read more: Boston Herald
[password]Pay attention parents! It’s spring. And before you know it, Massachusetts public schools will begin their yearly sex-ed lessons for kids as young as 5.
Of course, they won’t call it “sex ed.” They’ll call it “health.” But a rose by any other name is still a rose.
Several years ago, my first-born came home from kindergarten with a notice about an upcoming anatomy lesson and a list of words that included not only penis and vagina, but also scrotum and vulva! She presented me with the list and a parental consent form, which I was tempted not to sign.
Friends with older children assured me, however, that the lessons would go right over the kids’ heads and that it would be more damaging to my daughter to pull her out of the lesson. OK, I thought, maybe I am overreacting. So I let it go.
My daughter never mentioned a thing about the lesson or ever used the words she had learned.
Phew, I thought. Bullet dodged.
Then came daughter No. 2. Not only did she come home and repeat the words over and over again, she used them in the most inappropriate places — like at Logan Airport, when on our way to Colonial Williamsburg she shouted, “Look, Mom! I think I see the plane to VAGINA!”
But that was only the beginning.
One spring, when my oldest was in third grade, she came home with a notice that the class would soon study HIV. The educational relevance was lost on me. What, I wondered, is the purpose of teaching 8-year-olds, many of whom still believe in Santa Claus, about a deadly, sexually transmitted disease?
When I inquired, school administrators politely informed me that the HIV lessons contained no references to sex. I was relieved, yet confused.
“Since HIV is primarily sexually transmitted,” I asked, “how can you possibly teach the subject and ignore the elephant in the room?”
The teacher explained: “Children need to know that this is out there, and that you can get it from other people’s blood. We teach them to be careful around blood and to have compassion for people with HIV. We focus on HIV as a status.”
A status? As in race or gender? It seemed a stretch.
Clearly, this lesson was bound to raise more questions than it would answer and had the potential to confuse, even scare. (Would kids now become terrified over a classmate’s paper cut or bloody nose?)
So, rather than expose my child to some half-truth in the name of political correctness, or a sex-ed lesson she was not yet ready to learn, I pulled her out.
Throughout the HIV unit, the teacher sent my daughter to the library to read her book. True to form, she never asked why. Another bullet dodged.
But, as you might have guessed, child No. 2 was not so easily distracted.
“Mom, everyone says we are learning about HIV tomorrow. What’s HIV, and how come you don’t want me to hear about it?” Thanks, public schools, for opening up that can of worms!
I can only hope that by the time my last two kids reach the third grade our town will have dispensed with this nonsense. But that is unlikely.
Indeed, when specifically asked why the school presents lessons on HIV in the third grade, rather than in middle school, one school administrator made this shocking admission:
“The goal is to reach kids before they absorb their parents’s values. By middle school it’s too late.”