10/1/2012 4:01:00 PM Parents organize against sex ed in schools
Catholic Sentinel photo by Jo Garcia-Cobb
Doug Muravez, a member of St. Joseph Church in Salem, calls for volunteers to help fight Planned Parenthood instruction in schools.
A father’s battle against Planned Parenthood instruction at North Salem High School has gathered support towards organized action in confronting school board and elected officials about hiring the nation’s largest abortion provider to teach comprehensive sex education classes in public schools.
A group of nearly 80 people from various school districts, including Salem-Keizer, Portland, Beaverton, Canby, Tigard-Tualatin, and Mount Angel attended the meeting held Aug. 28 at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Salem. The meeting was spearheaded by Doug Muravez and other concerned citizens.
Father Todd Molinari, pastor, was asked to preside over the meeting, whose objectives included discussion of Planned Parenthood’s comprehensive sex-ed curriculum and its impact on children and families, parental rights, resources for parents and guardians, and a call for volunteers.
Muravez, father of eight, has been battling Planned Parenthood instruction in the Salem-Keizer school district since November of last year. He began investigating the school district’s involvement with the women's health and abortion provider after he learned that the organization was teaching classes at his child’s school, North Salem High.
Muravez met with school officials and discovered what he calls “disturbing facts.” He listed his findings in a letter to Superintendent Sandy Husk, questioning why the school district adopted the Planned Parenthood program, based only on Planned Parenthood data, without looking into alternatives. He also asked why he was told that Planned Parenthood was not teaching in the school when in fact it was.
Muravez pointed out that district rules and state regulations were being violated. He cited a rule requiring that both sides of a controversial issue must be presented.
Concurrently, Muravez submitted documentation to the school district that had direct quotes from Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, stating still undenied claims of the organization’s alleged racist-eugenicist agenda. “There is no indication that the school district has complied with the rule to present an opposing viewpoint,” Muravez said.
He also said that the district would be in violation of a rule holding that parents "have an opportunity to be full partners in their child’s education."
Muravez noted that Planned Parenthood has a record of parental notification violations and has sued some states in an attempt to overturn existing parental notification laws. Muravez’s request for a formal hearing with the school board was denied. He then distributed letters to fellow parishioners at St. Joseph Church seeking help to “save North Salem High School from Planned Parenthood.” About two dozen community members pushed for a hearing, but only three out of the required four board members agreed.
The school district agreed to pull Planned Parenthood instructors when faced with public opposition. The district, however, broke its agreement two months later, and signed a new contract with Planned Parenthood.
Muravez’s story was carried by print and broadcast media and gained the attention of concerned citizens, some of whom have been fighting a similar battle in their respective school districts.
“Parents should know what Planned Parenthood is all about by looking up its Columbia-Willamette website for teens, www.takecaredownthere.org, which shows children in various sexual scenarios, and American Life League’s video Hooking Kids on Sex," says Bill Diss, school teacher and founder of the non-profit Precious Children of Portland. "It’s disgusting, but this is what the kids are being taught.”
Lori Porter, school teacher and co-founder of Parents’ Rights in Education, said: “Despite different religious or even political opinions, addressing the core issue of parents’ rights can help keep individuals united in their purpose. Most parents, for example, do not want their minor child to be given a vaginal exam or hormonal birth control without their knowledge.”
Porter told those at the meeting that they should "make noise in a respectful but persistent way." School districts, school boards, superintendents, and administrators, she explained, don't want to be burdened with negative media attention or legal matters.
"If the curriculum they are using, including outside resources and links, infringes on the rights of the parent-children relationship, then they are overstepping their role in serving the people of the community and need to be held accountable,” Porter said.
Opponents to Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the Salem-Keizer School District have a website: www.salemschoolwatch.com.