Last month a British agency released draft guidelines for voluntary educational standards where students as young as five years old would learn about “sex and relationships and alcohol.” No longer far from America’s shores, a similar proposal has been made in one Montana school district.
Todd Starnes, Fox News Radio reporter, writes that the new sexual education guidelines “under consideration in Helena would,” among other things,
- “Teach fifth graders [about various types of sexual intercourse].”
- “Teach kindergarteners about ‘basic reproductive body parts [by name]…”
- “Teach all grades that marriage is a ‘commitment by two people.’”
- “Teach first graders that ‘human beings can love people of the same gender & people of another gender.’”
- Teach that sexual orientation refers to a ‘person’s physical and/or romantic attraction to an individual of the same and/or different gender.’”
Second graders, according to the Helena draft guidelines (pdf) would learn about gay slurs and how they are harmful.
First graders would learn to identify “alcohol, tobacco & medicines as drugs” and differentiate between “what is & what is not medicine & it’s proper & improper use.” Then, in second grade, they would “identify various types of drugs (e.g., nicotine, alcohol & street drugs)” according to the draft guidelines.
According to the school website, the Montana “Accreditation Standards for Health Enhancement” adopted by the state Board of Public Education require that
- by the end of grade 4 students be able to “identify personal health enhancing strategies that encompass disease prevention,”
- by the end of grade 8, “explain relationship between positive behaviors and the prevention of disease; explain personal health enhancing strategies that encompass sexual activity and disease prevention,” and
- by the end of high school, “…explain impact of personal health on body systems, including the reproductive system; develop personal enhancing strategies that encompass sexual activity and disease prevention.”
“The content of the human sexuality component of a Health Enhancement program is a decision for the local school,” it states. “The content should reflect the values of the community. Whether the approach is abstinence-based, abstinence until marriage or abstinence only, the materials used should be age-appropriate and medically and scientifically accurate.”
What values would these draft health guidelines communicate? According to the draft, under the section “Influence of Family & Peers & Society,” second graders will learn that “individuals & families have a variety of values as it pertains to sexual behaviors.”
And in fifth grade, they will learn that “…love is not the same as sexual involvement or attraction although it can happen at the same time.”
The same year students would learn that “…individuals should not make decisions about sex based solely on what their peers are doing”
In seventh grade students are to learn that “child pornography is illegal.”
In eighth grade, they would learn “…that gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and heterosexuals can establish lifelong committed relationships,” and so on.
“I recognize that some of the topics addressed in the health curriculum are sensitive to parents,” writes Helena School District Superintendent Bruce Messinger online.
He stresses that “The curriculum committee considered best practices, state and national standards as they developed a research-based comprehensive approach to health education.”
“The comprehensive health education curriculum incorporates a wide variety of topics which will foster a healthy lifestyle for all students as they mature from early childhood to young adults,” he writes. “The lessons included in the health curriculum will maintain school environments that are physically and emotionally safe for students and adults.”
Citizens from the district have set up a petition to protest the draft language for the Helena Public Schools Health Enhancement K-12 Critical Competencies, according to Starnes. The draft guidelines will be open to public comment today, July 13, and the Trustees will take action on August 10th, writes Messinger.
Bethany Stotts is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.