Sexuality frightens, confuses school district

unfrozencavemanThis is a stupid story, but there’s an interesting nugget buried in the explanation for how and why a Young Adult author was chased off the internets for standing up for reality-based high school sex education and biology classes:

The Gilbert [Arizona] School Board—under the leadership of three Tea Partiers who consider Common Core to be a “pile of dog poo,” and with the encouragement of the Alliance Defending Freedom, the same organization that engineered the notorious anti-gay discrimination law in Indiana—had spent a great deal of time debating a section in the biology textbook that contains extremely “controversial” material about contraception preventing unwanted pregnancies. According to a local news report, some board members wanted to black out the lines that mention various birth-control methods, vasectomies, and—wait for it—drugs that can induce abortion; others wanted to rip out the whole offending page. Instead, the school board compromised on the instructive sticker.

How cute!  They think that taking this information out of a high school textbook will prevent kids from learning about contraception, vasectomies, the morning-after pill, RU-486, and surgical abortions!

It’s as though they are entirely unfamiliar with 1) children and 2) the internet.  Are they the unfrozen cavemen and -women school board?

If there’s one way to pique student interest in what a book has to say, then by all means, seize it!  Tear out or black out the offending passages!  Protest its presence in your school and public libraries!  Hold a book burning at a press conference!  Be sure every student in the district knows that the information it contains is very, very dangerous, and that you’re doing your best to keep it away from them.  Go for it, Gilbert!

How else are second- and third-graders going to learn about the existence of elective abortions, condoms, and the pill if you stop talking about them?

10 thoughts on “Sexuality frightens, confuses school district

  1. You would think that, but I’ve had masters students who don’t really understand birth control and have all sorts of misinformation about abortions. There’s a lot of misinformation out there and when you combine controlling families with zero information from schools and then a lack of being able to discern good sources from garbage sources…

    It’s not that the students don’t get information, but that they come in with mis-information. Propaganda.

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  2. Well, that’s on THEM if they’re master’s students who don’t know the facts of life.

    Anyone who’s motivated can find them out. But you’re right, nicoleandmaggie, that a lot of young people will not challenge their parents ideas or beliefs. (Which makes me wonder about the quality of information the adults have and are trading!)

    I did agree with one part of that warning label inside the textbook: if you have questions, ask your parents. Not everyone will get the best information that way, but most probably will.

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    • They think they know, but they don’t realize that what they’ve learned is just propaganda. Even college education in much of the South doesn’t teach kids how to think or to question authority, especially not to question authority. (Which is something we do in our graduate program, but most of our kids have not had in undergrad.) The kids we get from regional publics in the midwest are far better prepared to deal with ambiguity and questioning what they’ve been told than most kids from Southern flagships.

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      • Of course they do! It’s all related. Lack of education, belief in subjugation to authority, laws against unions, keeping a big gap between the upper class and the working class, lack of access to fertility control (including birth control), early marriage, large family sizes, listening to Rush Limbaugh and watching Fox News, tithing, and so on. What’s sad is that it’s being spread to places like Wisconsin and the rust belt. You can’t blame a 22 year old for not knowing any better.

        It may be difficult for me to go back at the end of the year. My daughter is SO happy here where I’m doing sabbatical and she’s only 3. My son, I’m less worried about.

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  3. I just drove 1000 miles through the South, and probably saw >50 misleading anti-abortion billboards. So no, there is no shortage of misinformation out there, ffs indeed.

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      • I see two on my regular commute dropping my son off at school. They change them up every few months though, so I see different ones. Sometimes they’re targeted at African Americans (literally saying, for example, “Abortion is the #1 killer of black babies”), sometimes they’re more general. There’s also several near the Christian Pregnancy clinic where our town’s Planned Parenthood used to be, though not as many as when PP was there.

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  4. My expectations are so low that I was impressed that they actually permitted the textbook to be used.

    I was reminded of a conversation I had a few years ago when there was some extremely bad programming in the junior high sex ed class (an uncredentialed outside speaker, anti-birth control). A bunch of concerned parents and citizens met with the superintendent, who was sympathetic but pointed to the state law that dictated that abstinence was to be taught as “the norm.” What else could we do besides teach abstinence, he asked? As an ethicist, of course, I immediately said: “Talk to the students about what a norm is,” but didn’t get much traction.

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