Warning: Even though this material was presented to a class of 8th graders as completely appropriate, let me be the first to say…continue reading at your own peril, it gets…well, it just gets a little graphic and outrageously gross.
It’s stories like this that solidify to me as a parent that I will never trust the public education system to do anything MORE than teach the ABC’s and 1,2,3’s. (And, actually, those are questionable too.) In fact, we just opted out of our middle school class sex ed program for our son and as one friend pointed out to me, if my kid messes up and makes a bad decision one day, it won’t be because he missed this class in 7th grade. We are vigilant in talking about these issues at the appropriate age and making it an open topic in our house and I hope each of you, as parents, are not sticking your heads in the sand or putting off these conversations.
I would have been open to at least considering the class had our school made it humanly doable to sit down and peruse the material first. However, upon visiting the website given to parents to view the material, I discovered that they made it as difficult as possible to obtain the actual “sexual” education part of the program. If I remember correctly, after jumping through a few registration hoops (not sure why that was required- but not going to quibble over it), I finally discovered the section I needed. But, much to my frustration and anger, the system actually required you to go through all 12 parts (roughly) in real time before you got to section 12– the part with all of the questionable material that most parents who care about what is being taught to their children would want to see. So, unless you had an entire workday at your disposal to waste on parts 1-11, you were out of luck to watch number 12. It was clear that they weren’t excited about showing off to the parental authorities exactly what they had in store for the kids as the curriculum was about as nontransparent as possible.
At that point, I logged off and we opted out of the program. If a seemingly overt effort has to be made to prevent the public from seeing what you will be exposing to our kids- I won’t apologize for being suspicious of the content. And, after hearing from other parents some of the topics discussed, I’m really glad I did.
Which brings me to this latest story brought to you courtesy of our education system out of Pine Valley Middle School in California. I know, California. It’s a shocker. Parents are outraged over the discovery of some of he slides and content that their 8th graders were exposed to. And, I have to agree, it’s pretty bad.
One slide talks about “Top Conception Myths” and mentions douching. The photo accompanying the slide shows young men with the caption “douche bag.”
Another photo shows a man on all fours, with a woman standing on him. The caption reads “girl on top can still get pregnant.”
The photo that enraged parents the most was a slide also focused on conception myths, but showed a picture of a man with blood on his face. The caption for that picture read: “A real man loves his woman every day of the month.”
“This is horrific. This is unacceptable material,” said one parent, who did not want to be identified.
She said when her son showed her the presentation, “most of the slides [looked] okay.”
But then she saw the photos.
“That’s something you can’t unsee,” the parent of the eighth grader said. “This is definitely more than R-rated. This is X-rated.”
The Superintendent, Dr. Kathy Granger (contact info here, should be so inclined to leave her a comment), comes off with limited intelligence in her response saying that the curriculum is “factually and medically accurate.”
Dr. Granger’s statement goes on to say : “We will continue to review materials and collaborate with Mountain Health to ensure that the instruction that is delivered is age appropriate with an emphasis on abstinence as the best way to prevent pregnancy and HIV/Aids infection.”
I’m just taking a stab here…but wouldn’t it be far more effective to actually show the terrible results that a sexually transmitted disease can do to a body? Perhaps we should grab the attention of an 8th grader by giving them an honest and realistic visual of what AIDS, Herpes, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia can do to a body- and show them that…well, they just aren’t sexy.
More importantly, it’s time for us to be 100% honest with our children…there is no such thing as safe sex. The only safe sex is no sex. Each time you engage in “safe sex” you continue to risk your life, your physical health, your mental health, your emotional health and your entire future. Is this really a Russian roulette game worth playing? Teenagers have every capability of saying no. We teach them say no to drugs. We teach them from a young age not to talk to strangers. We teach them not to drink and drive. The list on what we firmly teach our children in and out of the school system is endless. So, why do we continue to feel as if this is an issue that we can’t teach them to abstain from like all of the rest?
Will kids continue to mess up and make mistakes if we preach abstinence? Of course, they will. History shows us that there has always been out of wedlock and teen pregnancy. But, clearly, the numbers that we are dealing with in modern day are astronomical and nothing like we’ve dealt with historically. That being said, let’s all remind ourselves of the definition of insanity… That being said, it is just all par for the course when you let the “village” raise your children.