On May 22, the St. Charles Board of Education held a special session to allow an open forum on the district’s use of the Best Choice program in the City of St. Charles School District. Dr. Jeff Marion, St. Charles’ Superintendent, empowered his district’s BoE to vote on the continuation of Best Choice in St Charles’ schools following a completed review of the curriculum by St. Charles Community and Children’s Resource Board (CCRB). They met in the auditorium of St. Charles West High school. Channel 5 and St. Louis Public radio were in attendance and later reported on the event. The BoE ultimately voted unanimously to keep Best Choice curriculum in their school district.
City of St. Charles school district was thorough and open in their review. The CCRB’s report concluded that Best Choice was free of religious overtones and aligns with state requirements for sex education in public schools but St. Charles wanted to hear from residents as well. Several hundred people attended. During audience comments, 31 spoke in support of Best Choice and 23 spoke in opposition. Of the 23 in opposition, 13 were not residents of St. Charles school district while 10 were.
Reasons for dissent included the oft repeated religious-biased, medically inaccurate, shame-based curriculum. Some vocalized their desire to see the mechanics of sex taught to students as young as seven years old. One woman who claimed to be an educator objected to the pro-Thrive comments from others by stating that "St. Charles has higher unplanned pregnancy rates that the rest of St. Louis" and also that "sex education curriculum cannot be compared to drug prevention teaching, via DARE, because most children will never do drugs but everyone will at some point have sex because it is a biological function." She went on to state that "students who get pregnant often try to commit suicide." Another resident claimed that "use of taxpayer funds violates federal laws, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act from 1978," and said Thrive is "marketing to the students in St. Charles schools." Another resident objected to Thrive as the parent organization of Best Choice on the grounds that religious organizations have no place in public schools. However, a supporter of Thrive pointed out that hospitals are generally religiously affiliated, and many seek medical treatment there and need not fear being refused on the grounds that they are irreligious. One of the last dissenters objected to language in the curriculum that insists bacterial infections, if left untreated, can kill, and said "that information is shared with the sole intent to scare children."
Best Choice was frequently accused of "slut-shaming" and discriminating against the LGBTQ community, a fact that was refuted by Thrive staff and supportive residents alike. All of the residents with children in the school district who supported used of Best Choice curriculum shared that they had both reviewed and approved it, or their children had attended the class and they felt comfortable with the material shared. The Thrive volunteers and employees addressed all of the objector's claims but were mainly met with disbelief and scoffing. Thrive stood boldly and bravely before the BoE and testified to the professionalism of RNs and physicians who work for their organization. The regional manager for Thrive attested to the organization’s standard of care. She stated that they present “21 methods of contraception” and that family planning is now becoming more main-stream as people look for "green" ways to prevent pregnancy. She said that "hospitals and doctors provide similar education." She also said that she "takes very seriously the protection of the medical licenses of our RN's and doctors."
The most important defense by supporters of Thrive asserted that the Best Choice curriculum is in compliance with Missouri state law, Chapter 170.015.1. It states in part, "Guidelines on human sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases must (1) Present abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior in relation to all sexual activity for unmarried pupils because it is the only method that is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and the emotional trauma associated with adolescent sexual activity, and advise students that teenage sexual activity places them at a higher risk of dropping out of school because of the consequences of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancy."
There is little doubt that NARAL and Pro Choice professional activists who widely promoted the removal of Best Choices from public schools are reeling from the huge blow of this recent loss and are likely regrouping to attack another district.
Dr. Jeff Marion, photo: City of St. Charles School District
Marion and St. Charles City BoE are to be commended for taking a stand against professional abortion profiteers and activists and making the right choice for their families and students. Marion is also deserving of credit for permitting the 7 officials elected to represent the district vote to determine whether to continue with Best Choice. Dictator Superintendents in districts like Parkway should take note.
Congratulations to St. Charles parents and students on this outstanding win! May you serve as an example to surrounding districts under assault by NARAL activist bullies intent on shaming 59% of students who choose abstinence over promiscuity and denying important health risk information to all students through Best Choice’s message.