Thursday, December 19, 2002


A reader from eastern Nebraska has this lament:

"When my daughter was in the 8th grade she took the REQUIRED Health class. In that class her REQUIRED assignment was to give a report to the rest of the class (boys & girls) on a particular type of birth control.

"The other students were required to give talks (visual aids were encouraged) on different types of birth control. She told me about it and I was furious. But, she begged me not to pull her out of class because
only parents of 'geeks' pulled their kids from this class. I admit, I gave in to her peer pressure and just monitored the class from what she shared with me. It was another one of those times when I just developed the attitude, 'Get through it.'"

Another woman, from the southwest Omaha area, reports this:

"A friend this year whose daughter is in junior high told me that the Health class brought in high school girls, several of whom talked openly (and they were not anonymous!!!) about their sexual encounters and getting high on drugs when they were in junior high. They shared how much fun it was but they stopped because "you can't be in sports and take drugs."

"That was the focus?! Being in sports will prevent drug use and premarital sex???"

A third mother from west Omaha adds this:

" When my daughter was in ninth grade, she came home in tears one day because the teacher had said that the next day, in health class, they were going to be shown a film that was really strong stuff and that showed photographs of human bodies with sexually-transmitted diseases in graphic detail.

"My daughter did not want that to be her first glimpse of the male sexual organ. She was very, very upset about it, but got more hysterical when I said that I would just call the school and say she had an appointment and that I was taking her out of school for the afternoon. She said 'everyone' would 'know' and she would be subjected to brutal harassment and teasing, and the teacher would even join in.

"I didn't know what to do or what to tell her, but she finally came up with this solution: she went to the class, and she closed her eyes. She sat in the dark classroom and just kept her eyes shut the whole class period. My husband and I were irate, but what could we do?"

Well, here's what:

1. Call your school board members, or if you're too shy, send a nice anonymous letter, and just say what happened, and would they look into it and get back to you. The only problem with being anonymous is that, if any school policies were violated, they should take action and you should be informed of that action. But it's understandable if you wouldn't want to subject your family to the harassment that often happens to whistleblowers. Either way is fine. Just do it.

2. If the answer is that nothing violated school policies, then insist that a full transcript of the presentation that the students were given must be mailed home to the parents of the students in that class well in advance of the next school board meeting AND then repeated "live" to the school board at that public meeting, giving parents and the public a chance to comment on the content of that curriculum. Your reason for doing this: the content of the sex ed classes described above all violated state statutes that specify what the scope of sex ed in the classroom is supposed to be, and parents and the public have a right to protest this to the elected school board and get that nasty stuff out of the classroom pronto.

3. At that meeting, demand that in the future, parents must be given an option for their child's mandatory health class: make "comprehensive" sex ed class a scheduling option, and "abstinence only" sex ed class another scheduling option. The latter style of class would thoroughly cover the science and health aspects of sex ed, but skip the burlesque show and keep things decent, with a clear expectation that minor children will NOT be having sex . . . period. Since "comprehensive" sex ed, such as the content described in the three examples above, goes far beyond the boundaries of state law, it should be a no-brainer that schools can meet the requirements of the state sex ed regulations without including such vulgar, objectionable content. But they should have the right to offer it if it rings their chimes. However, so many parents would make a beeline to schedule their child for the decent, G-rated health class that the "comprehensive" one would probably die a very deserved death.

Parents: if you don't do this, who will?

Doooooooooo it. You'll be glad you did.

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