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September 8, 2010
Parents, be wary of ‘sex education’
Below is an adapted excerpt from a book I co-authored with Jason Evert, “Raising Pure Teens,” with crucial information as children start school. Beware that the content in this column is not appropriate for children.
Many parents assume that classroom sex education exists to help students avoid pregnancy and STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). However, most parents would be horrified to learn the details of what is often being taught.
SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States), Planned Parenthood, and Advocates for Youth are dominant forces behind the materials in public school sex-education programs. SIECUS has trained thousands of sex educators, and recommends that 5- to 8-year-olds be taught about masturbation and 9- to 12-year-olds instructed about mutual masturbation and oral sex. They even suggest that high school students should be taught various forms of sexual activity, such as the use of pornography to enhance sexual experiences alone or with a partner.
The sex-ed curriculum Focus on Kids is designed for children as young as 9. The instructor’s guide tells teachers: “Ask youth to brainstorm ways to be close. The list may include holding hands, body massage, bathing together, masturbation, sensuous feeding, fantasizing, watching erotic movies, reading erotic books and magazines.” The curriculum Becoming a Responsible Teen is designed for 14- to 18-year-olds, and suggests that students make a trip to the grocery store to examine the different kinds of lubricants for condom use. One might hope that these are obscure, little-known programs but both of them were promoted by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control)!
Unbeknownst to many parents, Planned Parenthood often sets up shop in schools in order to teach children their version of the birds and the bees. In Dr. Miriam Grossman’s book, “You’re Teaching My Child What?” she outlines how Planned Parenthood workers “‘instruct parents to tell 5-year-olds about intercourse, though explaining orgasm can wait until he’s finished kindergarten.’ And for sadomasochism? Educators can send teen girls to a website that says, ‘Though it may seem painful, those involved find the pleasure outweighs the pain.’”
“Comprehensive” sex education programs are sometimes veiled under terms such as abstinence-“plus” or abstinence-“based” in order to make them appear as if they promote chastity. However, within these programs, abstinence is often presented as merely a way to prevent pregnancy and STDs. It isn’t considered virtuous, nor is it seen as an expected standard of behavior for teens. It’s simply one option among others. Meanwhile, these programs are adamant in promoting the idea that “unprotected sex” is irresponsible, while “protected sex” is commonplace, responsible, natural and even fulfilling.
These programs have virtually nothing to say about the problems of casual sex, the merits of abstinence, or the connection of sex to marriage, intimacy, relationships and one’s emotional health (none of which is inherently “religious” content, despite the claims of the opposition). Such curricula might claim to be “morally neutral,” but the crucial content they omit makes them about as neutral as hedonism and relativism.
Parents need to beware of anything titled “sex education,” “abstinence-plus (or based) education,” “family life classes,” or even “health classes.” And if Planned Parenthood is active in your child’s school, you can be assured that what you’re teaching your child at home about sex, love, and family life is being systematically deconstructed.
If something raises a concern, take action! Public schools are typically respectful of a parent’s religious beliefs. They don’t have much of a choice in this regard because of the litigious nature of our society. Ask to review the curriculum and all materials used, including books, recommended websites, videos, etc. Make sure they match the values you teach your child at home. You might end up happily surprised, since some schools have excellent abstinence education programs. If the school’s program does not meet your expectations, do not hesitate to pull your child out of class.
However, it isn’t enough to oppose their program and flee from the curriculum. Be proactive, and seek to replace it with something that will benefit all of the students. Do some research and meet with the principal, health teacher or school board, and propose an alternative curriculum. You might be pleasantly surprised by the response of the administration. Many times they are on the fence, wanting to do the right thing, and needing nothing more than a nudge in the right direction and the resources to make it happen. Plenty of research has been conducted to prove the effectiveness of abstinence education, so make sure to supply them with the evidence. See the research library at www.chastity.com for more on this.
It’s safe to say that most parents don’t want teachers filling their children’s minds with explicit sexual images between math and science classes. And polls show that “less than 10 percent of parents support the main values and messages of comprehensive sex education programs.” But that means very little because most parents fail to ask questions, fail to protest, and fail to opt out. As Edmund Burke is famously credited with saying, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Don’t be afraid to act. It might cost you some popularity with the school board, your peers, or even your own child, but with this much at stake, it’s worth it.
Book: “Raising Pure Teens: 10 Strategies to Protect (or Restore) Your Teenager’s Innocence”
Christopher Stefanick is director of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry for the Archdiocese of Denver. To read more columns by Chris, click here.
Visit his website at www.chris-stefanick.com.