Tuesday, March 10, 2009

An opinion regarding sex ed in grade school

A friend of mine who lives in England offered the following comment on one of my posts, asking for my opinion.

I would like to have your opinion on an issue. A grade school in England is going to give same sex education to children. One of the stories being used in the course is about "the story of two princes." Evidently, a prince has his pick of princesses from different Kingdoms. But the most eligible bachelor chooses a prince instead. And they live happily ever after. There are other curriculum literature in that same vein. You get the idea. A lot of parents are up in arms. They say that their kids are too young to be exposed to that message. But their threat to withhold their children's attendance on days specific to the course is now countered by the council's (responsible for local education) threat to sue the "offending" parents for unauthorized absence. Children's organizations are backing the parents, saying that they have the right to decide what is suitable for their offsprings, within reason. This is just one of the many "battlefronts" being opened in the educational establishment's search for a way forward in the 21st Century. I am with the parents on this one. To push "Little Katie with dad and dad at home" books down the throats of little ones is just absurd. I myself learned about homosexuality after going abroad in my late teens. For a time, I had strong prejudices against it. But I have come to accept homosexuals as people who have the right to choose their way of life. Why confuse children whose priority should be the three Rs, soccer, and brownies. It is alright to have fun; but the main purpose of schooling is to learn important skills and knowledge, not play around with gimmicks.

Ok, I have an opinion... as always...

When I was in grade school, the only sex education I got was when we were in sixth grade and the girls went to the gymnasium (which was also the room used for an auditorium and the cafeteria) to watch a movie about menstrual cycles. These girls were 11 to 12 years old - so that is an appropriate age to be sure that young girls understand what is to happen to them soon. My mother explained the facts of life to me at 9 years old, including the basics of what the word rape meant. My mom is to be commended for being open about sex, the sex act, and relevant sexual matters that a young girl would need to know about at appropriate times. She knew what I was ready for and when to tell me.

However (and I understand that these were the 1960's in a small town) homosexuality was not a subject that was talked about openly, and people were not willing to divulge their sexual preferences if it wasn't considered "the norm". In fact, I prefer it when even heterosexual couples were not sticking their tongues down each others' throats in public. Very young children should not see overt sexual behavior no matter where it comes from.

So - I was trying to remember when and where I learned about homosexuality. I can't place a time or date of when I learned or heard of it. I am guessing that I either heard talk about it at school (by other kids) or there was something said on tv. However it happened, I know I asked my parents about it.

Now, I can tell you, my parents weren't kind about these types of relationships. My mother's idea that it was an abomination was a bit extreme for me (it always seemed a bit too contrived, no matter how much one might use the Bible to buttress the argument), and my father's basic stance was if men and men or women and women were meant to be together, they'd be able to have babies with each other and create families.

I've come to the conclusion over the years that children should be taught to respect people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity - and yes, even their sexual preferences. (As a matter of common sense, this rules OUT pedophiles. I have no problem with the death penalty for pedophiles.)

As the parent of young children, it is my opinion that NO government agency has the right to usurp the parents' responsibility to teach their children what they wish them to know and when they wish them to know it, especially when it comes to such controversial and personal matters as sex education for children in grade school. I know this assumes all parents will be responsible enough to talk to their kids... and there are parents out there who are too embarrassed or just plain don't care what their kids know about sexual matters. But there is no excuse for a school to assume they know better than all the parents of these students.

My daughters will be taught by me - and not a school -- as to what I think they need to know and when I presume they are ready for it. Kenzie at an early age has seen some commercials where a woman holds the hand of another woman, and a man embraces another man - and her reaction was "EEEEEUUUUW! Boys don't belong with boys! And girls don't belong with girls!" Now, I've never taught her that, but she has seen examples in her every day life of man/woman relationships - including that her mommy is a woman married to a man - and of course, Disney movies always have the heroine marrying or falling in love with a man. Her genetic makeup so far has her crushing on boys (already) .

As for the school system threatening to sue the parents... I say bring it on, baby! As the parents of these children, I would find a really great lawyer and counter sue the school as a group (therefore spreading out the costs - unless one would be willing to do it pro bono) and take on the system. I cannot believe the arrogance and the bullying that takes place on the part of liberal systems such as these. And parents need - MUST - assert their right to be the guardians of their childrens' lives and make the decisions for the minor children in their care. The school system has no personal bond or interest in the kids. They only wish to push their agenda.

Keep the kids out for that day. I'm proud of the parents who want to stand up for their rights to be their kids' guardians of their innocence.

Like it or not, homosexuality is not the normal sexual development for the majority of folks. I've never, with just a few exceptions, have ever thought it a conscious choice, but rather a result of brain chemistry that went a different direction than what the majority of babies in the womb developed into. I have a brother who is homosexual. I always knew he was "different". As a young child, he was an incredibly unhappy person. Perhaps this is because he knew he wanted to be with boys and he intuitively understood that this wasn't a normal outcome for most males. But I can tell you that being homosexual is just what he is... not what he has chosen. When Kenzie and Jia are old enough to begin to understand, or when they ask the questions about same sex relationships, I will give them the answers. I will not allow a school system to force the issue on my kids.

Anyone willing to comment on this and you disagree with me, please be very specific about what your objections are - and do tell me how many children you have raised.


cabbagemintor said...

Thanks Julie, for your considered reply. Being Chinese, my mother refused to even mention the word up to this day (she is 92.) But some American girls back then (in the early 1970s) told me their moms were also very reticent. So your mom was "enlightened" by comparison. My nieces went to an all girls' private school. My sister had a choice of whether to let her children attend a screening and lecture on sex education around the age of ten. She allowed it though she never knew the content of the session. I think it is because she trusted that school to do the right thing. She talked to them about menstrual cycles etc. and later, how to protect and respect themselves and their own bodies. I would never dreamt of doing that because it is a mother's job, although we live together, and I am very close to the kids. I was very shocked when I heard about what is happening in certain quarters on this and other issues. Some schools are advocating "free spelling," meaning students should not be penalized for incorrect spelling. Some teachers no longer consider dressing properly to be relevant. Others want to be chums with the kids instead of figures of authority (maybe wanting to relive their lost youth?) We now have a whole generation coming out of high school not knowing how to read or write properly; behaving like yobs; and not wanting to get a job or going on to further education. Curiously, when some schools want to turn the tide of sloppiness and low expectation, parents themselves are crying murder, saying that their offsprings are "stressed" by the disciplines. Both sides must sit down and discuss openly what needs to be done and reach a consensus. In matters as personal as sex education, parents surely must be respected instead of being bullied. I understand that times have changed dramatically in recent decades, with new forms of communication, evolving nature of our societies, and increasing anxieties of our age. But there is also the timeless value of intellectual rigour, traditional wisdom, and sense of fair play. A good mother is always priceless in the nurture of our young, anywhere in the world and anytime in history.

fuzzandfuzzlet said...

In our district humane growth and development (umm yeah sex ed) starts in 4th grade. It is leveled each year offering a bit more information each year. It has been a while since I have reviewed the program, but I don`t think it talks about homosexuality. Hmmmm I will have to look into this, maybe it SHOULD.

My kids know some people are born gay, and some people may be born in the wrong body. I have no problem with the school teaching these topics.

Parents are allowed to come to the library before the classes are taught and review the information. You can also get the information on the district website and our local PBS station. ( I think)

Our school district sends home a note with specific dates the classes will be taught and allows you to opt your child out of the program. I think it is the parents right to opt their child out.

I had no problem with my son being a part of these classes, tho I did ask a lot of questions and clarify information at the end of each day.

My son is very scientific minded and for him it is all very scientific. This made it fairly easy for me to allow him to do the classes.

I may opt my DD out next year. She has some developmental delays and I am not sure she is ready for the amount of information they offer. I will have to review the program again next year and see what DH and I think.