American Academy of Pediatrics et al. v. Clovis Unified School District

September 10, 2012

Two parents and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network join the AAP in a suit against Clovis Unified School District over abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education in the district’s high schools. The lawsuit charges that the district is violating California law and putting teens’ health at risk by giving students misinformation and denying them critical instruction about condoms and contraception.

This lawsuit is the first of its kind in California since the passage of the state’s 2003 law requiring that sexual health education in public schools be comprehensive, medically accurate, science-based, and bias-free. Comprehensive sex education includes instruction about condoms and contraception, as well as delaying sexual activity. Currently, Clovis Unified uses a textbook that fails to mention condoms, and a curriculum that teaches people to avoid sexual activity until they are married. Additional materials compare a woman who is not a virgin to a dirty shoe and suggest that men are unable to stop themselves once they become sexually aroused.

A 2011 report by the University of California San Francisco showed that although California's public schools have made great strides in the quality of sexuality education and HIV/AIDS prevention, many districts still fail to provide students with the complete, accurate information that they need and that the law requires.

The plaintiffs in this case are represented by the ACLU, the ACLU of Northern California, the ACLU of Southern California, and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. They are seeking a declaration that Clovis Unified’s high school HIV/AIDS prevention and sex ed curriculum violates the 2003 law, as well as an injunction prohibiting the District from continuing to use this, or any other, noncompliant curriculum. They are also asking that the District’s unlawful parental consent requirement be abolished.

Status: Complaint filed on August 21, 2012.

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