Fake News: California Did NOT Ban Parents From Pulling Kids From 'Obscene' LGBT Sex Ed Classes

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: California Did NOT Ban Parents From Pulling Kids From 'Obscene' LGBT Sex Ed Classes

Are California parents banned from pulling their kids from 'obscene' LGBT sex education classes? No, that's quite the distortion of what is actually going on, the headline is not true. It was written by a site that regularily twists the truth in order to create false headlines that are way more shocking than what is going on in reality.

The headline above an article published on April 23, 2018 by YourNewsWire read "California Bans Parents From Pulling Kids From 'Obscene' LGBT Sex Ed Classes" (archived here) and the article itself opened:

California is about to implement compulsory new abortion- and homosexualty-promoting sex education classes that encourages children as young as six to question their sexual orientation and gender identity, while teaching them how to use a range of vegetables as sex toys, and promoting anal sex as "normal".

California enacted the California Healthy Youth Act in 2015, but only now are its controversial provisions starting to take effect in classrooms.

Under the auspices of health, the law says it will equip students to develop "healthy attitudes" on "gender [and] sexual orientation," among other things. It also says it will inform students about the "effectiveness and safety of all FDA-approved contraceptive methods," and facilitate "objective discussion" about "parenting, adoption, and abortion."

The photo supposedly showing a teacher instructing children in the use of a strap-on sex aid as part of the Common Core curriculum was itself taken from a fake story set in Florida a few years ago:

Teacher suspended after caught showing children how to use strap-on dildo

by Kayleigh Dray | 06 11 2014 Sharon Mercer, who worked as a substitute teacher in Florida, was photographed during the demonstration by an unidentified student. In the photos, which were uploaded to Imgur, the teacher is shown wearing a strap-on dildo, while fully clothed, and demonstrating how to use it to her class of sixth graders (11 to 12-year-olds).

Snopes debunked that story, pointing out that the 'teacher' was actually Canadian and doing a demonstration in front of an adult audience.

FACT CHECK: Was a Florida Teacher Suspended After a Shocking Sex Ed Demonstration?

A Florida teacher gave 6th grade students an explicit sex ed lesson involving a strap-on sex toy to satisfy Common Core requirements. False On 15 September 2014, the InfoWars web site published an article about a purportedly worrisome incident in Jacksonville, Florida.

Key quote:

The photographs displayed in the original article were not in fact pictures of a Florida substitute teacher named Sharon Mercer, but rather pictures of Carlyle Jansen, the founder and owner of Good for Her (a progressive, female-friendly sex store in Toronto, Ontario), who has upon occasion been invited to give talks about sexual health at Toronto-area high schools. But Ms. Jansen told us that she also teaches sex ed classes for adult audiences, that the photographs displayed in the outrage-provoking article were snapped at a university-level (not a sixth grade) class, and that she "would not have done those positions and discussed strap-ons to that extent in a high school setting."

In addition, the central point of the article seems to revolve around a memo sent by the Orange County Department of Education general counsel Ronald Wenkart discussing how certain parts of the law that allow parents to excuse their children from sex education lessons should be interpreted.

First of all, Orange County is just a small part of California:

California county map (Orange County highlighted)

And the memo correctly points out that the provision to excuse children from sex-ed classes:

does not apply to instruction, materials, or programming that discusses gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation, relationships, or family and does not discuss human reproductive organs.

It would be quite hard for California to be "teaching them how to use a range of vegetables as sex toys, and promoting anal sex" (if they did that at all) without mentioning human reproductive organs so parents would definitely be allowed to excuse their kids from that.

So on that basis alone we can say the headline from YourNewsWire is false.

And if people feel it is obscene to confront kids with the fact that same sex relationships exist they may also want to ban this book from being taught in schools for it repeatedly mentions these kinds of things happening and it is regularily being promoted for use in schools by various groups.

YourNewsWire has published several hoaxes and fake news articles in the past so anything they write or publish should be taken with a large grain of salt. Their Facebook page "The People's Voice" recently lost its verification checkmark according to a report from MMFA.

The Terms of Use of the site also make it clear they don't really stand behind the accuracy of any of their reporting:


The site was profiled in the Hollywood reporter where it was described as:

Your News Wire, a 3-year-old website of murky facts and slippery spin, is published by Sean Adl-Tabatabai and Sinclair Treadway -- a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016 -- out of an apartment in L.A.'s historic El Royale.

RationalWiki described it as:

YourNewsWire (styled as YourNewsWire.com[1]) is an Los Angeles-based clickbait fake news website known for disseminating conspiracy theories and misleading information, contrary to its claimed motto ("News. Truth. Unfiltered").[1]

A while ago we also reported that YourNewsWire had rebranded itself as NewsPunch by changing its domain name in an apparent effort to evade filtering/blocking. It appears the site has changed back to it's old name in the mean time but you can still see the NewsPunch name in the contact email address in the footer.

We wrote about yournewswire.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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