Tuesday, November 15, 2005

1st Grade topic: the "Birds and the Bees"

A new ruling has taken exclusive rights away from parents to tell their children about sex. Some parents of children in the Palmdale School District in California recently tried to sue the school for administering a "psychological examination" in which they asked 1st, 3rd, and 5th graders about their thoughts & feelings about "touching my own private parts," "touching other people's private parts," "thinking about sex when I don't want to," and "having sex feelings in my body," among other sexually related topics.

I now refer you to Al Mohler's Blog:

The parents sued the School District contending that the right to "determine when and how their children are exposed to sexually explicit subject matter" is a fundamental due process right. They argued that, as the children's parents, they have a fundamental right "to control the upbringing of their children by introducing them to matters of and relating to sex in accordance with their personal and religious values and beliefs." ...

[The judge disagreed. He determined that the right of parents to control the education of their children "does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door."]

Note carefully the final paragraph of Judge Reinhardt's decision: "In summary, we hold that there is no free-standing fundamental right of parents 'to control the upbringing of their children by introducing them to matters of and relating to sex in accordance with their personal religious values and beliefs' and that the inserted right is not encompassed by any other fundamental right. In doing so, we do not quarrel with the parents' right to inform and advise their children about the subject of sex as they see fit. We conclude only that the parents are possessed of no constitutional right to prevent the public schools from providing information on that subject to their students in any forum or manner they select." ...

Embedded within those sentences are landmines of tremendous legal significance. The public schools are now declared to have a right to present matters of sexuality to students of any age "in any forum or manner they select." This sweeping statement represents one of the most devastating assaults upon parental rights ever encountered in our nation's history ...

This claim takes on an additional layer of concern when it is realized that these were seven, nine, and eleven year olds. The subject matter had nothing to do with human reproduction, science, or any direct education of the children. -see the full article


Before long, will the government be able to directly remove children from their parents, based simply on the fact that their parents are teaching them religious beliefs? Why not forcefully ship them all off to a school where they will all be brainwashed to think exactly alike? That's not much different than telling parents they no longer have the right to raise their children based on their religious values, but the school system does. Are we becoming a communist country? I forsee private schools becoming more and more popular in the future.

23 Comments:

Blogger Jonathan said...

Sara, did Beasley or Shay ever tell you about "the shays and the bease?"

Tue Nov 15, 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger bethy31 said...

Most shocking and disturbing. The thing I hear my teacher friends talk about is how they want parents to be responsible for parenting their children. They also have parents yelling at them telling them not to parent their children. Teachers agree. Parents should be responsible for parenting children. However, when it comes to a decision like this, it sounds like the school system is saying they want to parent our children. Like so many things in our society, they can't have it both ways....even though they try.

Tue Nov 15, 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Bradley said...

This is an outrage. I am sick to my stomach. I know I should expect this from the secular culture, but for some reason it still jolts me. What if they decide to let the kids watch a video tape of real sex as part of a more thorough strategy of sex education? That's what they do with all the other subjects--why is sex any different? Were's just grown up germs trying to reproduce and survive right? It seems a "educational video" of this kind would fit under "any forum or manner." This is an outrage.

Tue Nov 15, 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

Dr. Mohler was on Focus on the Family this morning... you can catch it again on 94.7 FM at noon today, for you 'Ville-billies out there.. Good stuff and lets you know how to fight this as a US Citizen.

Wed Nov 16, 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Nunzia said...

I hope you are right... P.S. the graphic of the t-shirt was hysterical!

Wed Nov 16, 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Scooter said...

"Why not ship them all off to a school where they will all be brainwashed to think exactly alike?"

Sounds like... Nah, I won't go there...

Anyway, I can see both sides of this issue (like I can with most - the curse of being a fiction writer, I guess), but sex (and sex education) is something that extends beyond the religious realm. Many of the problems we have in our country (such as over-population, disease, poor health care, etc.) stem from a lack of knowledge of sex and all its ramifications.

Many parents tend to think that the best policy for teaching their children about sex is to keep them trapped inside a bubble for years and never teach them anything about sex. Nothing exists in a vacuum. Anyone who ever rode the bus to school can attest that children are constantly bombarded by sexuality on a daily basis (both vulgar and not). I think it is the school's responsibility to inform children about sex - the myths and the truths - so that they can be more educated about an issue that isn't just religious. It's societal.

I don't understand why people get so outraged about this. (Well, I see where they're coming from, I just don't understand it.) People are going to learn about sex, and sex isn't an evil, dirty thing. Children shouldn't be taught to bottle up their questions about sex - this leads to other problems, like thinking sex is a bad thing or being ashamed of your own body and/or sexuality.

It's at times like these when you can really see the influence of our country's Puritanical forefathers.

Sex is bad, m'kay.

Wed Nov 16, 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Scott I know you like the freedom to practice homosexuality (though you don't practice it) so I pose this question: how would you like it if you had a child who was taught at a public school that homosexuality is horrible and is typically a result of an abusive past, and that we should never be homosexual?

My bet is that you'd pull your child from that school.

Wed Nov 16, 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Let me clarify:

they were taught that as part of the curriculum

Wed Nov 16, 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

All things are "religious" to Christian "religious" people, because the Bible teaches that God designed all things--including sex. That means society itself is the design of God, as well as sex. If you try to separate society from religion, you just lost your religion (in a sense everything is societal--people don't function without other people). Nothing is "beyond" religion, because nothing is beyond CREATION--that which is created by God.

I agree Scott. "Religious" people shouldn't try to keep their kids in the kind of bubble you mention (that is, one in which they are never taught the truth about sex). However, along the same lines as J-Ballah's question, I was wondering: What about rape, having sex with your parents, pedaphilia, or beastiality? What if the school system taught kids that many people have these as their sexual prefrence and its "OK" becaause everyone is entitled to having their sexual prefrences.

[Of course some of these are against the law--but that's beside the point. The "law" forbids homosexual marriages in some places and not in others--it cannot be the objective and absolute standard for our sexual behavior.]

Would you be "outraged" if your kids were taught that it's OK to go home and have sex with their dog (it's not an uncommon sexual practice)? Don't you love your hypothetical kids enough to keep them from being "brainwashed" into thinking they should releive their sexual impulses however they want?...or do you not think their are any grounds to be "ashamed" of one's sexuality (i.e. sexual prefrences/actions)?

What do you think Mr. Scoot?

Thu Nov 17, 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger Kari said...

Interestingly this topic once again really goes back to the basics. 'Scooter' you say that "Many of the problems we have in our country (such as over-population, disease, poor health care, etc.) stem from a lack of knowledge of sex and all its ramifications."

First of all let me ask there are problems of over-population, disease, and poor health care in America? I guess you can argue that these problems are somewhat valid there. But how about in AFRICA (specifically Uganda)...where I live day in and day out?! Let me tell you about over-population, disease, poor health-care and how about AIDS! And these problems do NOT stem from a lack of knowledge of sex and all it's ramifications! These people know plenty about sex and it's ramifications (i.e. AIDS)as they see the ramifications lived out every single day. As 10 children are left orphans because AIDS killed their parents.

Children are taught about sex and AIDS in school here and this education has been going on for 10 years, however, things don't seem to change. Sure the new infection rate of AIDS in Uganda is down some, but I see over 300 new patients a month at our AIDS clinic! So what is the real problem? Not lack of education...but rather SIN! Imagine that...why is there disease (AIDS), over-population,and poor healthcare? Because of polygamy, rape, incest,adultry, fornication (a.k.a disobedience of God's laws).

These people KNOW that having muliple sex partners increases their risk of AIDS...yet they simply don't care. So are they just dumb people (their not ignorant cause they've been educated) or are they people that choose their own way even when they know what will give them life more abundantly? Sounds like a rebelious sinner to me which originates in the religious realm...what do you all think?

Thu Nov 17, 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Kari, I appreciate your international perspective. It's to easy for us Americans to get tunnel vision when it comes to our "issues."

The issue here from what I can see is parental rights -- that parents no longer have the right to control what their kids are taught. This will not only affect Christians, or even just parents of whatever faith; it will affect every parent who believes that s/he should have the right to decide what, when and how his/her kids learn about sexuality.

What about conservative Muslims who expect their daughters to dress modestly and be virgins when they marry, and want them to be taught accordingly? Or atheists who want to teach their children to value monogamy and to delay intercourse because their bodies are all they've got in this world? This isn't just a Christian/ non-Christian issue. It's an issue of who these children belong to.

Thu Nov 17, 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger Scooter said...

I don't want to be on the defensive, but I just want to clarify a couple of things:

1) I never said sex and sex education had nothing to do with religion; I said they went beyond religion, but still have something to do with people's personal religious beliefs. I meant that sex wasn't only a religious issue. While I'm very liberal on most issues, I'm not as liberal with sexual ones.

2) I never mentioned Africa. I know things are terrible there (my aunt, uncle, and cousin were missionaries in Senegal for years), but I was simply discussing issues in our country, which the last time I checked was a different country.

3) As far as what sexual preferences are "taught" as being "okay"... First of all, I will also set aside for the moment the whole "law" stuff, too (after all, there are still places in America with laws against walking down the sidewalk in red shoes with ducks in your pants). For me, sexual preference can and should be left up to the individual, as long as it abides by two rules - both parties are of legal age and both parties are consensual. This would include homosexuality (which I'm not against in any way), as long as both parties are of legal age, but would not include things like rape (both parties are not consensual), pedophilia (both parties are not of legal age, and it's almost never consensual), bestiality (both parties are not consensual), and some cases of incest (in most cases, both parites are not consensual or are of legal age - however, if a brother and sister of legal age want to get it on, let them have at it; it creeps me out, but it's their perrogative).

But, of course, I've never been of that Conservative/Republican/Christian mindset of thinking that I know everything and am always right and know what's best for everyone in every situation.

Fri Nov 18, 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Scooter said...

And, on a semi-related note (it is sexual in nature - you'll see once you see the picture), I just wanted to tell you, J-Man, that you are the winner of my caption contest. Come to my blog to see which one of your many captions took home the prize.

Fri Nov 18, 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Lorie said...

I don't understand why people get so outraged about this. People are going to learn about sex, and sex isn't an evil, dirty thing. Children shouldn't be taught to bottle up their questions about sex - this leads to other problems, like thinking sex is a bad thing or being ashamed of your own body and/or sexuality.

What outrages me, personally, about it is that kids who are 7 and 9 shouldn't even be THINKING about sex and/or whether it's good or bad at that age! It's a reflection of the state we're in as a society that kids that young are already bombarded with sexual images and references. It's true that parents should be talking with their kids by then, in the home, about questions that come up or words they've heard here or there, but they should not be being asked leading questions at school.

Fri Nov 18, 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Scooter said...

As my wife can attest (she teaches pre-K and kindergarten), children are very curious about things of a sexual nature (their bodies, other people's bodies, etc.). It's a natural thing. Any who played "doctor" as a kid knows what I mean. The surveys at that school may have been a little extreme, but the school and the home and the church should all be places where people can feel comfortable to discuss sex openly - children, teens, and adults.

Fri Nov 18, 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger adrian blackney said...

Nothing to do with this post but I almost forgot.

War Eagle buddy.

Hope you're doing well.

Fri Nov 18, 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Kari said...

By the way the only reason I brought up Africa above is because 'Scooter' said "Many of the problems we have in our country (such as over-population, disease, poor health care, etc.) stem from a lack of knowledge of sex and all its ramifications." So I was just giving an example that there has been a good bit of sex/AIDS education here in Uganda and the problems stated above have not decreased.

I am just saying that I don't personally believe that more knowledge of sex and it's ramifications will decrease the world's (both in America and abroad) problems because of what I have seen here in Uganda.

So while there may be valid arguments to allow 7 year olds to be asked what they think about 'touching other people's private parts'in school(although I don't personally believe there are any), I don't think the argument that an increase in knowledge of sex and its ramifications will decrease the 'problems we have in our country' is one of them. That's just my personal opinion.

Fri Nov 18, 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger Baconlover said...

Jonathan, Back to your first question (though it seems so off topic now), The Bease and Mama Shay never really gave me the "shays and the bease" speech. My mom was so embarrassed that I got my sex talk with her back to me (she was looking at a computer screen and playing tetris the whole time). I was 8. It was a very vague speech with no specifics except that if I had sex before I was married, it would hurt, but if I waited until I was married to have sex, God wouldn't let it hurt. Let me be blunt. I waited, and it hurt like nothing I've ever experienced before. So the Shayster was lying to me!! And I believed her for all those years :) All those years I could've been doing it and doing it and doing it well... (that's a song lyric but I don't know from what song - I think it came out in high school).

Fri Nov 18, 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Baconlover said...

As far as the post is concerned (teaching sex education in school), I do think that that questionnaire was a bit extreme - it's nobody's business how much a kid masturbates, unless the kid is doing it at school (a lot) and out in the open, in which case, that's a sign that the child may be being abused and the child needs help.

Children are naturally very curious about their bodies and the bodies of other children (they want to know why boys and girls look different, etc.) and a lot of times they'll ask very blunt questions about these things. As a kindergarten teacher I definitely try to be open-minded and never ridicule them about their questions or curiousity, but as their teacher, it is my responsibility to teach them proper social skills and appropriate behavior in public settings. Which is why if they are playing "doctor" on the playground, we talk about keeping our clothes on at school (and in other public places), or if they try to pee with the bathroom door open, I'll go behind them and close it. When I do these things, I'm not telling them that their bodies are dirty but that there are proper ways to behave in society.

In my classroom, the children are very curious about reproduction and they actually saw the lizards mating (not something we planned, it just happened - one of the boys said "Ms Sara, what are the lizards doing right now? They're funny!" and I looked over to find the lizards mid-coitus with an audience of several 5 year olds). But they learn from us the basics of reproduction for different species and they can infer that humans reproduce in similar ways. When they ask questions, we give honest answers - the key is not giving them too much information or more than what they asked for.

As far as parents' rights are concerned, I feel that it is the parents' responsibility to know the teacher and have a relationship with him/her so that they can discuss any questions the child has been asking in class, so that the parents can be prepared for those kinds of questions at home. Ultimately though, the teachers should always let the child know that if he or she ever has a question, the child can ask it and the teacher will give an honest answer. I don't think that takes away any rights from the parents.

Fri Nov 18, 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger jeff said...

This doesn't have to do with the post:

Jonathan, I am glad that you are standing up for what is right according to the Bible, regardless of how liberal our society has become. It is obvious that your love for God is deep when, even though faced with constant opposition, you determine to speak the truth in love. The scripture, "the righteous man shall live by faith, " is realized as you continue to rebuke relativism and "American Christianity", even when inconvenient (job-wise) or labeled as "close-minded" or "brainwashed". I'm proud to have you as a brother.

Mon Nov 21, 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

Mr. Scoot,

Thanks for your reply. I'm not offended that you don't believe the Bible and all (I expect it). I hope you are not afraid of a little exchange of ideas, or, a little perspective exchange. I never assumed you meant that this issue had nothing to do with religion, that's why I say "Nothing is 'beyond' religion, because nothing is beyond creation--that which is created by God."

The question, therefore is, not "How can anything be anything but religion?" but "How can anything be "beyond" religion if nothing is "beyond" God's design and God's purposes? I think that's a very appropriate question since you say this whole issue of sex education is "beyond" religion.

You say that something is sexually permissible when "both parties are of legal age and consensual." There are several legitimate intellectual criticisms which appear immediately with your approach to morality.

1) You still haven't escaped the whole "law" thing (in spite of your efforts). Who defines what the "legal" age is? The legal age in America or the legal age in Africa? The legal age in Columbia or the legal age in China? The legal age in countries with set laws or the legal age in countries with no defined "legal" age? "Legal" age wasn't always around--so does that mean that all sex prior to the invention of "legal age," there was no such thing as sexual immorality? If the government threw out "legal" age, would you change your definition of sexual immorality?

Tue Nov 22, 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Bradley said...

2) Your approach is purely arbitrary. You get it from no source outside your personal convictions (rooted in your cultural upbringing). But I'm not asking "What's right for you" or "What's right for Americans," I'm asking "What is RIGHT (for humans)?" For you to say that you really don't know what the right thing is for everyone in every situation is to say there is no such thing as sexual morality or immorality (just your personal preferences)--out the window with all your specified sexual parameters—rape is OK for some people in certain situations (like whenever they want), bestiality is OK for certain people in certain situations (like whenever and wherever they want), pedophilia is OK for certain people in certain situations (like whoever, whenever and wherever they want). If you say these things are not always wrong, yet you cannot give any definite and absolute boundaries, your morality is spineless and relative to each man's whim (i.e. it varies from man to man and situation to situation). In fact, if you say these things are ever wrong, you cannot apply this to anyone but yourself because your personal conviction do not come from anything objective, and therefore are totally based on your subjective opinion.

For someone who doesn't believe God has revealed a moral code, you sure have a well developed understanding of sexual morality. Can you show us some objective code outside your own personal convictions which confirms your strict definitions?

What do you think Mr. Scoot?

Tue Nov 22, 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger Morgan said...

ick...this makes me sick to my stomach too...

kari and bradley, i like your thoughts...

scooter, i want to respond to the comment "But, of course, I've never been of that Conservative/Republican/Christian mindset of thinking that I know everything and am always right and know what's best for everyone in every situation. " i used to feel the exact same way...i probably even used almost those exact words before...but now that I am a Christian i have realized this: the Christian does not decide and proclaim what is right and best for everyone...no, the Christian is one who humbles him or herself and accepts what God says is right or wrong...so if we want to point fingers, i think we ought to point them at Him. (except that He is the Creator, He is the potter and we are the clay, he is Justice, and Love and Truth...so pointing a finger at him may prove a bit difficult!)
but, i do agree with you, that the school (and the church, especially the church) does need to address some issues, including sex, because lets face it, some parents are bad/careless/uniterested etc. Some parents are teaching their children completely harmful and incorrect things to their children (like by molesting them) which are harming them, not educating them. however, the teaching described in this post completely crosses the line...not to mention that it is unethical to do "psychological research/examination" on children that young without parental consent. also, it is not constitutional to infringe on religous rights, like mine as a Christian to have some control over what my child is learning that might be contradictory to my faith....

I cannot help but feel that this is persecution (though it might be indirect) so i go back to what one of my sixth graders said a few weeks ago..."the greater the persectution, the more prevalent the Gospel and the Holy Spirit" so let us not fear, for the truth will win out eventually.

Wed Nov 23, 10:42:00 PM  

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