Today, I attended the State Board of Education general meeting with no intent to speak but to offer moral support for friends who are very passionate about the issue of sex education in the classroom. When I arrived, I was surprised by the number of people who had already signed up to speak to the issue of agenda item 5.A. regarding: Presentation, discussion, and possible action to open rulemaking procedures on R7-2-303 Sex Education.
By the time the meeting commenced at 9:00 a.m., there were already 70 speakers who had filled out requests to speak. This was going to be a long day.
Before the meeting could commence, the occupancy of the room had to be reduced due to exceeding the fire code maximum of 120 people. People were asked to fill one of two other areas where the meeting was to be live streamed. The meeting went as one could be expected until item 5.A. on the agenda came up and then all hell broke loose.
Senator Sylvia Allen, Representatives Walt Blackman and Kelly Townsend, former Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas and concerned parents from the four corners of the state showed up to make their voices heard and they were.
From the first speaker until the last, there were direct personal attacks, facts, figures, emotional pleas, and attempts at reasoning. This was mainly from the opposition to opening the rules which former Superintendent Diane Douglas pointed out current Superintendent Hoffman only permitted a letter from Senator Quezada and the organization GLESN provide input.
Furthermore, it was charged that Hoffman did not take any comments from the public nor other stakeholders.
Speaker after speaker were incensed with the idea of promoting the sexualization of K-12 students. Speakers referenced pedophilic activities disguised as “science based and medically accurate” conducted by the Kinsey institute in the 1950s. This continued through lunch and into the early afternoon. Only 5 speakers other than Hoffman spoke in favor of opening the rules. These included a couple of teachers and others who stood to directly gain from the changing of the curriculum.
Emotions ran high throughout the day and applause was at times raucous depending on the speaker’s message. Only one time was a speaker booed and the president of the board directed that all in attendance must maintain a certain level of decorum as all present were afforded the same right to speak.
After hearing the comments from other speakers, I realized that I could not, nor would I sit idly by without making my voice heard so that my granddaughters will never have to worry if I stood in the gap for them.
After approximately 3 hours of public comment and the final speaker had been given the opportunity to voice their concerns, it was obvious that Superintendent Hoffman was not swayed by the public comments as she laid out her rationale for bringing the agenda item up for discussion. When Mr. Ruiz, who attended telephonically, was asked about discussion, he explained his rejection of the presentation. He provided that sex education without the discussion of love was nothing more than biology.
Additionally, he addressed the issue that the legislature is the appropriate place for this issue to be argued and discussed with the final tweaks and massaging of rules done by the Department of Education. This led to another member affirming her negative position against the agenda item. Other members did not support the opening of the rulemaking and it was clear, the parents, teachers, and Hoffman’s colleagues were successful in rebuking her and ensuring the children of Arizona were protected from vile pedophilic sexualization.
From my position in the back of the board room, it appeared Superintendent Hoffman was not expecting the response and looked visibly disturbed. When pressed for a motion to consider a vote, Hoffman refused to even put one forward. The president of the board stated he did not want to see this issue come before the board again in the coming months.
The rulemaking will not open and the language of the current sex education rules will remain. Parents, grandparents, and ultimately our children won today.