Gov. Kitzhaber undermining rights of parents

Christine Bridgens_thb

by Christine Bridgens

Governor Kitzhaber has put himself in charge of Oregon’s Education System and Oregon’s healthcare network:  the Oregon Health Authority.  As a result of this double take-over, there is a Triple Threat to our children and their families. That threat includes the Network of School Based Health Centers (SBHCs); the grades K-12 Comprehensive Sexuality Education Standards that the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) promotes; and the Annual Adolescent Sexuality Conference in Seaside (ASC). And what makes this Triple Threat even more unreasonable is that the governor is using our money to pay for it!

One part of the Triple ThreatThe SBHCs are sold to communities as basic healthcare for children.  However, as SBHC advocates are working toward implementing a clinic within your school, and as their Grant-Funded (your money!) planning continues, parents and school supporters learn that this “basic healthcare” actually and must include the offering of contraception, abortifacients, abortion and other medical services touted as treatment for the sexual health of youth, and parents are not kept informed as their children are accessing these treatment(s).  If parents research the Oregon SBHC Standards for Certification, they will learn that HIPAA law and Minors’ Rights require that these treatments or referrals be part of a School Based Health Center.  SBHC advocates may tell communities that the clinic can be designed to reflect local values and not offer reproductive/contraception services.  THIS IS NOT THE TRUTH.  Advocates attempted this ploy in Clatsop County, but with months of persistence and research, parents and school supporters were able to expose the truth about the SBHC agenda, and were successful in stopping the implementation of a clinic in Astoria High School.

Another part of the Triple ThreatIn 2012, revisions to Oregon’s grades K-12 Human Sexuality Education Standards (OAR 581-022-1440) were initially passed by the ODE and hidden as a “consent item” at their meeting.  Brad Victor, ODE’s Sexuality Education Specialist at the time, bragged about being able to “Push the Envelope One More Time, Bingo Boom” with this consent process.  Mr. Victor also brags that Oregon’s Sex Ed. Is one of the “most progressive in the country”.  These comments were made at the Adolescent Sexuality Conference along with Ms. Monica Rodriquez’ comment that Oregon Sex Ed. “does not go far enough”!

This July, after adopting the extremely controversial curriculum deemed “ODE approved” in the Scappoose School District, one of the School Board members told parents who spoke strongly against the curriculum that, “You just have to trust the teachers”! But what if the curriculum itself is not trustworthy?

A third part of Gov. Kitzhaber’s Triple Threat to our children is the Annual Adolescent Sexuality Conference held in Seaside, OR.  This is a two (school) day event (next one already scheduled for April 7&8, 2014) in which students are encouraged to attend the conference, be “trained” in sexual behavior and choices, then return to their school to “educate their peers” and advocate for SBHCs.  The conference promotes the theme of “Empowering Youth” to make important decisions about their sexual behavior, and that they do not have to include their parents in these decisions!

Having attended the 2013 event, I can tell you that vendor displays included explicit images and “suggestions” and that the break-out/training sessions included subjects such as the fascination of Porn with discussions and materials which compromise the health and safety of the youth attending.  There is concern that some Oregon Revised Statutes may have been violated at this conference.  In one of the breakout sessions titled, “I Say Porn, You Say Porn”, sponsored by a youth empowerment group based in Eugene, YEPSA (Youth for the Education and Prevention of Sexual Assault), adults suggested that teen girls could safely send nude pictures of themselves as long as it was to their boyfriends and not to just everyone.  There have been recent cases in Florida and Montana in which teens have sent such pictures then, because of resulting harassment, have committed suicide.  There was even a case locally in Clatskanie in which a teen girl was severely harassed and physically bullied after sending such pictures.  This was a front page story in the Oregonian in August.  Those receiving these pictures are in possession of Child Porn.

I believe that if School Boards, School Administration/Staff and parents were actually asked to make the choice to spend millions of public dollars on SBHCs, Sexuality Education, and the Adolescent Sexuality Conference, or to spend those dollars on the Education which we expect and which our children need and deserve, that the choice would overwhelmingly be for the latter!  I also believe that Governor Kitzhaber’s Triple Threat is a glaring reason to strengthen Oregon’s Charter School law and the use of vouchers.

For more information, please visit the Parents’ Rights in Education web site.

Christine Bridgens is a lifelong resident of Clatsop County, Oregon, and she has been married for 45 years to her husband Bob. Christine is currently working with groups to provide accurate information and effective tools to support parents and school supporters concerned about sexuality education and programs in Oregon public schools.