In Shawnee, Kansas, 13-year-olds at Hocker Grove Middle School are exposed to an educational poster in sex ed that says the following: "How do people express their sexual feelings? Oral Sex. Sexual fantasy. Caressing. Anal sex. Hugging. Touching each other's genitals. Kissing." Whatever else it is, the poster is accurate.
But is it appropriate? And does it matter that, according to one of the middle school's administrators, it is but a small part of a larger, "abstinence-only" sex-ed curriculum?
A parent at the school was sufficiently shocked by its contents that he aired his grievances to the local Fox affiliate. Alerted to the story, Rod Dreher, a "Crunchy Con" blogger who has thought a great deal about adolescent education by virtue of his family's decision to homeschool their children, felt outraged too. "What kind of institution exposes middle schoolers to this kind of thing?" he asks. "To be clear, nobody is objecting to sex-ed per se; it’s the specifics of the content here that appall."
The comments at the local news site include several specific arguments against this curriculum:
- "Teaching someone how to do something properly at an age that it is socially unhealthy to engage in is legitimizing the activity and normalizing it... People want to fit in and be accepted. If you are teaching children that their peers are doing something, they themselves will feel more compelled to do that."
- "If and when I feel my children are ready to learn about it, then it is MY responsibility to teach them! NOT the school’s! They are paid to teach READING, WRITING and ARITHMETIC!! PERIOD!!" Along the same lines: "As a parent, it is my responsibility to teach those things to my children. If the school wants to teach those things, they need to seek the approval of parents before ever doing anything. Have we sunk so low as a society that we will give up our responsibilities to someone else for our own convenience?"
- "It seems dangerous that a parent is no longer allowed to parent their child according to what they believe is best for their son or daughter. How easily so many have given up this freedom to raise their children according to their own decisions. It is NOT the place of a public school to make such important decisions in terms of influencing a child’s thoughts and actions regarding something so important and influential as sex, especially without a parent’s knowledge or consent. This is foremost a question of freedom to parent."