Patterico's Pontifications

1/25/2010

Texas Parents Object to Sex Talk at School

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 10:26 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Some parents at a Crosby, Texas, school objected to a discussion of sex with their 6th, 7th, and 8th grade daughters at a school assembly in which the speaker was scheduled to deliver a motivational talk. They may have good reasons — apparently the discussion was unplanned, unannounced, and graphic:

“At least two parents complained that [Shirley] Price discussed sex, said Randy Dowdy, director of school sports services. “They said it was graphic,” Dowdy recalled. News reports said the discussion included descriptions of how to perform oral and anal sex. Price, speaking through her pastor, declined to comment, but Pastor S.D. Siverand of the Galilee Missionary Baptist Church denied that she told students how to perform sex acts.

The school sent a letter from Superintendent Mike Bergman home with middle-school children Friday apologizing for the talk, which it described as containing “very sensitive and sexually specific information.”

In an ironic twist, it seems the speaker’s message was that the girls should abstain from sex:

“Dowdy acknowledged that sex was discussed, but said that much of the discussion was initiated by students.

Price, who is a trained counselor, learned that girls were being pressured to have sex and she took the opportunity afforded by the Jan. 15 meeting to exhort the children to abstain from sex, Siverand said.

“Someone took it out of that room and took it out of context,” he said. “It was twisted the wrong way.”

Price told the students oral sex is dangerous, he said. When several students said they did not know what it was, Price declined to explain it, Siverand said.

Other children in the room volunteered explanations, he said.

“Anal sex was never mentioned,” Siverand said.”

Parting thoughts: Modern media and culture tell us today’s sixth graders are as knowledgeable about sex as adults, but not all of them are … and doesn’t it seem odd that the school district spokesman is the “director of school sports services,” especially for a topic like this?

— DRJ

27 Responses to “Texas Parents Object to Sex Talk at School”

  1. The letter said that Price, who has overcome a physical disability to earn a doctorate, was scheduled to deliver a motivational speech to the assembly of girls. She had given a well-received speech at last year’s eighth-grade promotion ceremony.

    Does it change perceptions to know it was an all girls assembly?

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  2. The main problem with education today is the schools
    have usurped the role of parents. The federal government believes we are unable to raise our own children as we are not educated enough to know what isbest for our own children. Our children aren’t taught their parents know best. They are taught their teachers know best.

    It is very apparently time that parents regain control of the education of their children and schoolsonce again become institutions of learning skills. Leave the life skills to the parents that haveto deal with the real world everyday, which in no way resembles the world of today’s educators.

    PJPony (7c65d9)

  3. Kevin Jenning could have helped these kids out and motivated them as well, I’m sure.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  4. oh – I see your “daughters” now… but it seems a lot less… intrusive maybe isn’t the word…

    menacing?

    corrosive?

    out of line maybe… It seems a lot less out of line to talk about sex in a unisex setting.

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  5. i’m surprised the collective “EEEEWWWWWW” didn’t shatter windows for miles around.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  6. happyfeet,

    Having an all-girl assembly makes it somewhat better but that’s not enough for me. I feel for this speaker because she was presented with questions she wanted to respond to, but obviously the discussion ended up someplace completely different. That’s why, in my opinion, it’s better to follow protocols for when, where, and how the subjects are discussed.

    By the way, do schools still teach sex ed separately to boys and girls or is it co-ed these days? It was segregated in my day, and even then it wasn’t very graphic.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  7. I had a little of both. At school it was segregated but at the Christian sex education it was boys and girls together.

    The church one was vastly more graphic.

    Methodists.

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  8. Heh. My oldest’s Episcopalian class was co-ed and graphic, too.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  9. DeMille made a lot of “costume epics” where stuff that would never pass the Hayes Office in another film ended up on the silver screen since it was Biblically-accurate.

    AD - RtR/OS! (a1830d)

  10. in Catholic school it was segregated, and not very specific. they did go into the rhythm method in some detail, but, as i learned shortly thereafter, that was so there would be a steady supply of new Catholics….

    (i just found out how unreliable it was, rather than discover the *really* hard way. %-)

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  11. Need more info on what EXACTLY was said, and by whom, before making a judgment call on this one. If some of these girls were asking “if i have oral and/or anal sex, will i still be a virgin?” (a common question among this age group — listen to Dr. Drew!) then this is probably much ado about nothing. There’s no way you can rely on a third-hand account by an upset parent — not without corroborating statements or evidence.

    Icy Texan (858a9a)

  12. Is anal sex a home run with a muddy infield?

    Pinandpuller (938903)

  13. This reminds me of those anti-gay nuts that are all researched on various sexual practices and delight in describing them.

    imdw (d1609f)

  14. In a unisex setting as described I wonder two things (1)if the subjects of oral/anal were raised because some kids will try to make the case that those don’t “really constitute” sex.
    (2) how many of the kids had a parent who initiated a frank discussion about those subjects afterwards.

    In retrospect I suppose she could have asked for another assembly to discuss some of the questions raised with parental permission a prerequisite for attendance.

    Having two daughters, now in their twenties, who attended public school I would submit that if these subjects are not discussed before eighth grade they will get loads of bad information and by the time they are in 11th or 12th grade the parents may not be effective in preventing risky behavior.

    voiceofreason2 (8e6b90)

  15. As a reproductive health educator and someone who attended public school within the past five years, I can promise you that many of those 6th, 7th, and 8th grade girls are already sexually active and those who are not are incredibly curious. Many of them feel uncomfortable speaking openly with their parents about sex and their sexuality and instead turn to their equally misinformed peers. It is extremely important that their questions be answered correctly and honestly by a trusted adult. If Ms. Price gained their trust and respect well enough during her assembly to be asked those type of questions, I applaud her for answering them, rather than allowing for rumors and misinformation to be the leading source of sex “education” that these girls receive.

    And, nothing should be off limits. If the girls asked about oral and anal sex, it’s because they have already heard about it, been pressured to perform it, or have already been engaged in those activities and are seeking accurate information. That does not mean that a presenter needs to give a visual demonstration of the activities, but speaking openly and frankly about the issues these girls are facing should be commended.

    Rachel (0faf0e)

  16. I remember a 7th grade sex-ed “class” (all boys) that was limited to the teacher answering questions that were submited in writing. Needless to say, the range of questions was quite broad, and mostly from those who were already experienced and asking questions.

    I believe that there is a reasonable role for a school in discussing the topic, but that said it should be in cooperation with the parents, needs to respect where children/ youth are individually, and should not be done in a moral vacuum. In other words, nigh unto impossible in a pluralistic public school setting today.

    One would not want to teach a youth how to use a gun in a moral vacuum, so many would prefer not to teach how to use a gun. It may not be the best analogy, but there are proper and improper ways to use a gun with severe consequences. There are proper and improper ways to engage in sexual activity, also with severe consequences. Perhaps there could be some agreement on things which are out of bounds, like falling to peer pressure instead of making your own decisions, forcing someone against their will (whether by direct force or by emotional intimidation), the danger of reckless behavior of many types, and on the flip side modeling healthy relationships where youth can find encouragement and validation in more appropriate ways.

    Our society sure has enough negative input on sexuality. The other day I took my daughter shopping for a friend’s birthday party. Among other things we found, “Barbies” made to imitate the female leads in several James Bond films (complete in skimpy attire and the “imaginative” names) and “Women of the 80’s” Barbies such as Joan Jett and Debbie Harry. (Anyone want their 7 year old belting out, “I love rock ‘n roll…”). (Yes, there are worse things by far, I know). These were right next to the 1965 Barbie who was dressed as a teacher, giving the message that being a sex-symbol in a Bond movie is equivalent to being a teacher. Now, maybe some women may want to be a sex-symbol, and for some it was a start for a wide-ranging acting career, but I don’t think we want to model to young girls that being a sex-symbol is a worthy thing to aspire to, even though/ or especially because, they have no idea at 7 as to what that means.

    MD in Philly (d4668b)

  17. We are quite the stupidest country in the world when it comes to sex.

    Human beings are biologically ready to have children at about 14. A century ago when people lived only to 40 and began working when they were 12, that was fine. But in our modern world it just doesn’t work.

    We bombard our impressionable children with highly charged sexual images as soon as they reach puberty, then we somehow expect them to hold off from it, and navigate the topic without talking to them at all.

    And when schools try to address the topic because parents won’t, the schools are savaged by idiot parents – parents who won’t talk to their children about and don’t want anyone else to either, then are surprised and dismayed that we have such a high teen pregnancy rate.

    JEA (21fc43)

  18. And then there was this:

    Trustee’s speech to kids turns into sex talk

    But at least she admitted she made a mistake:

    Trustee: Sex talk’s time, place inappropriate

    Gotta love Texas.

    Mark L (3fc310)

  19. I agree with JEA that once upon a time the norm was more pre-sexual marriage than pre-marital sex.

    MD in Philly (d4668b)

  20. And, to prove my point, in two unrelated related stories on MSNBC, we have teen pregnancy rate up and on the same page, a list of the sexiest video games:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35071837/ns/health-more_health_news/

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35014101/ns/technology_and_science-games/?pg=2

    And, please, to whoever is going to suggest kids don’t have access to this kind of stuff – don’t insult my intelligence.

    JEA (21fc43)

  21. Human beings are biologically ready to have children at about 14. A century ago when people lived only to 40 and began working when they were 12, that was fine. But in our modern world it just doesn’t work.

    Then clearly the modern world is defective.

    If only there was a way to make sure most people attain emotional maturity at the same time they achieve sexual maturity. Can not a biochemist develop a drug for this?

    Michael Ejercito (b0a575)

  22. That would be difficult to do. To paraphrase from The Hangover, some people are too stupid to insult.

    JD (3e47ac)

  23. DRJ,

    One quick correction. The incident occurred at Crosby Middle School in Hitchcock, TX. Not Crosby, TX.

    jschan (4090b3)

  24. As a former middle school teacher and current elementary school teacher, these children should be spoken to about sex. As much as people like to say “Leave life skills to the parents”, the truth of the matter is that 80% of parents don’t have the life skills themselves to teach them correctly. Parents these days want to be their child’s best friend and that just doesn’t work. Your child isn’t your friend, and most kids do NOT want to talk to their parents about sex of all things. I have students who literally thought it was okay to have 4 kids by the age of 16 and live on welfare for the rest of their life. If we don’t teach them, who else will. I had a very close bond with my mother, and to this day at 25, I am still not talking to her about my sexual questions, I save that for my best friend and doctor. And in 6-8th grade, most girls aren’t going to the gyno yet, leaving the sex talk to a bunch of other young girls. They had the opportunity to ask without being as embarrassed and I’m willing to bet that most parents will get ideas that their child will be participating in these activities if they so much as ask a simple question. If they felt uncomfortable the student should have said “I feel uncomfortable and need to be excused”.

    AMM (987dcd)

  25. the truth of the matter is that 80% of parents don’t have the life skills themselves to teach them correctly

    — If it turns out that you pulled that statistic out of your ass, does this then constitute a discussion about anal sex?

    Icy Texan (3ae7ac)

  26. This story made http://detentionslip.org ! Check it out for all the crazy headlines form our schools.

    Hall Monitor (d012b1)


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