Complaints from parents surrounding the age appropriateness of a sex education textbook for ninth graders titled Your Health Today, which includes references to masturbation and bondage, have administrators in California’s Fremont Unified School District temporarily shelving the book and reverting back to a textbook from the previous year until a decision is reached.
“I feel that it’s not age appropriate for these kids,” concerned and outraged parent Afsia Ahmed said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. She noted that she had read the book from start to finish and believed that it spoke mostly “aboutcollege kids. It doesn’t relate to these kids at all.” Over 600 people reportedly signed a decision to reverse course on use of the textbook.
On Friday, the school district’s Superintendent Jim Morris released a statement which recommended the Board of Education not use Your Health Today until the concerns of parents were further examined, the Chronicle notes.
Most sexual education curricula are meant to prepare youth for situations that may arise in their present or future, including the implementation of protection to guard against the possibility of sexually transmitted diseases. A study conducted by Iowa State University found that the average age at which youth could start engaging in sexual activity is 12, with that figure predominant among low-income kids.
“So if 12 years was the average age here, that meant that some kids were starting at 10 or younger,” said Brenda Lohman, an Iowa State University associate professor of human development and family studies (HDFS).
The 392-page Your Health Today describes “Erotic Touch” on page 249 of the publication’s 11th chapter. The text reads, “Touch is a sensual form of communication that can elicit feelings of tenderness and affection as well as sexual feelings. It is an important part of foreplay, touching that increases sexual arousal and precedes sexual intercourse.” On the bottom of the same page is a picture of pop star Lady Gaga which describes her songs as often featuring “provocative lyrics.”
In his statement Morris wrote, “Administration and staff believes the textbook will be an asset to ourhealth curriculum in that it provides the current, accurate, factual andrelevant information our students need to make responsible decisionsabout their health,” according to the Chronicle.
He continued, “I also recognize and respect the concerns of some of our families andbelieve this recommendation is a great compromise that will addressthose opinions while still working toward ultimately providing the bestcurriculum possible in our schools.”
Page 259 of the book features one “life story” from a girl named Madison. The story is about “Hooking Up.” At the bottom of the page are several colorful condoms.