Handful of parents assail Elk Grove Unified School District over sex education curriculum, urge book bans

Parent Charlotte Rieger made a bold claim about the intentions
of the Elk Grove Unified School District. | 

During a public comment session on non-agenda items that lasted over one hour and 15 minutes during the Elk Grove Unified School District Trustees meeting, a handful of parents continued to assail the district's sex education curriculum and sought the removal of books they classified as pornographic from school libraries.

Typical of the comment made about sex education and books they found unfavorable was Charlotte Reiger. In her remarks, Reiger made a bold accusation against the district. 

"This district is grooming our children," Rieger claimed. 

Reiger and other speakers who sought to ban books they deemed pornographic and opposing sex education said they were not members of the Florida-based Moms For Liberty. Those speakers responded to a comment from a parent named Gandy, who opposed book bans and supported the sex education curriculum.

During her call, Gandy noted many of the books being targeted at this and other EGUSD Trustee meetings were highlighted by the Florida group.

"Several of the people who have spoke have been Facebook associated with Moms For Liberty, they seem to be following the blueprint laid out by this organization," Gandy said. "This organization was founded in Florida in 2021, and their agenda is to change school curriculums."

Gandy said their strategy is to target books by the authors like the late Toni Morrison and proceeds to topics like LGBTQ rights and critical race theory. She said the group does under the umbrella of parental rights. 

"I do feel this is an extremist group, they have a lot of information online," Gandy said. "One of the things they have come out against is the teaching of Galileo, the astronomer, who first determined the earth revolved around the sun and not vice-versa." 

She added the group says Galileo's teachings "show the earth in a bad light, and there should be a counter praise of the church."

During the comment on non-agenda items, there were about a half dozen comments about book bans and sex education. They were about evenly split on each side of the two issues.

The EGUSD sex education curriculum stake a stepped approach starting in fifth grade with 11 classes. Additional education is provided in seventh grade with 10 lessons and then 17 lessons during high school. 

Parents can opt their children out, but the district FAQ page says, "It should be noted that some topics are integrated throughout the curriculum and not isolated to a single lesson." Trustees approved the curriculum by a 4 - 2 vote during a special March 21 meeting. 

As Gandy closed her comments, she added, "I would [rather] trust someone with a library science degree to be able to determine the books in my child's school than someone from an extremist group." 

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