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Friday, April 23, 2004



1st let me say thanks for the links, and thanks for the interesting round up of opinions on this issue.

I envy you being able to find them all when my Googling only got me Shelli, and the Prof., and a messaage board type site :-)

Now to correct an impression your readers may get if they do not actually go and read my pieces:

You misquote me when you say that I don't think sex ed should be in schools.

MY EXACT WORDS WERE: ( CAPS added below for this comment only )

"This is a Kindergarden thru 8th grade, only, school district, people, and my questions, silly though they may be, continue to be:

What the hell do 5 to 12 year olds know about their sexual identity?


Why does the state law have to affect funding for a school district, on this issue, anyway?

Granted, kids entering puberty, at around age 13 and 14, will start exploring their sexual feelings, and identity, and THERE IS A NEED FOR SEX EDUCATION IN OUR HIGH SCHOOLS, but punishing the students of a district because of the actions of adult leaders, is ridiculous.

The students don't care about this, they want to learn. It is the adults, and only certain adults, pushing an agenda unpopular with a silent ( though getting more vocal by the day ) majority in society who are making waves, and are pissed off because 3 people are sticking by the courage of their convictions to defy the law, and take baby steps toward getting people to think about re-defining it."

I DO believe that parents should handle the sex ed of the pre-teens. High School is soon enough for our public education system to tell kids the stuff Ma & Pa either haven't got around to yet, or are too embarrassed, or something, to have gotten around to yet. :-)

I don't know about you, but I didn't waste any time from kindergarden thru 6th grade worrying about my sexuality. :-)

It was a well established fact that you could get cooties from kissing girls, anyway, so that put any kabosh on exploration of that sort don't ya know. :-)

See, I'm not the right-wing troglodite you make me appear to be. :-)

I'm actually an ex-Liberal who is moving further right every day because of the increasing outrageousness of the left, expecially the far left.

From what I've read, earlier this week, the state has accepted the Westminster version of the statute, and won't be refusing them funds.

Smart move. :-)

Now that I've got a day off I'll be able to catch up, and will be including your post in my run down of new developments tomorrow.


How odd, Kiril, isn't the average age of first menstruation for girls 12 years old? AVERAGE. Do you not remember the girls who had breasts in 3rd, 4th, 5th, grade? I do.

Looking as I do, I have had rather young children ask me questions about sexuality. "Do gay people have a hard time? Because I think I might grow up to be." (this from an 11 year old) "Why does sex hurt?" (I won't even say how young this one was.) Do you even consider for a second the number of kids who DO have sexual experiences very early?

I think they need balanced information, as balanced and basic as it can get, as early as possible.

Why should genitals, puberty, and sex be some sort of giant different area of knowledge than all other knowledge, so that it is "obviously" deserving of censorship in public education?

Why am I even bothering to type this - It's as if there's no way at all for me to break through the wall of absolutely different versions of reality between you and me, Kiril... What planet are you from? What alternate universe? Conversation seems impossible sometimes.


Kiril sounds like he is reasoning from principle without the benefit of experience (being a parent or being a homosexual or being a homosexual parent). Badgerbag is a parent and apparently has an androgynous appearance. I'm a straight mom with gay friends and relatives.

I think the best education about sexuality and decisionmaking starts early with age-appropriate information in k-4, and gets more detailed in middle school.

Kiril, I am recalling a conversation with a dear friend who is gay. He knew he wasn't like the other boys in KINDERGARTEN. (This was back in the dark ages of the early 1950s, when the only image of gay men was swish.) I have another friend who is a male -to-female transsexual (also born during the dark ages, 1940s) who knew from a very early age--4 or 5, she says--that a terrible mistake had happened.

We all reason from our experience, I suppose. One of the wonderful things about the modern era is that people with unusual experiences--such as being gay--can find each other over long distances. Another wonderful thing is that the number of individual, unique voices that a person can find and listen to.


I forgot. Here is a good article on effective sex ed, from UCSF Aids prevention:



I went to an all white shool in claremont california, in the late 60's, and then went to most african-american populated schools from 4th grade on.

I do NOT ever recall seeing kids younger than 13 with breasts, even among the black girls.

Maybe they have evolved since to where this occurs more often, I don't know. :-)

I don't doubt there is some simple info that can be taught in elementary schools, but the amount, and detail of info many think should be there is just not appropriate, and should be left to parents to decide when to impart.

I understand YOUR concerns, but there is an appropriate way to go about "educating" our young, and there is a wrong way, and treating 3rd graders as if they need to know adult information is inappropriate.

Some say the Left Coast IS another planet, or alternate universe ya know. :-)


Thanks for being a reasonable voice. :-)

I agree about age appropriate information, but forcing it upon kids without a parents knowledge or written consent is wrong, in my view.

A parent who decides to opt out of letting the child know this info before the parent thinks they should should not be vilified as being out of touch with modern culture.

I don't doubt the horror stories Gays have about growing up, and I know from the experience of knowing some Gays the things some were once forced to do to keep their preference hidden so as to protect their careers, but still, great care must be taken with the education of the young in schools, it's as simple as that.

I'm going to take a look at that article you link to. :-)


I forgot to mention earlier that I think the reason that folks are concerned is NOT that they are against protecting against discrimination, but that they are concerned about the sex ed knowledge imparted to their kids in the interest of this protection, and the notions put into the heads of impressionable children in the process.

Adult educators, in k-8 should have various discrimination protections. No question.

So should children, but how you go about doing so without incurring the wrath of concerned parents, or harming the children is of concern.

I especially have issues with this idea of "perceived" sexuality.

If your biology is such that your mental perception doesn't match your "equipment" that is one thing, but if that is NOT the case then that's a whole other can of worms.

I hope this makes sense.


I found this somewhere else, but it perfectly describes the thought processes of Judy Ahrens.

Often such posturing begins with an actual incident, which then becomes a narrative of persecution. The problem comes about when isolated acts become the basis for litanies of persecution. Righteous anger gives way to cheap attempts to find shortcuts to the moral high ground.

The speaker's new-found role as heroic victim eclipses the substance (or lack thereof) in the actual speech. As a result, substantive conversation is lost, replaced by name calling and self-righteousness.


Here is some news on Judy Ahrens, from Louise, who

A friend of mine from orange called me to let me know about she was at the Orange Federated Republic of  Women were Judy was the key note speaker. Just let Judy talk and she helps our recall.

Judy lied, she told them how the classroom needs to go back to the days of Norman Rockwell. She spoke against preschool, SDC* classes,(she said it was a waste of money) free and reduced hot lunches.

She cried as she told them she was being recalled how misunderstood she was. She told them she would save our schools from the horrible teachings they have now. She would tell us how to teach about Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

She thinks preschool is a conspirasery put together by working parents. She told them that all students should sit in straight rows and not in the groups that she observed from her tours.

She shared that one classroom was not patriotic enough because she saw a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. on the wall.
She didn'nt understand why her neigbors want to recall her.

This is scary. She was actually invited to speak at this group. The group was mostly older women.

This is just one more HUGE reason to get those signatures. If we don't recall her the damage she will do will be amazing.

*SDC=special day class. These are mandated by the state and the federal government; the classes address the needs of communicatively-handicapped children. Typically, SDCs are small and use up a lot of resources, as the kids are high-need.

Language-handicapped children may display a variety of difficulties. They may simply be children who are developing language more slowly. They may have difficulty understanding and/or processing language. Some have difficulty expressing themselves through language. Usually these problems overlap each other since each of these areas affects the others.


This is an article from the LA Times on the recall effort.

June 1, 2004,1,678360.story”>,1,678360.story

Mobilizing for Recall in Westminster

By Joel Rubin, Times Staff Writer

A group of Westminster mothers and teachers, eager foot soldiers in the grass-roots battle to recall school district trustees Judy Ahrens and Blossie Marquez-Woodcock, clustered around Mary Mangold's kitchen counter.

Pushing aside a plate of homemade frosted cookies, they pored over computerized lists of registered voters, consulted neighborhood maps and talked strategy for getting at least 7,200 voters to sign petitions to put the recall on the November ballot.As the women grabbed their clipboards, Mangold, who lives just a block away from Ahrens, warned that, on these streets, some doors were sure to be shut in their faces.

"I've sold Girl Scout cookies in this neighborhood for four years," Lisa Mathews said confidently. "People will open their doors for me."

Tensions are still simmering in the Westminster School District, weeks after resolution of a political ruckus. The turmoil began when Ahrens, Marquez-Woodcock and trustee Helena Rutkowski, citing religious beliefs, took a stand against the gender language in a state antidiscrimination law — a move that threatened to cost the district millions of dollars in state funding.

Trustees eventually adopted antidiscrimination language acceptable to the state, but parents and teachers are still pursuing a recall of Ahrens and Marquez-Woodcock. (Rutkowski, whose term expires in November, is not targeted.)

Recall proponents say it's not a one-issue campaign over the so-called gender debate, but reflects a list of complaints they have with the trustees' voting patterns.

In fact, they are downplaying the saga that erupted over the gender law and which left the small, usually tranquil, Orange County district reeling.

They acknowledge that the fight over the gender law polarized the community, with some voters rallying to the trustees' support. So opponents say their best chance of maintaining momentum against the trustees is in portraying them as out of touch with the community — a claim Ahrens and Marquez-Woodcock vigorously deny.

"The gender issue was such an emotional one for people, and we're not going to change anyone's mind on it," said Louise MacIntyre, a parent and special education caseworker for the district who is heading the recall effort. "It brought all this to the surface, but it has come and gone. The issue now is: What are they going to be voting on in the future?"

The recall push was triggered after the three trustees, who form a majority of the five-member board, rejected the wording of the state law, which is meant to protect gays, transsexuals and others who do not conform to traditional gender roles. The law, they said, offended their Christian beliefs by allowing people to define their gender.

State schools chief Jack O'Connell threatened to withhold millions of dollars in funding if the district did not conform, prompting many in the community to assail the three for placing their personal beliefs above their duty to uphold state law. Normally mundane district meetings erupted into heated, standing-room-only affairs at which trustees arrived under police escort. As a state-imposed deadline expired, the three trustees amended the district discrimination policy enough to adhere to the law, while including additional language that made their objections clear.

Ahrens is the primary target in the recall crosshairs, as organizers hope to convince voters she has a history of casting controversial votes since being elected by a narrow margin in 2000.

Instead of talking about gender discrimination, Mangold and about 100 other recall activists are armed with transcripts from meetings at which Ahrens voted against funding for preschools and a state grant for more computers in classrooms.

Ahrens declined to be interviewed, but defended her voting record in a written response, saying it was "in alignment with the philosophy I campaigned on" to be elected. On a website from her campaign, Ahrens promised to fight the "anti-family" gender law.

Marquez-Woodcock is a target, MacIntyre said, because of her alliance with Ahrens and Rutkowski. "She's never had a strong opinion of her own," MacIntyre said. "She used to look to others, and now she is looking to [Ahrens and Rutkowski]…. What issue will come up next that she'll hold the same disdain and contempt for the public?"

Marquez-Woodcock dismissed such criticism. "We had an issue that we all stood together on because of what we believe," she said. "But I may not vote with them in the future."

The recall strategy resonated with Doris Hunter, a district employee who signed the petitions that volunteers were circulating outside an elementary school last week. Hunter said she agrees with the moral position of the three trustees, but felt the recall was about larger issues.

"I really tried to stay away from taking a side on this," she said as she signed her name to a petition. "A lot of what they said makes sense, but I'm convinced they've gone too far."

Unlike Ahrens, Marquez-Woodcock said that even though the gender-law fight has subsided, she is not surprised that parents and teachers are still pushing for their ouster. "We have a lynch mob. When people do not get what they want, they get ugly," she said. "We should really move on, but they won't allow it."

MacIntyre estimated that, after two weeks on the streets, parents, teachers and district administrators had collected about 2,000 of the 7,200 signatures needed by June 14 to qualify the recall for a Nov. 2 vote. If the deadline is missed, recall proponents could still hope to qualify for a special election.

Of the estimated 100 recall attempts over 18 years in the county, fewer than a dozen have reached the ballot, said Suzanne Slupsky, Orange County's assistant registrar of voters.

"There is always an enormous amount of passion at the beginning, because people are angry," she said. "But then they go out for signatures and lose momentum. They don't understand what a huge undertaking it is."

It is a huge deal. I'd be recalling Ahrens, not for the lawyer hire (apparent Brown Act violation) or the stance on the law, but for her violation of her oath of office and her stance on special ed being "a waste of taxpayers' money". OUT!


Well, the "embattled three"--lead by Judy Ahrens (she of the AA degree which qualifies her HOW to be a school board trustee) are hauling in the big guns from out of town.

I've added emphasis:

June 4, 2004 By Joel Rubin, Times Staff Writer

Trustee Rally: No Bullhorn Required
Though smaller than billed, the show of support for Westminster's board majority is 'really good,' a targeted trustee says.

After enduring a months-long barrage of anger and insult from parents and teachers, three beleaguered Westminster school trustees finally got some belated support for their stand against a state antidiscrimination law Thursday night.

About 30 people — rally organizers had predicted more than 100 — turned out at the Westminster School District offices. Carrying yellow signs that echoed their chants of "Protect our kids, no recall," they milled on the sidewalk before gathering to listen to an array of speakers, many of them from outside the district, including Ezola Foster, who was Pat Buchanan's running mate in the 2000 presidential election.

"These three ladies were so courageous to stand their ground and speak for all the people who agree with them," she said. "I am so proud of them for being brave enough to fight for this."

The rally — sponsored by the Long Beach chapter of the Eagle Forum, a national conservative group that supports a back-to-basics education platform — was the first organized sign of support for Judy Ahrens, Blossie Marquez and Helena Rutkowski since they rejected the gender language of the state law — a move that threatened to cost the district millions of dollars in state funding and incurred the bitter protests of parents and teachers.

The three, who form a majority on the five-member board, eventually adopted language acceptable to the state in April. Opponents, however, have refused to relent. They are gathering signatures to recall Ahrens and Marquez and vow to defeat Rutkowski if she runs for reelection in November.

The recall backers have until the middle of this month to qualify for the fall election; they said they have gathered more than half of the 7,200 needed signatures. If they submit enough signatures after the mid-June cutoff, a special election will be called.

Throughout the saga, the trustees have laid claim to a silent core of supporters, but they never materialized at meetings or organized in opposition to the recall.

Ahrens and Marquez both said they welcomed the show of solidarity.

"I think it's great. You can see the other side now," Marquez said. "We've heard so much from one side. This is really good."

At the heart of the recall effort is the trio's opposition to a state discrimination law meant to protect gays, transsexuals and others who do not conform to traditional gender roles. The trustees said the law offended their Christian beliefs by allowing people to define their gender.
Thursday's rally disintegrated when recall supporters and opponents engaged in a shouting match.

Recall backers heckled the trustees' supporters and criticized those who came from outside the district to try to influence a local issue.

Jeanne Goodin, a state director of the Eagle Forum, expressed frustration that other groups had not come forward sooner in support of the trustees. Thursday's rally, she hoped, would mobilize people against the recall.

"When you don't see any organization or anyone out there supporting these women, you say to yourself, 'This just isn't right,' " Goodin said.

This is one of Rubin's lamer articles. The heart of the recall matter isn't the transgender issue, it is:

1. Ahrens' willingness to ignore her oath of office, and to endanger funding for the district. (If she wants to object to the state-mandated language, do it at the state level)
2. Ahrens'documented incompetence--she will not learn how to be a school trustee.
3. Ahrens's documented opposition to special education funding
4. Ahrens's documented opposition to state-funded preschools ("moms ought to be home with their children").
5. This is a multi-racial district. The "Christian" stance of these women is offensive to the non-Christian tax payers.

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