Sunday, February 06, 2005

Recall's Tempest in a Teacup

Y'know, I don't like to react to the recall group, you could spend your whole day proving how silly they are. But I read one today that just got under my skin.

They're complaining on their blog (HERE) about some materials that are availiable as support for teachers, in particular a brochure by Advocates for Youth called Creating Inclusive Programs.

First of all, the recall guys say:
Another 'recommended resource' for teachers trying to construct a lesson plan for our eighth graders comes from a publication entitled Creating Inclusive Programs, from the gay and lesbian advocacy group, Advocates for Youth.

No, it's not for the eighth grade curriculum, it is listed as a resource for teachers of tenth graders. (Once again, they expect their readers to be too dull to go look for themselves.)

Further, it's not for 'creating a lesson plan," it's to give teachers advice about how to deal with gay students in their classrooms. There are bound to be some gay or bisexual or "questioning' kids in any class, and this pamphlet discusses ways to create a situation where those students feel comfortable and can learn.

Listen to their snark [note: the part in quotes is quoted from the pamphlet, and the comments following are the blogger's]:
"Use inclusive language. Discuss 'partners' instead of always assuming a youth's prospective date or sexual partner is of the opposite gender."

Never say husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend as this may alienate a boy or girl in class. 'Partners' is the preferred word here people. Oh, and let's not assume that this person is not your child's sexual partner.

This isn't for use in the classroom. If you're dealing with gay students, then duh, say "partner." The recall blogger would want you to call the partner of a gay male his "girlfriend," it seems. Now, there's a big step forward for education, eh?

"Incorporate comprehensive sex education. Sex education programs should include information about both contraception and abstinence. When discussing abstinence, do not talk about "abstinence-until-marriage."
Ok, let's see if I have that right. Never say 'abstinance until marriage" as this may offend someone who may not be able to marry their 'partner' someday. Talk about minority rights! What about the majority of heterosexual youth who need to hear the abstinence message? Seems their needs are being overlooked here.

Wow, they almost get it. Yes, the heterosexual kids are being overlooked here, because this pamphlet is about dealing with the gay kids.

Furthermore, because of a certain bigoted element in our society, it is not very likely that gay students ever will marry the person they love, is it? How can these characters be offended by the consequence of their own advocacy? You don't want gay marriage, but you wanna talk to gay kids about marrying their partners? Dumb, dumb, dumb. "Abstinence until marriage" for gay people in the USA means a lifetime of abstinence. (Of course, the recall folks wouldn't mind that ...)

Is this for real? How in the world did we get to this point?

It must be shocking to some people to think that a schoolteacher educating a class of high-school kids about sexual behavior would actually want to be reach the gay students, too.

This pamphlet opens with a discussion of teachers who think there are no gay students in their classes. Statistically, it is likely that there are, they just haven't felt that it was safe to open up with the educators. This pamphlet gives some ideas about how to talk with them. They're tenth graders (not eighth graders), and if they're gay, they've already given some thought to the mechanics of sex. The pamphlet says, tell them that ...It is unprotected anal intercourse—not being gay—that poses a strong risk for infection with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Unprotected vaginal and oral sex also pose risks. Yes, that may be rather explicit. Is it accurate? Yes. Is it good advice? Yes.

I think tenth grade is probably not too soon to tell students about the risks of sexually transmitted disease.

Once again, the recall group blows up a tempest in a teacup.


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