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Sex toy, bondage topics spark backlash against ninth-grade textbook

Parents are angry over ninth-grade health textbook that discusses bondage, vibrators and other sex topics

Roughly 1,500 parents and other residents in the Northern California city of Fremont have signed an online petition calling for the removal of a ninth-grade health textbook, which they say exposes teens to sexual bondage themes in discussing ropes, handcuffs, sex toys and vibrators.

Community members say the book, "Your Health Today," approved by the Fremont Unified School District Board of Education for ninth-grade health class, is "extremely inappropriate" for teens because it addresses sexual fantasies and sex games.

A petition signer identified as Thomas Lo wrote: "In a city with diverse ethnicity and religions it is highly advisable to have a committee with broad representation to review the textbooks on sex education before they are allowed to use. This is the only way to avoid dispute later that tarnishes the Board of Education's reputation."

Parents organizing the petition have called for the college-level book to be removed from all Fremont schools and are asking for the formation of a Health Textbook Selection Committee.

The district's superintendent, Jim Morris, said in a statement that high school health teachers reviewed numerous textbooks and determined that the book was "the best choice in terms of accuracy and alignment with California standards."

The district's health services coordinator also looked at the book for medical accuracy.

Morris said he appreciated the feedback from parents but still supported the judgment of the district's staff and board members.

"For those with concerns over the book's handling of human sexuality, the book does not constitute the health curriculum -- it is a tool to assist the instructor in teaching the standards," he said.

Parents can always opt-out of having their children attend the class, Morris said, but he encouraged them to meet with their children's teachers to go over any concerns about the textbook.

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