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November 17, 2016 12:00 pm
NC Family Communications Director Traci Griggs speaks with Joe Werrell, a community activist, about recent effort by the organization called ShiftNC to take over sex education in Onslow County and what he and his organization did to rebuff it.
Everything just goes along quietly unless somebody is actually taking the time to look at it in Indian is with NC family Pres. John Weston thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters on Tracy Greg's communications director at NC family and I'm sitting in this week for John rested.
We had the valuable opportunity to learn about the strategy of a successful effort in Onslow County schools to fend off a sex education curriculum. They considered to be harmful and ineffective. Our guest today is Dr. Joe Worrall. He is a retired dentist from Jacksonville, North Carolina and is on the Board of Directors for local pregnancy resource Center. There, today will be talking with Joe about a recent effort by the organization called shift NC to take over sex education in Onslow County, which is organization rebuffed Joe welcome to family policy matters, my pleasure. It's great to have you on the show joint understand from their website. That shift, NC has a mission to teach comprehensive sex education in all 100 counties in North Carolina. Beginning with one of the first ones Onslow County you call home. Can you tell us why you were concerned when you learned that shift NC would be delegated the task of teaching comprehensive sex ed in your counties public schools are forgiven you will history might be helpful.
Pregnancy center. We were at was not just about handling new young ladies that though considering abortions and we wanted to be there to be helpful for the young ladies and men who were working with schools and learning about the sex education so four years ago we started program that we offered to local schools, which is better physically and absent space program to teach them skills to and what appears in an not be pressured into sex before marriage.
So we got this group going and then we were proceeding and then in the local paper. There was a kickoff meeting for a group coming to town that said they were here to reduce teen pregnancies and so I attended that meeting and done a little bit of homework but that they were giving salt some numbers of six indicated that Onslow County had a big problem with teen pregnancies and and we learned later that that was sort of a Trojan horse to get there comprehensive sex education ideas put forward. They were using numbers that were indicating that we were number two in the state with teen pregnancies they were using the 18 to 19-year-old on numbers which most of those were married because we have a military population in Onslow County when he got down to this 15 to 17-year-olds in 2014 which was the most recent year that we have numbers was only 41 teen pregnancies in that group that put us below the state average and below a lot of other local counties including Gaston County, where they did their pilot program, but we learned that this was their way of trying to convince people that we had. We had a problem they needed to be there to help us so we went from that point to learning who was all involved in putting this forward.
They had a federal grant of 1.7 million per year for Cumberland and Onslow County puzzles was almost $1 million per year for a five-year term to come in.
This was federal tax dollars 22 foot reducing pregnancies and when we learn more about Gaston County where they'd had this five-year program. I called the Executive Director down there pregnancy center and asked a little bit about their experience with shift and he said that and feedback from the pastors in the local area and they were all upset when the shift was passing out condoms as Christmas presents and they were asking him why didn't somebody harness that shift was coming to town so we got busy and started to learn about what shift was about to mention a few things already that he found objectionable. What were some other things that really made you decide you had to get your people together and fight this group coming and Onslow County Road part was how secretive they are. They were holding meetings.
They told us they were working with all these different groups from partnership with children and County county and school courses.
Schools and working with them to to come up with the programs to educate our our youth, but whenever we tried to GoToMeeting they would either cancel it or just one person might be there.
That wasn't really knowledgeable about what was going on so we got the idea that they were being elusive about what they were involved there so that kind alerted us.
Eventually they offered us an opportunity to be on quote their advisory board which I asked what so what about tonight is a commuter voting on know that doesn't give you voting thing just let you be a cheerleader for shift. I said… Thank you. We don't need to get into that so that was a point where we decided we were no longer going to get involved, but that we were just trying to learn. Certainly, what was their agenda. Some of the things that happened along the way were the stop CSE.org website came online in February and I had really been aware of what comprehensive sex education was an I saw the video, which is called war on children that they put out, that's one of the things that got me most upset was that this to me was a real white line in the sand line the redline to taking over the sexual education of our our youth. I think parents need to be the ones that are making those decisions. So you decided that this was not a healthy thing to be taught in your public schools there in Onslow County and you decided you were going to do something about it. So tell us a little bit about what you did what you strategy was in and why you think it was successful will first of all that we were concerned and trying to learn about it and they were very deceptive about that so we were trying to go to meetings and learning and that was unsuccessful mostly. So we started forming our own group got community meeting going. We got 170 people to come to our meeting and we showed this video that was new to us called the war on children by the stop CSE.org group and showed that and talked.
We got a petition going and then later on we got letters to the editor. We got going to different meetings like we we spoke at the school board meeting we spoke at the County commissioners meeting churches got involved neighbors talking to neighbors just kind of just community snowballing took to concern and get involved. I met with all the different school board members individually found it was interesting that to my learn basically were behind getting shift in their 11 asked me what are you going to do about it. Two of them said well I think we can still take the million dollars a year money but we can manage to to work with shift and not have the bad outcome which I found questionable one canceled an hour before our meeting saying I think shift will be in there anyway. See you not going to do, but to them said absolutely not. So God bless those two and they made it difficult for the school to go ahead with that program and in the County. We spoke to them and and I think there is a good push back there so it just got to the point where their grant. They had certain milestones that they had to meet and getting people involved in and when the school board dropped and maybe the county drop that just kinda shut them on the water, forgetting the grant money which is no one, no money, no shift is now the way that worked out so I was where we are and then the way that I found out was unique. I got a call from our local newspaper saying what I like to comment on shift leaving Onslow County.
I said that would be great news for the children. Do you have any anything in writing on this hill. I did what was a complete shock and all of a sudden they just decided because he couldn't meet those these requirements that they were leaving leaving top, but we need to now look at the future and and mother will they be back. What are we going to do about that sort of thing. So that's where were at present when you're listening to policy matters of resource to listen to our radio show online and from what resources that will be a voice of persuasion in your community to our website.org for other counties who may wonder if shift is taking a look at the County.
What would you suggest that people do to take a look at what's being taught in their public schools and do something positive about that young basically is going to to learn what is being taught recently kinda learned in our area that the schools are to be very forthcoming on sharing that information so you have to go and look at the curriculum were asking and get involved. That way, and then once you figure out whose else might be influencing a group like this comes in and offers airport assistance to help the teachers with with their educational programs with finding different colleges around North Carolina and things are offering this and so you'd have to just kinda do that. Get to know what's going on. Talk to your school administrators talk to your school board. The school boards didn't really know very much about what was being handled at the lower levels so it's no was educational for them and and when they started to learn about it. Then there. There were some concerns raised but everything just goes along quietly unless somebody is actually taking the time to look at it in and get involved in, and potentially politically. Of course it's one thing to fight something that's bad, but it's another thing then to provide something that's more positive. So is your pregnancy resource Center providing something more positive and what would you suggest for people that want to provide something like that. That's also where were at. Now know that we were told basically from the pregnancy center that we were no longer welcome to teacher program in the schools.
So were saying okay were okay with that. If, as long as we have the sexual risk avoidance program and send again has a good list of them were now meeting with some school administrators trying to set up meetings and facilitate that sort of thing we don't want to know walk away. Now we want to see something good come because if there's a vacuum there. I'm afraid it will be filled by something we don't want, so we'd like to have a positive no input and and some good program going forward in and I think then we would be better protecting the kids 11 of the group said was the keynote speaker at the latest conference. That shift had was Sam Kellerman who website is about metrosexual and and his advocacy is a ginger person and he's trying to teach gender identity to our youngest grade school.
Young gradeschool kids that they can decide what sex they want to be in and he has these little graphs of showing you what different areas female or male that you might want to be and that's what he says he is and he decides what he's going to be in the morning he gets up I guess. And and does that, but it's it's confusing these little kids with the ideas that their sex is not determined it's something fluid that they can do whatever they want and and this is currently of concern to that parent should be aware of our listeners would probably be interested to know to that most of the federal money goes toward this old comprehensive sex education programming. The Obama administration has fought almost every year to eliminate the old what we consider abstinence education from federal funding hundred percent and they have we got a little bit of federal money fund funneling in to provide some help for these programs in North Carolina, but essentially what happens is people have to get community support raise the money.
Find people to teach what they consider to be a healthier sexual risk avoidance curriculum and you know, take it on and around and exactly what we we were unfunded group. We are fighting a group million dollars a year for five years. You just think you know what chance do you have but fortunately no good community people were involved in and spoke up so that's what it was about it in our local state representative was very active here in and he actually was able to stop $250,000 grant that the state was going to give to shift and and so I think that helped get their attention and we were just continually kind of irritant to I guess in and paid off. So if you have questions about how they can can proceed in their own counties. They are welcome to call us here at the NC family policy Council Tracy Greeks and I'll be glad to to send you in the right direction to get some resources. I'm assuming Dr. world that they can give you a call and that you would be willing to advise them as well. I can certainly do that. I have the concern right now that the we were one of the two counties in the other one was Cumberland County that the shift was getting this grant for the same time and I am unaware of any thing going on to fight shift in Fayetteville.
Basically, again another military base, which is ironic, but no, those are areas that I be glad to help if I can.
People in other counties. Other parts of North Carolina are interested in getting more information. You're welcome to contact me. I'll put you in touch with some other organizations, and if you're interested in talking more with Dr. where all then then I will connect you with him as well. Dr. well thanks so much for being with us on family policy matters and for your willingness to share about your recent victory in the lessons that you learn through that you've been listening to family policy matters. Production of NC family to listen to our radio show online, and for more valuable resources and information about issues important to families in North Carolina. My website family.org on Twitter and Facebook