The father of a 13 year-old girl who was upset by a classroom poster that listed sex acts was shocked to hear that the poster is part of her school’s health and science curriculum.
As local Fox News affiliate in Kansas, fox4kc.com, reported Tuesday, Mark Ellis said his daughter, a student at Hocker Grove Middle school in the Shawnee Mission School District, was “shocked” by what she saw on a poster on a classroom wall in school. Ellis said his daughter took a picture of the poster and showed her parents.
Originally, Ellis assumed the poster to be a student prank, until he called the school and discovered it was part of the curriculum.
“Why would you put it in front of 13 year-old students?” he asked.
The poster, entitled, “How Do People Express Their Sexual Feelings?” lists sex acts such as: Oral Sex, Sexual Fantasy, Caressing, Anal Sex, Dancing, Hugging, Touching Each Other’s Genitals, Kissing, Grinding, and Masturbation.
Ellis said after being told by the school principal the poster was “teaching material,” he is now concerned about what his daughter is being taught in school.
“It upsets me,” he said. “And again, it goes back to who approved this? You know this had to pass through enough hands that someone should have said, ‘Wait a minute, these are 13-year-old kids, we do not need to be this in-depth with this sexual education type of program.'”
According to Fox News, however, district spokeswoman Leigh Anne Neal said the poster must be viewed in the context of a bigger curriculum, which she identified as abstinence-based for students in middle school.
“The poster that you reference is actually part of our middle school health and science materials, and so it is a part of our district approved curriculum,” Neal said. “However the item is meant to be part of a lesson, and so certainly as a standalone poster without the context of a teacher led discussion, I could see that there might be some cause for concern.”
Neal added that the curriculum is similar to those used by other schools around the country.
“The curriculum it is a part of, it aligns with national standards around those topics, and it’s part of our curriculum in the school district,” she said.
In fact, the curriculum, titled “Making A Difference,” is published by selectmedia.org and recommended by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) as a “pregnancy prevention intervention.”
According to the publisher’s website, the goal of the program is:
…to empower youngadolescents to change their behavior in ways that will reduce their riskof pregnancy and HIV or other STD infection. Specifically, thiscurriculum emphasizes that young adolescents should postpone sexualactivity and that practicing abstinence is the only way to eliminate therisk for pregnancy and STDs, including HIV.
Module 2 of the program, which is called “Understanding Adolescent Sexuality and Abstinence,” offers “an overview of reproductive anatomy, discusses messages about sex, discusses how people express themselves sexually [apparently reinforced by the poster], and the benefits of abstinence.”
According to HHS, in the original study that explored the effectiveness of the Making A Difference program, the participants were African-Americans, aged 11-13.
Nevertheless, Ellis thinks the curriculum should change.
“This has nothing to do with abstinence or sexual reproduction, actually, a lot of these things,” he said. “I would like to see that this particular portion of the curriculum is removed from the school.”
As Fox News reported, Ellis said if the curriculum doesn’t change, he will remove his daughter from sexual education classes.