School is one the places parents trust to build their child’s character and prepare them to be the outstanding citizens of tomorrow. However, what children are being exposed to in public school these days does not align with Catholic teachings and values. Since it became law in 2016, The California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA) has transformed sex education in public school districts across the state. Public school students are learning about gender identity concepts and how to use contraceptives.

Under state law, public school districts are individually deciding which curriculum to use. Some are relying on outside organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, to educate junior high or high school students about safe sex practices. Teachers are using diagrams of The Gender Unicorn or The Gingerbread Person to teach gender identity, expression and physical attraction. Others are using illustrated books to teach children that it’s okay to identify as a different gender or as non-binary. Parents are given the option to opt their children out of these lessons, but students can still be exposed to the materials in other ways.

The Orange Unified School District is the latest Southern California public school district to approve a transgender notification policy. It will require school staff to notify parents if their child starts to identify as transgender or gender non-con-forming. However, these policies have sparked a debate over a student’s safety and privacy versus a parent’s right to know. A San Bernardino County superior court judge issued a temporary restraining order against the Chino Valley Unified School District—blocking it from implementing the policy citing the potential threat to children outweighs parental rights.

One of the best ways to protect children from exposure to these curricula and secular lifestyle choices is to provide them with a Catholic education. Students who attend Catholic school in the Diocese of Orange learn a lot more than just reading and math. Being in a faith-filled environment helps them create a personal relationship with God, develop godly character, understand how to make virtuous decisions in challenging situations, and become the outstanding citizens of tomorrow.

Not every child has an equal opportunity to receive a Catholic education, but tuition assistance and scholarships can change their story. The Orange Catholic Foundation can help you sponsor a student and protect them from public school curricula that could endanger their faith and tarnish their character. If you are interested in providing a faith-filled and morally safe education to a future saint, please call (714) 282-3021 or email [email protected].

If you or a loved one has children currently attending a public school, The California Catholic Conference Education Committee is providing families with more information about the CHYA and suggesting parents ask their child’s public school or district questions: https://www.cacatholic.org/policies-issues/education/what-you-need-know-about-ca-healthy-youth-act.