given in the public schools, abstinence must be stressed as "the only protection that is 100 percent effective against sexually transmitted diseases"; that factual information must be "medically accurate and objective"; that the failure rate of condoms must be presented; that "instruction shall stress that pupils should abstain from sexual intercourse until they are ready for marriage"; that "instruction shall teach honor and respect for monogamous heterosexual marriage"; and that "it is unlawful for males or females of any age to have sexual intercourse with males or females under the age of 18 years to whom they are not married."
- Education Code 51500, which states that "no teacher shall give instruction nor shall a school district sponsor any activity which reflects adversely upon persons because of their race, sex, color, creed, handicap, national origin, or ancestry." (The presentation on hate, where anyone who believes in "the book" was labeled as hateful, violated this law.)
- Education Code 60044, which forbids the use of instructional materials which contain "any matter reflecting adversely upon persons because of their race . . . or occupation." (This statute was violated by the anti-police instructional material.)