In ninth grade, I took a summer class on health education. In it, we learned how to put on a condom, that being gay is okay and that trans people aren't freaks. My parents didn't bat an eye (except when I brought a lube sample home). Parents in Lafayette, CA, however are hopping mad that their kids learned how to say "no."
Lafayette is only about thirty minutes away from San Francisco, where I took all of my classes on health and safe sex, but according to what's going on there, the town may as well be situated on a time-space glitch, because the things that parents of 9th graders are so worried about are actually things that a) 9th graders should know and b) things they probably already do know because they have phones and the internet and those app things everyone keeps talking about.
We first reported on the pearl-clutching hissy fit parents in the Acalanes Union High School District parents had when they learned Planned Parenthood was going to be heading up sex ed lessons in local high schools back in November. Since then things have just gotten weirder and filled with more irrational, baseless paranoia. Fox News, who's been reporting on this scandal as it develops had a lot to say about the fact that public schools — and Planned Parenthood — are corrupting the minds of today's pure and impressionable youths who have never been on Tumblr and had no idea that people have sex before they're married. And these same parents believe that whoever was teaching the class was actually pressuring the kids to have sex.
Included in the materials provided to students were documents and worksheets that included a checklist entitled, "Sex Check! Are You Ready For Sex?" in which the 13 and 14-year-old students are asked questions such as if they have water–based lubricants and condoms and if they could handle a possible infection or pregnancy. Another worksheet reads like a how-to on obtaining consent from a possible sexual partner and offers possible statements like "Do you want to go back to my place?" and "Is it OK if I take my pants off?"
Uh, that sounds about right. Don't you want your kids knowing that they should ask for/give consent every step of the way? And if the kids are having sex, which they totally are, don't you want them to at least be prepared? Sounds like these worksheets, which literally ask students if they're prepared to face the consequences of an unexpected dalliance behind the bleachers, aren't inappropriate at all. Is the problem that they're not scary enough? Should the be scarier or what?
According to Fox News, Planned Parenthood should just not be involved because they have a habit of "putting young people last."
"[Parents] are very concerned," Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, a non-profit legal organization that is assisting the concerned parents, told FoxNews.com. "Planned Parenthood is not exactly the best when it comes to putting young people first.
"They get more grants from the promiscuity of children," he added. "The material they have provided was material that mirrored their agenda."
I seriously don't know if this guy actually believes what he's saying or whether he's just a very good troll, because while Planned Parenthood likely gets funding to educate young people about sex, nothing about the presentation sounds like anyone was doing anything wrong. And from the description of the materials, it certainly doesn't sound like anyone was saying "hey kids, this classroom is a safe space! Take off your pants and start experimenting now!"
But then there was another problematic subject that came up: That of gender and acceptance of people who don't identify as male or female.
They were also taught about gender identity with the "Genderbread Person," a play on the name of the holiday cookie, to teach them on how to identify themselves as either, "agender," "bigender," and "two spirit" to name a few.
These parents, who are so angry they're going to descend on a school district meeting tomorrow, haven't even stopped to think that what Planned Parenthood may have been teaching their children is tolerance of those that are different and providing valuable information to those among them who don't identify as part of the gender binary. Do they actually believe that just learning about gender identities other than male and female will ruin their childrens' lives in the same way learning about gay people might? Is there something going on with the water in Lafayette that is making people believe there's something wrong with acceptance?
One angry parent told Fox exactly why he was upset:
Lyons added that he and his wife were dismayed by how the students were instructed. He said valuable and factual information was delivered in a manner that seemed to promote Planned Parenthood's agenda regarding 'social justice' through sex education of teens."
Ah, social justice. I knew we'd figure out the problem eventually.
Image via Shutterstock