According to FOXNews.com (not via AP), the controversy in Helena, Montana is “about a proposal to extend sex education to children as young as kindergarten age.” [On their home page, they tease this story as “Kiddie Sex Ed Has City in a Tizzy”]
According to the 62-page draft proposal, beginning in kindergarten, school nurses will teach students proper terms such as “nipple, breast, penis, scrotum and uterus.” Once they are promoted to first grade, children will learn that sexual relations could happen between two men or two women. By the time students are 10 years old, instruction will include the various ways people can have intercourse, be it vaginally, orally or through “anal penetration,” according to the proposal.
And the opposition to this sex ed says,
The Montana Family Foundation is fighting the proposed changes, telling Fox News its biggest concern is teaching graphic sexual detail to kids who are not emotionally able to process or comprehend it. If the changes pass, kids as young as 5 will begin to learn medically accurate names for a number of both male and female “private parts.”
“The problem is they think it would be age appropriate to teach different sexual positions and different sexual variations to 10 year olds,” said Jeff Laszloffy of the Montana Family Foundation.
I bolded the sentence above because I love the use of “private parts.” This is also written to imply that 5-year-olds are not emotionally able to process or comprehend the medically accurate names for said “private parts.” And that those medically accurate names are considered “graphic sexual detail.”
The idea that children at the age of 10 are not ready for information about sex is absurd. The real problem, if anything, is that there is not enough talking and if there is talking, it often comes much too late (jeez, even Oprah knows that! You know, thanks to Dr. Berman). But, of course, it isn’t just the information that is a problem. It’s where the information is coming from:
Angela Helland-Hansen told the board that she was surprised to see that staff from Planned Parenthood were included in the committee that developed the document.
“Why are we allowing Planned Parenthood to help with this when they stand to profit from these people who will be their future clients?” the Record reported.
Is it that people don’t know what Planned Parenthood does? It is as if knowledge of PP begins and ends with abortion. Except that that is just a teeny tiny part of what they do. So, it actually makes sense that someone would consult them on the issue of sex education. But I’m not sure sense has anything to do with this.
Finally, this perfect ending to their article:
Two middle school girls said an abstinence-based program would be more effective to reduce teen pregnancy and disease than what is being proposed, the newspaper reported. There currently is no sexual education being taught in middle school.
At the end of FOXNew’s article, they link to an article that they used to get information for their story. So, I clicked on it. It’s from Helenair.com, a local site for Helena news. And here are some parts of that article that FOX left out:
Stacy Anderson said she’s impressed with the Helena School District for looking out for those parents who don’t take an active role in their children’s lives. She said by providing children with knowledge, they will be afforded conversations not provided at home.
Donna Miller, a health sexuality educator, said given the proper tools children can make decisions that are better for the community, themselves and their friends.
Shahid Haque-Hausrath is an expecting father who voiced his support of being open and honest with children.
“To bury our heads in the sand is to fail our children,” he said.
A handful of gay men spoke in favor of the document, particularly the portion that calls for children to understand that making fun of people by calling them names is disrespectful.
Michael Hand-Synness said when he came out to a close friend at Helena High he started receiving death threats.
“The threats continued to get worse and I was forced to transfer schools for my own safety,” he said. “I ended up dropping out after attending all three Helena high schools to try to keep safe.”
Hand-Synness said the draft will be a great way to help prevent some of the intolerance that has made its way into the public schools.
And the opponents said,
A handful of opponents say if more curricula are to be introduced; the focus should be math, science or art.
“I hope the school board will spend our resources that will help them succeed the most — preparing them for college,” local pediatric dentist Kevin Rencher said.
That quote cracks me up. Because Mr. Rencher, sex ed does prepare students for college. Because, guess what, lots and lots and lots of college students have sex. Sometimes they call it hooking-up. That idea probably scares you, too.
But basically, FOX had included almost all of the opposing side’s views in their article, though they obviously left out the proponent’s side.
FOXNews also has an opinion section called FOX Forum, that has this gem of an editorial: “Save the Children, Say ‘No’ In Helena”, written by Jim Sedlak. Let’s begin the quotes, shall we?
While everyone is entitled to their opinion, it just so happens that, in this case, all the data demonstrate that the parents are, indeed, correct to oppose these programs.
To understand the problem with these classroom programs, we need to review the three stages of the human sexual maturation process.
Oh, you know this is about to get good…
The first phase of development is characterized by children being interested in a number of things, including body parts. It is a time when children find their eyes and ears and elbows and genitals. All of this is normal and the child normally passes out of this stage at around five years of age. […]
During this second phase, the child’s sexual thoughts and actions are naturally suppressed. Popes in the Catholic Church have referred to this period as the “age of innocence,” while scientists call it the “sexual latency period.” [This sentence is so fucked up because of all the child abuse cases in the Catholic church that have come to light over the last decade that it is hard to read.]
Most educators will tell you that this is the age when children are most able to be educated. They are like a sponge, soaking up math and science and languages and anything else that piques their interest. They want to know why the sky is blue; why the grass is green; how do airplanes fly; and a host of other things. They do not want to know about sex. At this stage in their lives, it is just not important to them.
Then, at puberty, they enter the third phase of development and their sexual interest reemerges. Now, they do become interested in all things sexual. However, there is a significant difference.
Boys primarily have a physical sex drive. They are generally interested in having physical sex.
Girls, on the other hand, are interested in romance. Their sex drive is normally centered around the heart and around love.
Wow. Not only does Sedlak just say things that aren’t true as if they are fact, he uses old made-up gendered ideas about boys and girls to say that you can’t teach them the same kind of things about sex (at least, I think that is what he is saying). Did he write this in 1963? Because it feels awfully old to me.
He then uses the 1985 treatise (look, more old stuff!), “A Psychoanalytic Look at Today’s Sex Education,” by Melvin Anchell, M.D., A.S.P.P.. He quotes this from the 25-year-old study:
A partial summary of adverse effects due to the sex educators’ interferences during latency is that they: 1) Make the 6- to 12-year-old student less educable; 2) can block the development of compassion; 3) weaken the mental barriers controlling base sexual instincts, thereby making the child vulnerable to perversions in later life.
Sex education in middle school makes kids dumber, less compassionate, and perverts (or possibly more likely to be vulnerable to them – syntax is weird there). But if you had trouble understanding that paragraph, Sedlak does summarize it for you:
In other words, kids who are inundated with human sexuality courses will find their overall academic performance suffering, while they grapple with self-control and compassion issues.
Then he makes a case for comprehensive sex education (which I don’t think is his point):
As the Helena school board considers the problems posed by classroom sex education, we ask them to note that school classrooms group children by the same chronological age, but they will each be at varying stages of mental maturity. It is impossible to design a classroom sex education course that is appropriate for all of the children in the class.
In all seriousness, I absolutely hate this line of reasoning. Fine. No two kids are the same. That’s true with every bit of education. Some kids are visual learners and some auditory. Yet, teachers have no problem incorporating both types of teaching into their methods to accommodate different sets of kids. But somehow, when it comes to this topic, it is not teachable in a classroom because of differences in the kids.
But that doesn’t even take into account that all these children are being subjected to similar cultural and social messages throughout their lives. They are interacting with each other, not simply as peers, but as sexual beings. Hell, not even sexual beings necessarily, but beings learning about their sexuality. Plus, it’s the age of the interwebs. If kids want to know about sex at the age of 10 (or 8 or 6) and they will want to, they have a way to find out about it, except adults won’t know what that information actually is, or if it is good or bad or accurate. So, pretending that 10 year-olds live in a magic innocence/latency bubble is irresponsible and downright silly.
He ends his article by saying the following,
Twenty-five years ago Dr. Anchell, warned of what will happen as classroom sex education programs proliferate. Look around at today’s society. We are seeing the results of years of unbridled sex education in the schools.
Let’s not make the matter worse in Helena. Protect the children, say no to these programs.
At the end we find out that Jim Sedlak is “the Vice President of American Life League and the author of “Parent Power!! How Parents Can Gain Control of the School Systems that Educate their Children.”” So, you would think he could find a more modern quote to back up what he is arguing. But why would he? The American Life League is a Roman Catholic pro-life group and this psychoanalytic crap from 1985 fits their Catholic ideas about innocence.
The main problem, though, is that “unbridled sex education in the schools” (nice word choice, huh?) is the problem. At least, it has been over the last decade. Because thanks to the Bush administration, it is ABSTINENCE-ONLY education that has created the results that Sedlak sees in today’s society (which I am simply guessing are bad results – though his writing really leaves that up for interpretation. I guess he is assuming an specific type of audience/reader, though).
It’s all so crazy. And it’s on FOXNews.com like it is truth. Fair and balanced, indeed.
Finally, they have a poll where you can vote (if you are registered at FOXNews). Of course, they don’t ask, “Is sexual education a valuable part of a child’s education?” Or, “Do you think that sexual education has a place in school curriculum?” Or something like that?
Nope, here is what they asked:
And here are the sort of surprising results: