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School Board Yanks Sex Ed Book Over Explicit Language

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Fremont Unified School District is receiving backlash from hundreds of parents who are up in arms over a sex education book they say is too explicit and sexy for their students. Cheryl Hurd reports. (Published Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014)

    Faced with a growing backlash from hundreds of parents up in arms over a sex education book they say is too explicit, a Northern California school board has agreed to hold off on allowing the students to read passages some parents say exposes them to "sexual games, sexual fantasies and sexual bondage."

    At a Fremont Unified School District board meeting Wednesday, trustees voted 3-2 to work with Publisher McGraw-Hill to revise the controversial book, "Your Health Today," that was slated to be 9th grade reading material this coming school year.

    District employees must report on those change to the board in January. Meanwhile, Fremont students will use the district's old health book instead, which is ten years old.

    More than 2,000 parents signed an online petition describing their gripes with the book, noting that the material was not "age appropriate," as its pages apparently discuss "sexual bondage with handcuffs, ropes, and blindfolds, sexual toys and vibrator devices."

    NBC Bay Area has not reviewed the book in question.

    But Slate reports that some of the sexual topics are described "in the most boring prose imaginable."  To explain sexual bondage, for example, the next passage reads: "Most sex games are safe and harmless, but partners need to openly discuss and agree beforehand on what they are comfortable doing." Students are also cautioned to only do "what they are comfortable doing."

    The book touts itself as being "truly inclusive and socially responsible." Its authors are doctors and PhDs from UC Davis, SUNY Buffalo and the University of Northern Colorado.

    Other chapters include information on nutrition, fitness, stress and body weight. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the book is being used in a handful of Texas districts, but none in California.

    Parents came out at the board meeting to make sure their voices were heard, loud and clear.

    "I don't trust you as board members, I don't. I do not trust you with my child," Parent Jim Schultz told the board. "I'm sorry, I cannot see anything that a child needs to know in ninth grade about bondage. What are you teaching them?"

    In an interview earlier this month, School Supt. Jim Morris said the teachers reviewed several books and chose "Your Health Today" out of several choices. “The teachers really said ‘what’s the best up-to-date material,’ and this was their recommendation – and I supported that recommendation,” he said.

    But not everyone agrees the book should be removed from the lesson plan - it was a decision trustees first made in June. Some parents support their children opening up their eyes to what's going on around them.

    "If you listen to popular music, if you read popular books, if you see popular movies -- none of the content in the book contains anything our kids haven't already been exposed to," parent Dianne Jones said.

    NBC Bay Area's Marianne Favro contributed to this report.