I Sat In on My Son’s Sex-Ed Class, and I Was Shocked by What I Heard

My Son Responded by Standing Up to the Teacher’s Arguments with Science


When I had sex ed back in 2001, I heard horror stories about the girl who had sex for the first time, used a condom, yet was impregnated with twins and contracted HIV. I learned that condoms almost always fail, as does the pill, and that you may as well use nothing. Gay people? We don't exist. I trolled the teacher a couple of times, asking her about the female orgasm and what the fluid was when women ejaculate, "learning" that it is impossible for women to ejaculate. Basically, I was taught that sex is evil, disgusting and awful, and you should only share it with the person you love and are married to. And no wonder my school was full of teen moms.
Things won't really get any better until we get religion out of schools for real. Most sex-ed programs are vetted by non-professionals who let their personal beliefs cloud facts and science. School board members are voted into office by the same people, so if you don't bend to their wishes, you don't get voted into office. This is why I had my daughter go through a program called Our Whole LIves for sex education. Technically, it is provided by religious affiliates, but it is science based, comprehensive, inclusive and can be taught in a completely secular setting. Yes it teaches about pleasure, masturbation, anal and oral sex, and all sorts of stuff about consent. It also teaches self responsibility. Your body, your decision. I wish this program was available to all students.
where the fuck is this happening again? we had more enlightened sex ed from an old crew-cut gym teacher in 1978.
Alice, you're awesome.

As @Max Solomon did as well, I too took sex ed from a crew-cut gym teacher (in 1988) that was far more enlightened than this. Perhaps it was the focus on AIDS prevention at the time, but it was condoms condoms condoms all up in that 9th grade portable.

The Scopes Monkey Trial was nearly 100 years ago now, we really need to have a sex-ed version of that and settle this shit.
Your kid sounds like an inspiration. Good you him and for you.
I went to school in Britain in the 1970s. Religious Education was legally required to be taught, but schools were allowed to take a very broad definition of it. From ages 13-16, that class consisted of a vast array of socially useful info, from how to write checks, to how to distinguish between good and bad recreational drugs, to sex (mechanics and etiquette). I don't remember any actual religion coming into it, once I attained teenage years. It was awesome.
Ah, the classic, "Who ya gonna believe? Me or your lyin' eyes?" approach.

'Abstinence only' education has been around since Christianity became the (enforced) religion of the Roman Empire. How well it has worked, how well indeed.

Everyone is starting to figure out what I've been trying to say for the last 15 years on these blogs.

If he challenges today's "facts" tomorrow, have him point out that the 18%ish failure rate for condoms is *per year* not per sex act. Also, that includes people who say they intend to use condoms as their method of birth control, but don't use one every time. I remember being told, as a teen, that "condoms fail 1 in 7 times - and you'll want to have sex more than 7 times!!!" and that lie makes me angry. (That was from a speaker from the "True Love Waits" virginity pledge campaign.)
My mom did HIV counselling in the 80's when I was in high school. In Kennewick. Mom said don't bother with listening to anyone trying to teach sex ed in high school, gave me a bag with 300 condoms, and told me to give them out to all my friends.
One sex ed film we were shown in high school showed a young lady who was in tears. She said "I thought saran wrap and a rubber band would be enough!" That was in 1986.
Is this Seattle Public Schools? Because I find this hard to believe if it was.
I had sex-ed in Seattle Public Schools in the mid-90s. We leaned condoms (volunteers from our schools CAPE chapter demonstrated on a banana), we saw STD slides, we saw the miracle of birth and some other stuff. The ethics of sex was rarely talked about, neither was marriage. I think, overall, abstinence was stressed, but not on moral or ethical grounds, mostly a "the quality of the sex is commensurate with the quality of the relationship" attitude.
@3 It's sad that you're right.

My 1978 "sex ed" was from our wrestling coach who was a WWII D-Day veteran. The guy had forearm tattoos of anchors that were not ironic.

One of his choice quotes as he handed out condoms:

"If one of you little selfish assholes manages to convince —God knows how — a real live woman to have sex with you, then for god's sake wear a condom. Don't you curse one these nice girls with your hell spawn... or what ever creeping crud crotch rot you got going on down there."
Thank you for doing this. You are great.
This is what happens when you government.
Liberals don't seem to connect the fact that they are an ideological minority in many areas also means that the government will side with the ideological majority.
If you want your children's education to mirror your views and you are a liberal in a conservative area, you need to home school.
She teaches at Northwestern, in Evanston, Ill., which as she says is a liberal college town. Strange.
@4 "The Scopes Monkey Trial was nearly 100 years ago now, we really need to have a sex-ed version of that and settle this shit."

The Scopes Monkey trial didn't settle a damn thing. I live in Louisiana, where the governor is officially in favor of teaching "creation science" in public schools, and where a law mandating that was recently allowed to remain on the books, despite being declared unconstitutional by SCOTUS in the eighties! http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2…
BTW--I'm not sure whether the point was overlooked or was too obvious to mention, but going after the girl who says "no" is not only slut-shaming, but it promotes rape culture. The assumption is that "no" really means "later" or "maybe."
@14 Right there, that should be the absolute minimum requirement for a sex-ed class. God bless that old salt.

Hey, Ms. Dreger, you know what would be useful? If some sex educators got together and developed a suggested curriculum, then got it blessed by the AMA, CDC, a couple of professional psych and sociology organizations, and some city and state health departments. And then marketed it to school boards as a science-based program they should adopt. I wonder why no one has?
@10 Damn. You had a very wise and very cool Mom.
@19 this is a huge leap of the imagination. the dude didn't rape his eventual wife
I had sex ed in a tiny Christian school in small-town Alabama, where by "sex ed" I mean a one-hour, one-time-event, single-gender, abstinence-only class that was entirely opt-in, with signed parental permission. Even then, with all those qualifications, some parents refused to allow their kids to attend, and they spent that period that day in the office hanging out. It was overall terror-based, much like this class seems to have been (we got the same hellfire-and-brimstone preaching in weekly chapel and especially the yearly revival services, so it really wasn't that remarkable for that by then). The one detail that stands out, though, is the "instructor" passed around a box of Hershey's kisses, all different flavors/wrapper colors, to all the girls in the class. We each picked out the one we wanted, and then got told that if we had a gold-wrapped one we had chlamydia, if we had a striped one we were pregnant, etc. etc., on down the line. There was a single silver one in the box, and the girl who picked it escaped sex unscathed... then was forced to pick another of a different color to represent the next time she had sex.

Thankfully, the internet existed or I would have never figured this stuff out until well into college. Did make it funny to hear the other girls' high school stories of terrible sex, though, and think, "Do you not know you're supposed to use lube for that?"
@16: I don't expect education to mirror my political views, nor anyone else's. I expect it to mirror the evidence. That means schools should teach students about evolution by natural selection, not creationism; the heliocentric solar system, not the geocentric universe; and comprehensive sex ed, not abstinence-only sex ed.

@17: As a diehard Evanstonian myself, I'll say that Evanston is pretty liberal and parts of it are very college-town-y. If you're ever here, make sure to stop by Edzo's for a burger and pay your respects at the Fountain Square war memorial.
This isn't Seattle schools for sure. SPS uses FLASH (Family Life and Sexual Health, worst acronym ever), which is written by the King County Department of Health. It's a pretty comprehensive curricula, though it is pretty hetero-normative and some of the definitions it uses I'm not so fond of (intercourse is PIV, rape is forced intercourse, but it might be a legal definition they were using, I'm not sure). There are some asinine lessons and some terrible graphics (the apple metaphor is horrible), but overall it's got decision making, asking for what you want, reasonable information about birth control and STI prevention, always circling back to abstinence is safest, but not lingering there. FLASH is used in a couple of other districts I know of as well. If you search "FLASH King County" the curriculum is available to look at online, and goes from elementary through high school.
@20- they kind of have. The Office of Adolescent Health, the Family Youth Services Bureau and the CDC all fund programs that have been found, through rigorous evaluation, to be effective at something (delaying sexual initiation, improving condom usage, delaying # of partners, etc.) They also fund programs to develop and rigorously evaluate programs. There can't be a one-size-fits all curriculum. Communities are different, so it's good to look at a program that has an impact on what you (or you're stakeholders) are interested in, and among a similar population to the one you serve. The problem is that FYSB and, to a lesser degree, OAH *also* fund abstinence-only programs (and worse, those that adhere to the freaking A-H criteria of abstinence with such gems as requiring that program teach that abstinence is the expected social norm, with serious psychological and social consequences if you don't abstain. Given that 95%+ don't abstain, I'm really curious about these serious consequences... but I digress). Anyway, here's the searchable database of evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs: http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/oah-initiativ…
This took place in East Lansing, Michigan, home of Michigan State University. For confirmation of location and a truly appalling take on Dreger's live-tweeeting (OMG! There was swearing! My ears! My ears!), see: http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story…
To be honest though - let's not pretend like abstinence only sex Ed is really that wide spread. I would have appreciated education that told me not to be influenced by what others were doing. I felt like I had to have sex before the end of high school bc that's what everyone was doing and I would have appreciated a different point of view that made me feel comfortable waiting if I wanted to. I hate this idea that is being perpetuated by a subset of liberals that religion is the source of so many problems in this country to further their own agenda. The faith I grew up with was critical in shaping my values and integrity in such positive ways and I'm thankful for the role that my youth faith community played in keeping me on track in high school that helped me get into Stanford and graduate school, starting a non profit and other community work. Let us look at the good in all belief systems, let people believe what they want to believe and truly promote tolerance of ideas. Let us not become the intolerant people we claim to be fighting against. I'm a democrat and a lesbian btw.
@28 It has nothing to do with removing or diminishing your beliefs. It has to do with people who feel entitled to impose their beliefs on others, on a subject that is scientifically based.
We've gone backwards, I graduated high school in 81 and the sex ed was way better than this garbage. This makes me ill, couldn't get through the whole article. This was a suburban district, Cincinnati Ohio.
The time to challenge the curriculum is before it starts, or privately with the teachers, not during class. I am sure parents were notified in advance that the class would be happening, it sounds like she was looking to be outraged. It is hard to know if the class really was as bad as that or if she picked out her "favorite" pieces.
I can understand a high school pushing abstinence for freshman, who are 14 and 15. But of course they should teach how to use a condom... they probably did. That would take like 5 minutes tops.
And what kind of crazy high school lets parents attend the classes, and potentially participate!?! What kind of crazies would show up to history or science classes? This whole story seems kind of "off" to me.
I'm a parent of one of the students in the class and THANK YOU for doing this! Most of the sex ed in the district doesn't seem nearly so bad and it's mostly this guest teacher (and I am wondering how much our district is paying these "experts"). I offered to excuse my kid from that class while this stupidity goes on, but s/he's working on an article for the school newspaper and wants as much info as possible. Although it does sound to me like maybe most of the class might be better served being excused from class and then reading & discussing the journal articles your son has found!

But bottom line, thank you for bringing this to our attention. This is ridiculous and I'm not going to be quiet about it.

(Oh, and according to the state regulations that the district posted on the website while in damage control mode, the scissor thing wouldn't be allowed because by Michigan state law, schools are banned from teaching abortion: "Clinical abortion cannot be considered a method of family planning, nor can abortion be taught as a method of reproductive health. (§380.1507) “Reproductive health” means that state of an individual's well-being which involves the reproductive system and its physiological, psychological, and endocrinological functions. (§380.1506) " So if you had done that, not only would you be banned from the school, but you would be breaking state law!!)
@Clayton: going after the girl who says "no" is not only slut-shaming, but it promotes rape culture.

The point is that you pursue a relationship with a woman who says "no" (saving sex for your wedding night), but not with a woman who says "yes". It's sex negative, it's slut shaming, it's fucking stupid, but it is not promoting rape.
Seriously, you only need to know two names when it comes to abstinence only sex-ed..........Sarah Palin and Bristol Palin.....'nough said!
Do you really expect anybody to read half of that self-important tome?! I couldn't. I suggest you and all parents have ongoing conversations about sex and love and relationships and drugs and alcohol with your child(ren). It's not a one-time conversation, and no parent should leave sex ed up to schools. It's your job as a parent to have the difficult conversations with the people you bring into this world.

My son and I were fortunate enough to have Loveline on the air most evenings and that insightful and poignant and eye-opening show sparked many conversations. Whatever you can find to help.

And who on earth sits in on their kid's sex ed classes? That's not healthy attachments.
Actually, the biggest culprit in sex ed is failure to mention what "18%" and "2%" condom failure rate actually means. IT MEANS ANNUALLY, PEOPLE. That means, per YEAR with "normal usage" like once every 3 days, you have a 2%. NOT 2% PER SEX SESSION.

As a kid I remember wondering "wow, 2% is still a lot and you're almost guaranteed to get pregnant in a year". It wasn't until I looked up the actual statistic online that I discovered it was PER YEAR. That's something they conveniently leave out.
@16. Please stop. You're harming everybody. Just go to the mirror, look into it, and try saying out loud, 'There is such a thing as reality, and I can understand a little of it.'

Our cultures ridiculous majority concept of sexuality are a mayfly that I accidentally ate this afternoon on the way back from the grocery store compared every swarm of mayflies ever.

When you are immersed in an ideology, it's difficult to imagine that rationality and compassion could overcome the motivation to prove the 'other' wrong. We don't have to be apposing armies. You're assumptions about people on the left, stop any positive social gain acquired through rational inquiry and compassion. It's not ideology. We're not going to plant a flag in anyone's castle. Facts are for everyone. And they don't change based on who wields them to get their way.

Let's just give kids the tools to prevent STD's and unwanted pregnancies.If those tools are the truth, that's fucking fantastic, it means that people aren't as stupid as we've been led to believe. You don't have to lie to people to make them do the right thing. Who thought it could be so?

Pretending that finding and telling the truth is an ideology is a shallow, stupid, and sadly tolerated in media , lie. There is such a thing as fact. Peer-review has kind of put man on the moon and cured thousands of diseases with that. If you want to pretend that fact has an honored and equal nemesis in so-recent-it's-funny Christian-associated sexual-morality, you should go look in the mirror for a bit.
"The point is that you pursue a relationship with a woman who says "no" "

So it's merely promoting stalking? Well, that's fine, then.

And are you sure boys who have been taught to ignore a woman's "no" in one, pretty crucial, circumstance will never extrapolate that women say "no" when they don't mean it in others?
@31 - Right on. I'm all for science based sex-ed education and so forth, but the bottom line is you just don't walk into someone's workplace and start yelling and cussing. That goes double/triple for the classroom. That's just not how adults are supposed to behave, enough if the person you're talking to is wrong.

Also, I would have been appalled at the idea of having my mom sit in on my health class in high school. This is helicopter parenting to the extreme. It's this type of entitled, assholic behavior (from all ends of the political spectrum) that keeps good teachers out of the classroom.

If you don't like the guest speakers your school brings in, the solution is to volunteer to be a guest speaker in the future, not to go apeshit in front of a class of high schoolers.
Should have proof-read:
*enough is "even if"
I grew up in a conservative, non-US culture, where sex-ed was left to my parents, not my school. That culture promoted the idea of abstinence, although the opposite happened with many kids. In my case, I married a fantastic, sexy, intellectual woman (she has a PhD from a great U.S. school), and we were each other's first sex partners. We have frequent and great sex (genuinely). Where am I going with this? I ask that you realize that other people may have opinions that differ from yours. Abstinence for sure is not the only option, nor is it the most likely/logical, but for many it is a goal. For many it is something that they aspire to. But I realize that for others, such as yourself, the opposite may be true. I agree that we need to be realistic, but that implies that we could give kids options, and not blast them with only the left or the right.

I did find your mention of abortion and to some extent, anal and oral sex, as telling of your attitude and approach. A "let's stick it to them" approach. Perhaps you were just very angry at all of this, but it again appeared to me as somewhat condescending towards others' opinions. And that your son should have sex with as many partners as possible, that he owes that experience to his eventual marriage partner, is 180 degrees counter to what I believe. I have yet to meet a man who wishes that his wife had as many sexual partners as possible to improve her skills... sex remains an extremely initimate experience, but also a base instinctive experience. Yes, it is an amazingly pleasurable experience, but at it's root it as intimate as you can get. Sharing that intimacy with many, in my opinion, dilutes it's impact. But I do realize that I open myself up to flaming, as a conservative guy in a liberal blog.

All I ask is that you realize others, whether you like it or not, may disagree with you. And yes, the teaching should protect our kids more as far as taking precautionary measures are concerned, but at the same token, I disagree with your stance of "let it rip, enjoy as many as you can, that one special person is doing the same". To me, having sex with my wife is a mind-blowing experience because of the physical intensity, but also because of the exclusivity.

In any case, just my opinion. And yes, science says a fig or citrus tree will not survive in our climate, but I still plant one and shelter it in winter because that is what I choose to do.
What if it was box 271???
Most of the article was good, but this bit was pretty gross:

"(2) Marrying someone who you haven’t had sex with is a potential disaster. How do you know if you’re sexually compatible? (3) Whomever you love enough to marry deserves to have you well-practiced at sex before you marry."

Are you aware that asexual people 1) exist and 2) get married? Sexual compatibility and fulfilment aren't important to everyone, and that's okay. Some people don't ever want to have sex, and they have just as much of a right to meaningful and fulfilling marriages as anyone else. Shaming people for saying no is just as bad as shaming them for saying yes.

(Furthermore, some people are polyamorous or have open relationships. No one "deserves" sex from their spouse in the first place, but the idea becomes even sillier if you recognize that marriage doesn't actually mean forcing your spouse to promise not to have any other sexual outlets.)
I was with you until you starting defining people by which party they vote for. Obviously, because I vote for Republican, I must be a crazy, prude Catholic. If you're going to call yourself liberal, at least pretend to be open minded about everything instead of limiting it to standing up for your opinions.
"(3) Whomever you love enough to marry deserves to have you well-practiced at sex before you marry." Can we please stop this line of thought right now. Not everyone wants to have sex, not everyone falls in love and wants to have sex, LOVE DOES NOT MEAN SEX. Marriages can exist and be healthy without the two people involved having sex. Have I repeated this enough times? No, the idea that the person you marry deserves any sort of sexual thing from you is wrong, guilt trippy, and doesn't take into account that some people don't like sex.
I graduated from a SPS high school in 2008. While they may have been using the FLASH curriculum, the only lingering memory I have is our high school gym teacher/wrestling coach passing around expired Plan B and showing a few outdated movies. There is vast, vast room for improvement in the 'comprehensive' sex education curriculum...that being said I was fortunate enough to have an onsite clinic that willingly doled out awesome birth control from registered nurses who had a much better grasp on reality :)
Hahaha, "Ken Mehlman"!!

I went to college with the real Ken Mehlman, and he was nothing if not openly hostile toward women and gays. Still deeply closeted, he was well-known for writing letters to the editor under the sign off "M.A.T.R.E.S." -- I can't remember what the acronym was supposed to stand for, but it was meant to mock the LGBT group MATRIX. A feminist group that occasionally walked around campus at night in white sheets, carrying candles, to protest campus sexual violence he was particularly vitriolic against. I was a pretty outspoken woman, and he accused me of being in that group. I said, "I wish! I haven't been invited."
I agree with almost everything you wrote, save one. The delineation and generalization of Liberal versus Conservative. I am a Conservative, as are my parents. And they taught me about sex in a very similar way to how you are approaching the subject. No one side has ownership of being scientific, rational, and open with the subject of sex. Most unfortunately, no one side has carte blanche on being zealous, bigoted, and small minded either. Until we as Parents, not Liberals or Conservatives but just PARENTS, come together and as a whole try to create an educational system for sex that isn't based on fear, shame, and guilt we will have to contend with misinformation, scare tactics, and propaganda.
I agree with you, Kane8404. And I'm a liberal.
@22 and 34: My comment about promoting rape culture was prompted by this part of the article:

"He actually said that. If a girl says no, 'that’s the one you want.'

Silly me! I have been teaching my son that if a girl says no, you exit politely and get the hell out of her space."

The message is that a man should continue pursuing the woman who says no. As Green Lizard noted @39, "are you sure boys who have been taught to ignore a woman's "no" in one, pretty crucial, circumstance will never extrapolate that women say "no" when they don't mean it in others?"

Maybe the sex-educator didn't rape his wife. I would hope he didn't. But the message he's still sending is that a woman's "no" should be regarded as an enticement, not as a refusal. I would prefer the message to be, "no means no."

And here's a crazy thought: if a man thinks a woman who agrees to premarital sex is disqualifying herself as a potential partner, maybe the man shouldn't be asking for premarital sex in the first place.
I went to school in both England and India (and my school in India was a Christian school) yet neither school taught abstinence only sex-ed. We were taught how to put condoms on properly and about all the various other forms of birth control. We were also taught about STDs, what they look like and what the symptoms usually were and how condoms are the only form of birth control that will stop STD transmission. All this was in both the secular school in England and the Christian school in India, so religion had nothing to do with it! I don't understand how America is still so far behind when it comes to teaching sex-ed! Even if the teacher is someone who personally believes in abstinence, they still know that teaching abstinence only sex-ed is just going to lead to more teen pregnancies and a spread of STDs.
I respect and share most of the ideas but, why if a girl says "no" you have to exit politely? I think the abstinence thing is black and your position is white, but what is wrong with greys? If a girl is not ready to have sex, her partner can decide even if he wants to wait or not, why to teach your son he has to escape? That's so silly as well. Respect, as you said, is also to do not shame a girl who decides no.
@42, 44, & 46: Thank you.

I'm one of those apparently super rare entities: a female virgin in her 30s. It just never happened for me. No one ever brainwashed me to believe that sex was evil or that abstinence was the only way; my mother told me what sex was when I was in elementary school; I had a good sex ed class in high school that taught about condoms, female condoms, IUDs, and the proper use of all of these; and it's not that I don't like people. It just never happened for me, and it really sucks to be in a culture saturated with sex and then be told that on top of that I'm somehow doing a potential future partner a disservice by not going around having sex. Too much sex and you're a whore, no sex and you're a loser, and now inconsiderate to boot! Sheesh! As if I didn't feel bad enough about being a virgin at my age!
So, who the hell is "Mrs. Thomas?" She obviously has an agenda. Name and shame so the rest of us can ensure that our schools do not allow her or her cohorts near our children.
We had these "helpers" in our sex-ed classes out in Marysville back in the late 90's. Very similar to the stories here.

They came in to tell us the following lies:
- that condoms fail all the time,
- that condoms have holes in them (and thus don't stop aids)
- that all sex outside of marriage is icky and will result in diseases and pregnancy
- that your virginity should be a "wonderful gift" to your future spouse

This last point was hammered in to us again and again.

The result? Significant amounts of teen pregnancy, including our class president.

For me it was a different horrible effect though... even though I personally didn't believe all of the things they told me, it had a subconscious effect of pushing me to avoid sex and relationships (I was already unpopular, but these ideas didn't help). I ended up waiting until my late 20's until I had a real relationship, and I actively sought another virgin... because by that point I was afraid no one else would actually accept me.

We waited until marriage for sex and it was of course a total disaster. We were completely incompatible and ended up struggling for two years to try and make things work before it ended in a messy divorce.

Now I am in my mid thirties, trying to start over and finding that no one has any interest in some poor fool who waited too long.

Don't want your kids to end up lonely and depressed adults? Teach them real sex ed. Don't teach them that virginity is some kind of prize they need to keep safe for their future spouse. Its something no one wants! You will only end up turning them into a really fucked up adult that can't manage to get into any kind of romantic relationship whatsoever.

I'm torn between "teach your kid to pick his battles" and "holy shit, that class sounds awful."

My Catholic high school had a far more progressive and scientifically accurate sex ed curricula.
Argh!!! Condoms do not have an 18% failure rate. Couples who have sex for an entire year, using no birth control other than condoms, have an 18% chance of pregnancy over the course of that year based on typical use - which includes couples who use condoms sometimes, but not all the time. In reality, assuming an average of PIV sex once a week (which is probably low), condoms have about a 0.38% failure rate per use, and that's including "condom use" where a couple doesn't actually use a condom. (I'm just taking the 52nd root of 82% annual effectiveness, which is a quick-and-dirty calculation that doesn't account for the distribution of pregnancy occurances over the course of that year, multiple pregnancies for a given couple, etc. but the point is to show that the annual failure rates for couples are very different than a per-use rate.)
And using the same quick-and-dirty calculation, condoms have a 0.04% failure rate when used correctly.
I am not sure it is fair to say that whoever you end up marrying "deserves" someone practiced. No person deserves more from you than you are willing and able to give. It seems pretty strange to me to wait until you are married to have sex but waiting to have sex to get married isn't necessarily a one size fits all approach. Maybe mention the fur suit first if it is a requirement (you should probably discuss your sexual interests even if they are pretty pedestrian) but if you aren't already "practiced" you shouldn't underestimate the value of practicing on each other (or other fun compromises!)
@36: "Do you really expect anybody to read half of that self-important tome?! I couldn't. I suggest you and all parents have ongoing conversations about sex and love and relationships and drugs and alcohol with your child(ren). It's not a one-time conversation, and no parent should leave sex ed up to schools. It's your job as a parent to have the difficult conversations with the people you bring into this world."

Actually, if you read all of that "self-important tome" you would realize the problem. I agree that parents should have ongoing conversations with their kids about these topics. However, when the school brings in "experts" who present information that is clearly wrong, yet tell the class that only they can be trusted and that parents are misinformed, there is a seriously problem. It is hard to have ongoing conversations with your kids when authority figures at school are saying you are misinformed and not to be trusted.

Not to mention, she says she has had those conversations many, many times with her son. It was because of those conversations that he was able to recognize the BS they were being fed in the class and brought it up to her. Which brings us to...

"And who on earth sits in on their kid's sex ed classes? That's not healthy attachments."

Again, if you had read the whole thing, her son WANTED her there so that she would see how bad the class really was. I think if your child says they are being taught information that is wrong and dangerous, and he wants to present counter facts to the teacher but would like you there both to see just how bad it is and to have his back when he tries speaking truth to power, a good parent would be there even if it is awkward and weird sitting in on your kid's sex ed class. Reading the whole article, there's many clear signs of a very healthy attachment and relationship.
I was one of those "teen moms". But not the typical ones we know of today on TV. I was on the pill for health reasons. But it did not work at all to prevent pregnancy. I had been engaged to my babies father for a year when I got pregnant, and had made it clear when we got engaged we would not be married until I finished high school. I had older sisters who dropped out & saw how hard it was. I was in the Top 5 in my class, honor roll, student council, band, choir, you name it. But I got pregnant anyways, and almost everyone (including my principal & most of the teachers) turned their backs on me and said some really horrible things. Thankfully my parents, family & a few close friends didn't. When I read the part about "Jerry's" horror story, it made me really upset. I wasn't a slut back then anymore than the "bad girls" who say yes are now. Geezzz people! It is NOT ok to bully someone and not treat them with respect like a human just because they got pregnant young! I thank heaven for my children everyday.
P.S. - I would have yelled & cursed too lol ;)
Clearly you are just as biased as the teachers. There is nothing wrong with teaching abstinence. If people want to wait until marriage to have sex, that is their choice and they should not be shamed for it by you. The issue is teaching ONLY abstinence. There are many sexual choices that someone may make. You can't just present one side of the argument. People need to know how to use a condom and how to use birth control. They need to learn this in their sex ed classes. You are right, but your comments about abstinence are just as shameful as what the teachers are doing. You need to check your own biases.
I am a sex ex teacher in Ohio and I struggle everyday with getting my message into schools in our county area. Some schools won't let me in because I won't teach abstinence only, and the ones that will have me, some of them also have faith based abstinence only people come in as well to make everyone happy. The teachers say they love my message that includes everyone and respects all values but they keep inviting the other group. At times, students have told me things that are completely false or at best harmful that have been taught to them by their abstinence only folks. I believe it is so important what I do and will never give up but it would be so nice to have some support. As of right now, I am it.
I remember Sex Ed, but I went to an ultra conservative Christian school. She talked about the deed, and that women COULD get pregnant, if they were on a part of their cycle, and if we weren't using birth control. She talked about Natural Family Planning, and if we as women paid attention to our bodies, we could avoid pregnancy. Condom usage and the pill were other forms that were acceptable. At the end of the talk that she gave us, she showed a film on abortion. She talked about abstinence once, in the beginning of the lesson, and said, "If you guys want to learn about sex, then I'll teach you about sex. If you choose to use abstinence, then cool. Here are other methods." I heard that she wasn't asked to come back the next year. Two years later, when my sister went through the same class, they had an abstinence only stance. I then taught my sister everything I knew, but I kind of wish I didn't have to.
"I have been teaching my son that if a girl says no, you exit politely and get the hell out of her space."

Excuse me ? So now girls who don't want let some inexperienced teenage boy in are suddenly a bad thing ? Correct me if I am wrong, ccording to this women girls SHOULD have underage sex with a freshman in high school like her son. I am just curious what would happen if she had daughter, would she tell her "Hey daughter, if a guy ask for sex always say yes." ? This women is being a hypocrite because she is no better than the people who purely favor abstinence through "false" information.
This was a bit eye-opening but not altogether surprising. There are still so many wackos running these schools and programs with some sort of religious fear-based beliefs that they were raised with (so they must be right, right?!). #2 has it pegged (pegging pun intended?-Maybe!).

My actual school experience was more like #13's, 90's style, actual decent public school sex ed. Not terrible. But really, I thank the gods that I grew up with the Savage Love school of sex ed, starting when I was about 15, and prior to that, reading a lot of my sister's Cosmo and other women's magazines. And I'm male. It really did help to read everything I could about sex. Growing up with the Internet newly forming helped a lot too.

I think most people will agree, the more information the better. Even if all that information scares the shit out of you - knowing all the downsides as well as the good things - at least then you know what not to do; and hopefully how not to be an idiot.
The author works in Chicago. Why publish this, Stranger?
My opinion is probably in the minority but wow the writer sounds like a 'lovely' person to deal with. Yelling at someone for opinions they hold and you disagree with usually only backs someone into their corner more firmly. Why is all the blame being put on these teachers to teach other people's kids about such an important topic? Sex is great yada yada but it *does* come with consequences- those might not be pregnancies or stds but there are others that are just as important and personal. So teaching abstinence, as a viable choice, makes as much sense as teaching safe sex practices. Information is great, but what isn't is anyone trying to browbeat or shame someone into seeing the 'right' viewpoint- and it sounds like the writer is just as guilty as the sex ed people.

Seriously though why aren't parents talking to their kids about something so important before others 'teach' them?
My health class in 1988 (in Alabama in the 80s, public schools didn't call it sex ed) was led by a football coach who was clearly in over his head. All I remember is talk of AIDS and uncomfortable giggling among the students--and, much to the school's credit, an emphasis on the importance of condoms. This was in the Bible belt more than 20 years ago. While most adults I knew would have called for abstinence, the AIDS epidemic meant that the first thing we learned was: condoms.

In those days, in my community, school sex ed wasn't the problem. More destructive by far were the churches--in my case, the Southern Baptist church, where youth ministers, Sunday School teachers, and preachers hammered home the "no sex until marriage" dogma constantly. Girls were taught that our bodies belonged first to God, and second to the man we married, and, in a way, to our parents, whose reputations would be sacrificed if we did not choose chastity.

I ended up engaged and almost married to the first man I had sex with, in large part BECAUSE he was the first man I had sex with. He was abusive, but according to my religion, once you had sex with someone, you belonged to him. My senior year of college, realizing how disastrous a marriage to him would be, I had a one night stand (technically a 10-minute one-afternoon stand) with a nice, smart guy from my lit class for one reason only: to free myself emotionally from the abusive fiance. Once I'd had sex unceremoniously, no strings attached, with another guy, it was much easier for me to separate from my fiance--sex was no longer the holy grail, and was no longer invested with such enormous power.

I experienced several wonderful relationships after college--dating relationships as well as relationships based primarily on sex--before meeting the man I would eventually marry in grad school. I'm so grateful for those years I spent exploring and having (safe) fun (I was always a stickler for condoms).

My second serious relationship ended because it became clear to me that we were not compatible in bed. Well-meaning older women kept telling me, "one day that won't matter," but I didn't believe them, and I'm glad I didn't. I'm in my forties now and have been married for 14 years. Being sexually compatible matters every bit as much now as it did when I was dating, probably more so. When your marriage has its rough spots, being able to relate on that level is extremely important, and can help smooth over other problems. When you like having sex with your partner, emotional intimacy comes more naturally. When your partner can still give you butterflies, and when you both still want to have sex with each other, it's MUCH easier for both of you to be forgiving and get back to the place you were when you were first married.

I think there is an age when sex is appropriate, and teens should definitely not do it before they're ready. Many won't really be ready until college (I know I wasn't). But once they are ready, girls should understand that marrying a man with whom they're not sexually compatible will lead to all sorts of problems down the road, and will surely increase the risk of divorce. The notion of "marrying the girl who says no" is so sexist, and so grounded in the idea that normal boys will ask for it, good girls will say no, and boys should have sex with the "bad girls," then toss them aside. This concept has no place in our churches or our schools.

I am a 5th grade science teacher. I teach all about puberty, fertilization, the birth process and responsibilities of young adults. The students use an "I wonder.." box to ask questions each day. I then screen the questions and answer them. This program is completely fact based. If there are any questions like, "Should I.... Would you.... What do you think..." I immediately say, that's a values question and don't answer it. However, I teach 11 year olds. I am most definitely going to tell them to abstain from sexual intercourse. I tell them that the ONLY way to be 100% sure to not get pregnant or contract an STI is to abstain. That is a very true fact that really has no argument. Also, perhaps your child misheard a teacher when he was in elementary school. Maybe he got mixed up with HIV being hereditary. Perhaps the teacher answered a question about whether a mom could pass the disease on to her child. HIV can most definitely be passed from a mother to a child through vaginal childbirth, breastfeeding, or during pregnancy if she does not use proper treatment of the disease.
I graduated from high school in a suburban Alabama town in 2011. I remember sex-ed in middle school, 7th grade, was led by some abstinence crazies, who kept repeating, "stay vertical, not horizontal" (referring to making out, not sex, although I'm sure they confused many people into thinking you couldn't get pregnant while standing up). They made us all sign a purity pledge to keep in our wallet. It was definitely fear based. They taught us all about STD's but not condoms. A year later, a girl got pregnant. She was the first of many.

In high school, often called "Pregnant Pelham" by students from other area high schools, we had health class with a Coach (I think he was a fishing coach?!) and I don't think we were ever actually taught anything in there. Sometimes we copied out of the text book and had open book tests. I'm so thankful I had access to the internet before I got to college!
While Alice Dreger and I may disagree on a great many things, I admire her drive, her honesty, and her advocacy, and her dedication. I also thoroughly support the idea of facts, science, and hard numbers in education. While I wasn't there for the class, or her conversation afterwords, I suspect that it was probably more warranted that she gives herself credit for.

Alice, good luck to you, and you sound like you have a hell of a family.
Even though I may not agree with what was presented during this class as "sex ed" per se, it does represent the beliefs of a sizable portion of our society. For that reason alone I'd welcome my daughter being exposed to this class AND it's bizarre activities even if they were as described--at least if they could be followed up by an honest discussion on ALL sides about why some people really want to see abstinence only taught as sex ed curriculum. Why are they willing to go to such lengths to push for abstinence? What does that mean about our public policy? How can we clarify some things that they may misunderstand in light of what they heard the day before? What real choices do they have if they're becoming sexually active.

The truly important questions here aren't JUST those that clarify the statistics but that ask kids to think beyond them. If condoms have an 18% failure rate when used inappropriately, but a 2% failure rate when used correctly (does that include the use of spermicide btw?) then what percentage of the time are they used correctly when alcohol and drugs are involved? How often do teens combine their use of condoms with drug and alcohol use? Or fail to use any birth control when drinking and drugs are involved with their sex? THESE are the real issues.

I certainly understand why Mrs. Dreger doesn't want to see students' feel shamed over sex. And it's true. The shame approach--used for centuries--sure hasn't stopped people from having sex. But honestly, what's the point in "educating" kids that sex is pleasurable. Our society has ALREADY done that loudly and clearly. What kid DOESN'T know that? Even the ones who feel guilty about having premarital sex (and lets face it; some people carry that hang up right on into marriage) know that. They don't need to be educated that "sex is pleasurable." Ten seconds with any magazine, movie or even a few seconds of internet surfing will expose them to that concept. I can't help thinking that what Ms. Dreger is really advocating is instilling a value here: the value that one shouldn't feel guilty about enjoying that pleasure. While I agree with that principal, it seems to me that it is--fundamentally--a value. It's not something scientific. I could as easily turn to her and ask, "Where's your evidence that we shouldn't feel guilty for having sex?" Science may be able to identify pleasure centers in the brain and tell us that we DO feel pleasure during sex. It may even tell us that we don't feel guilty for it until we are taught to do so. These, however, are purely pieces of scientific data. They are NOT a "scientific" determination that guilt is a "wrong" response to experiencing pleasure from sex--premarital or otherwise. If they were, we might have to determine that experiencing pleasure from harming another human being isn't something we should feel guilty for either. As a liberal--that's not a place I want to go. The problem is that when we, as liberals, call out conservatives for using science to validate values and then are not willing to admit that we do the same thing, they are justified in calling us hypocrites every bit as much as we are in calling them the same. And with everyone polarized on a subject, no one makes progress.

This is why I'd far rather my daughter experience first hand such a biased view, and then be given the opportunity to think it through. To think through--along with all her classmates--what this tells her about our society. Why are we so confused about sex? Why do we fight over it so much? How do they, as teenagers, get caught in our crossfire, ill-prepared to deal with decisions over contraception and protection from STD's when they might be the MOST vulnerable (such as at parties). How CAN they make a plan to protect themselves--even if they are convinced that they will NEVER need it? That plan may include the carrying of birth control. Or it may include a pledge. Or a friend. It won't be perfect. Far from it. But it will be something. If they've been exposed to an idea during the curriculum (not a fact, but a value) that's different from one they have been taught and they want to learn more about it, (how can the short sex ed units be long enough to ever help anyone make a fundamental move in values???) where can they find more information? Or more people who have that idea and can talk to them about it without judging them for having the current idea they hold?

As a long time teacher, I can honestly say that I don't believe our schools have been too long in the hands of the conservatives. Or the liberals.

They have been too long in the hands of a society of adults who are fighting. Who are polarized. Who have forgotten that teenagers, like college students, need to explore, through discourse, in a nonjudgmental environment new ideas. Just explore. Not necessarily be converted. This holds true for our liberal and conservative kids. Until we teach them to do this--and the true tools of tough, honest discussions--we won't make much progress as a society.
"I wanted to raise my hand and blurt out, 'Not if it’s anal or oral!'"


Well if she's promoting anal sex to her child, then she's doesn't care about them at all. Talk about high risk sexual activity. And not just from contracting a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), but also because her child could tear their anal lining or even develop a fistula. Any tear that should occur takes a long time to heal and is subject to infection. That's because feces is full of bacteria. And that's why the anus is best reserved as an EXIT ONLY. Ladies, if your husband tries to do this do you, they really don't love you. They only care about themselves and their nasty desires and are probably just wanting to try something kinky they saw in a porn video. There is no risk to them, just you. Tell the jerks NO.

FACT: The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), are to abstain from sexual activity or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Pregnancy and being a teen mom isn't so bad compared to contracting HPV, Herpes, Gonorrhea, Syphilis and HIV from having unprotected Oral Sex. Yes, I said Oral Sex! And who the hell uses a Dental Dam when giving Oral Sex?

She also completely loses sight of the fact sex is something that is very intimate. Sex is the cement that bonds a marriage. You just can't sleep around. That's actually unnatural, even though the liberals are trying to paint that as perfectly normal and a good practice before marriage. Actually, it's a great way to contract an STI to share with your new spouse on your wedding night. Talk about ruining a Honeymoon.

I don't expect those who don't share my faith to be abstinent, and I don't believe in abstinence only sexual "educatiion." For that matter, I don't expect any young adult, who share's my faith or not to remain abstinent. We show them what would have been considered porn in the 1950s and 1960s like 24/7 on television nowadays. So, this generation already has those sexual desires stirred well up by the entertainment industry.

At the same time, it is important that we teach our adolescents to respect other people and not use them to fulfill our own selfish desires. That's not love, it's lust. And we need to teach our adolescent children the difference. Too many get hurt, largely by guys who are just getting what they want and then move on to the next pretty looking girl.
I was brought up in a society rather more conservative than the US at the time. There was significant controversy as to whether sex education should be taught in any form. "Abstinence only" was considered far too daring, as it suggested there was any alternative. Selling condoms was illegal.

Yet I think mis-education, teaching falsehoods due to political or religious ideology, is actually worse.

Fortunately most kids aren't completely gullible, and will recognise snake-oil when they see it. It instills in them a healthy distrust of authority.

Ideally we'd have fact-based teaching here, both of the biological mechanics, and also the social and psychological effects. Abstinence I think should be taught as a viable option, one many may choose to take, but it should also be taught that most won't go that route, regardless of moral suasion.

Had there been sex ed in my school, my own life wouldn't have been so complex. I wasn't until age 27 that I was diagnosed as obviously Intersex when I went to a fertility clinic. Even then they got it wrong - not CAH female (the 3BHSD form) as we know now - but AIS male.

God alone knows what the "educators" in your son's school would have made of that. Maybe tried to exorcise me or something.

It's bad enough for most kids, but Trans and Intersex kids in this kind of environment will get damaged, not just misinformed.
Absolutely disgraceful article. Don't promote premarital sex. Your excuse about experiencing sex with your partner before marriage is bogus. Find the right person for the right reasons, not because of how great or not so great the sex is. Sex can be improved with practice. Maintain some dignity and spread the right message... the message that can spare your son or someone's daughter from impending doom.
Alice Dreger should be teaching sex ed. Seriously. She has good information and handled educating her son with flying colors.
Sexual intercourse is a gift from God for the man and woman who enter into that sacred covenant of marriage with Him at the head. This article treats that lightly and desecrated one of the Lord's greatest gifts - the power of procreation and the power of unifying a man and woman so they can become one. I pray those who understand this will begin to stand up more often to speak the truth so the whole world will hear it. It is a lie that we need to try sex before knowing if we are compatible. Sex has nothing to do with building a relationship, contrary to what the world would have us believe. A true and lasting relationship is built upon self-sacrifice, putting the other person first, and working hard at being humble, meek, honest, generous, and in serving the other person. Sexual intercourse is a unifier only *after* those things and after the relationship is already built. That is why abstinence is so important, so that sex doesn't get in the way of building that relationship, which is so frequently and obviously does - with proof in the majority of ruined/terminated relationships. That is the truth of it. This article is a perfect representation of what the prophet Isaiah prophesied we'd see in the last days when he wrote: "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
P.S. I read this comment else where, and wanted to share it too: I wanted to add how strange it is that the author's ok with her son having sex as long as it doesn't result in a baby. She talks about contraceptives as though it saves from any consequences. What happens when "the pill" doesn't save you from an STD????? Some of them are fatal! I heard from an OB-Gyn that being infected with HPV is found to be as common in those with multiple sex partners as "the common cold." How bout the cases where people caught herpes even though they used a condom? Her argument has so many holes in it. She said nothing about the emotional damage that can result. Her argument leaves out the fact that sex ties people together and when the relationship fails that person forever has a piece of you that you can't get back. I just don't understand what parent would justify this as being ok for their children to risk even with the supposed (and in my opinion ridiculous) benefits of premarital sex she lists. What a sad state of affairs we are living in.
I live in liberal Los Angeles and the class is remarkably similar to one that my daughter attended in the 8th grade. Here they sent home the abstinence focused class plan along with permission slips. I recall going through the plan and explaining to my daughter that they were focusing narrowly on abstinence and there was more to sex ed than what they were teaching. They did manage to teach the mechanics and biology of sex to a reasonable degree but completely failed when discussing condoms, contraception, pregnancy and abortion. The worst part was that one of the guest speakers was from the "Crisis Pregnancy Center" and told them that abortion causes breast cancer and had them sign "pledges" to be abstinent. Sex Education should be only be based on facts and science. They should leave the moralizing where it belongs, at home.
I need to make sure to say "fuck" at my kid's high school just so I can earn that "special monitoring" badge too. I'm sure that's the only thing that was for.
None of this happened. The whole article is complete bullshit.
@Clayton: My comment about promoting rape culture was prompted by this part of the article: "He actually said that. If a girl says no, 'that’s the one you want.'

He's saying that women who say "yes" to sex are sluts, and those who say "no" to sex are relationship material. It's the old madonna/whore thing, and it's highly offensive all on its own, no need to overplay your hand.
This is complete bullshit. Your son did not learn that HIV is hereditary. You are manufacturing BS to make a good story... or your son is.
@51 I think you've expanded the definitions of rape culture to include "anything a man wants that a woman may or may not want". That's pretty broad!

I'll add in some blatantly fucking obvious contextual hints that should clear the matter up:

"If a girl says no [to casual hookup sex], that's the one you want [to marry].

You could call it slut-shaming, if you consider being silently rejected by someone who practices abstinence to be shameful; you could consider it rape culture, although, uh, only if you consider not having sex with someone to be "raping them".

Beyond that, what's your point?
I've read all 90 comments & the creative writing column has been fun. So these God fearing conservatives are reading The Stranger. YEAH RIGHT! The article was entertaining but pushed the poetic license. The liberal left, wheat grass lovers need to get together, your comments were honest but not united. Thank you for a great article & responses!

yes the sex ed teacher sounds like a total idiot but i have a feeling this article has been utterly and severely slanted. the author has that air of feigned indignation that usually accompanies the embellishment of a "we-said they-said" story
Your article was highly insightful about your awesomely hip views towards sex particularly when you wanted to include oral and anal sex as options for yours and the other teenagers in the room. You are so open minded about sexuality and gender neutrality. Some night soon you could, if you haven't already, explore some real gender neutrality with your husband or may be even your son. You could go totally transgender with a strap on and teach both your husband and son about anal sex. Sounds to me that the three if you are so open minded and sexually liberated you'd reach yet another liberated level.
Wow, your son is awesome. And, even though I am a supporter of abstinance, abstinance-only education should not replace comprehensive sex-education, especially in schools.

I did take issue with your "abstinaence is stupid list." (1) Sex is about mutual pleasure, (2) sexual compatability is an issue to fear, (3) practicing sex on your honeymoon is an embarassment.

(1) Sex is also an emotially intimate experience. I would not besmirch anyone who withholds it from just anyone who volunteers ("is consenting"). And I would not besmirch anyone who further withholds it from anyone but the person they plan on spending their life together.

(2) You might be sexually incompatable, oh no! Not everyone has the same expectations of sex, whether practiced or not. The key is to communicate through those issues. You want to serve one another while also sharing your thoughts and desires. If something comes up, the two of you should not get red, go to opposite corners of the room, and worry "are we incompatable."

(3) And, what better way to discover and share your individual sexualities than by developing them together. Even the virgin honeymooners will have expectations that both will not be met and (more frequently) exceeded. It is no embarassment to learn as you go, especially if you have both committed to the process and to love each other through it. No one "deserves" a super-star, but it is exciting to help each other develop into such a pair.
"The class started to murmur at my son’s attempt to challenge this visiting educator."

The murmuring likely was, "Oh, here he goes again. Can't we just get through this. And he brought his mom to class."

"To be honest, it didn’t strike me at first as particularly dramatic. "

Of course not mom.

"He’s been raised to believe authority rests in good studies, not in individual humans..."

He's a college freshman now. Let us know how he's doing in 15 years. I'm sure he's a good kid and he'll turn out alright, but going with the flow and showing respect for authority figures are IMO important to get along well in this world. Yes of course independent thinking is critical. It's the balance that's important, and this whole scenario seems to show a lack of it on your part. You really remind me of my father who engendered in me a rebelliousness, disdain for authority, and intellectual narcissism which honestly has not served me well. By the way, it's patently okay to teach abstinence along with birth control, etc. And you could have asked to address the class rather than helicoptering, ranting, and cursing. Is that an example you are trying to set? Come on.
address the class as a guest speaker another day
I mean high school freshman
@91, wtf does any of that mean? Put down the meth pipe and post a coherent thought.
Honestly, out of all of this (which is disturbing in general), was the footnote at the bottom about being under monitoring for saying "fuck". As a high school teacher I can't tell you how often I hear that word, out of the mouths of the "children". Just walk around at lunch or during passing period. While I don't condone the use of the language, I love the passion and desire for information. The administration needed to be paying attention to that...not the words used.
Man, what an idiot.

Too bad she had children.
Alice, you would reach more people if you left out the vulgar and/or offensive language, like the f word. I was tuned in and on your side until the language appeared, even learning that you used that word in a classroom. Then I was completely turned off. I'm a liberal but still believe in showing some measure of restraint when addressing the public because there are those of us who absolutely hate that word. Can't you get your message across without going to such extreme measures, speaking crassly, or just being plain offensive? Can you clean up your act so that everyone can focus on the message? Being professional and considerate/courteous in manner while conveying a very important message has far more powerful effects, reaching far greater numbers of an audience with your message without turning people off. Just a suggestion. Your message is a great one, by the way, but showing some self-control as an educating adult and a model citizen in a classroom and in print, or just as a human being with consideration for the feelings of others - we all must conduct ourselves well when we are interacting with the public, and you are no exception.
@Alice Dreger: Thank you and your son for standing up to the bimbotic Ms. Thomas, Jerry and all the right-wing whackos out for one purpose: misinform the public to enforce the dumbing of America until all U.S. citizens are voiceless sheeple silenced by destructive corporate rule.
This is a subject that Dan Savage has been addressing since the disastrous G.W. Bush years, and is discussed in Chapter 3. Sex Dread in his book from 2013, American Savage, starting at page 41. Thank you, Dan, Alice, your equally well-informed physician husband, and teenage son. What we need is the silencing of the silencers and deliberate misinformers--and reopen sex education to individual choices for all.
I am unimpressed with the program AND with the author. She claims to be focused on science and evidence but admits to yelling and cursing at teachers, and she seems so emotional and agenda-laden herself that I don't have 100% confidence in her reporting what she saw and heard.
I went to catholic schools and learned much more in sex ed than your kid in public school, and this was before AIDS.
"Liberal parents like me, the mistake we make is thinking of ourselves as the kind of people who don’t interfere in public schools." Huh. My liberal parents 50 years or so ago though of themselves as the kind of people who needed to show up at every school board meeting and be actively involved in recruiting & campaigning for school board candidates. And the result of what they and some of their friends did was that our somewhat conservative town usually had a progressive school board and progressive approach to matters such as sex education.