On May 16th, the North State Journal published the following op-ed by Mary Summa, NC Values General Counsel, entitled “Another Assault on Parental Rights and the Law”:

Unless things change quickly, a Planned Parenthood-style sex education program will be forced into a public middle or high school near you, compliments of the left-leaning cabal of bureaucrats at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI).

Over the past year, NCDPI oversaw the revisions of the North Carolina Essential Standards, including those standards that govern sex education. Standards set the goals and directives of what is to be taught in North Carolina schools and are revised only every 10 years. The third and final draft has been issued by NCDPI, and within the next month, the Standards will be up for final approval by the Democrat-controlled State Board of Education for final passage.

The big problem is the Draft of the Standards violates state law.

The long-standing N.C. law, enacted in 1995, requires that any instruction teach abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as an expected standard of behavior. The instruction must teach students how to remain or become abstinent, and the emotional and psychological adverse consequences of engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage.

Discussions about contraceptives must include honest information about failure rates among adolescents and that they merely reduce the risk, not eliminate it. Information about sexually transmitted diseases must include discussions about rates of infection of each STD among pre-teens and teens in North Carolina, the effects of contracting each STD, including the effects of contracting HPV, including sterility and cervical cancer. The program must include opportunities to involve parents in the curricula. The program must teach that a mutually faithful monogamous heterosexual relationship in the context of marriage is the best lifelong means of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

Draft 3 of the Standards ignores these requirements and, ultimately, will harm our children.

The objections to the draft standards were loud and clear.

Leading experts in the field have stated that the Standards violate state law. On Feb 6, 2024, Mary Anne Mosack, president and CEO of Ascend, a nationally recognized expert on sex education, sent a letter to State Superintendent Catherine Truitt objecting to the Standards. In her letter she wrote, “Of particular concern is the presentation of ‘risk avoidance’ and ‘risk reduction” approaches presented as equal options on a continuum of acceptable choices and outcomes. The mixed message of this conflation does more to normalize sexual activity among adolescents and teens than to normalize the delay of sexual activity until marriage, which accurately reflects the intent of North Carolina law.”

Dr. Stan Weed, a well-respected, nationally acclaimed expert and researcher on sex education and the director of the Institute for Research and Evaluation, wrote a similar letter to Truitt. He wrote, “Established North Carolina state law provides several important standards which are clearly undermined by the proposed revisions. For example, the proposed revisions omit the focus on parental consent and involvement, mentions abstinence as an option rather than a standard, soft pedal the failure rates of contraceptive methods … And introduces the concept of consent, with the implication that consent would thereby allow for underage, unmarried sexual activity. The draft language reveals a subtle but significant shift away from the original North Carolina law and guidelines and towards a so called “comprehensive sex education approach.”

According to Weed, putting ideology aside, comprehensive sex education programs for the past 20 years “were essentially ineffective.” In contrast, he states, “the evidence, though currently limited, appeared better for abstinence education programs.”

Lawmakers weighed in by letter and phone calls to Truitt expressing similar objections to the standards. Hundreds of N.C. citizens submitted public comments overwhelmingly supporting removal of the provisions that violate state law. Members of the staff at NC Values Coalition held two in-person meetings with Truitt and her staff, as well as several phone calls to discuss the deficits with the proposed standards. Truitt made assurances that the standards would be corrected to comply with the statute.

Yet here we sit nine months after the first objections were lodged with the same old bad standards that fail to meet the requirements of the statute. Unfortunately, the experts, the legislators and the citizens of North Carolina were ignored.

We hear so much these days about “the children.” If we are truly interested in the children, we will follow the law and teach them what is the best way to lead wholesome, healthy lives and stop the implementation of these Standards.

This travesty needs to be stopped for the sake of our young teenage daughters and sons sitting in public school classrooms all over North Carolina.

Mary Summa is general counsel for NC Values.