Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What Do They Want, Really?

The three main local papers each delivered yesterday's news in their unique way. The Post was informative, accurate, thorough, they interviewed a couple of the players. The Gazette, too, was direct, factual, well-written, very concise (of all the media, I'd have to say their coverage has been the best through all of this). And of course The Times made it sound like ... well, here's their headline: Picking of sex-ed panel rankles family groups. Mmm, "family groups," sure, that's what this is about, rankling family groups.

But let's pick out the news here. All three reporters, it looks like, interviewed CRC President Michelle Turner. We want to figure out what's going on here, let's see what she said.

The Post has her like this:
But Michelle Turner, a parent and president of CRC, which submitted one nominee, said the board's request violates the terms of a settlement the two sides signed in June. Turner said the agreement allows CRC and PFOX -- not the board -- to designate whom they wish to serve on the advisory committee.

"We have a signed settlement that we would each be able to choose our representative," Turner said. "For them to change the rules -- what kind of ethical practice is that?"

She said the new conditions don't apply to their representatives because the board made the changes after the two sides signed the agreement. A representative for PFOX could not be reached for comment.

and there's a little more, toward the end...
For now, CRC is not budging, and Turner said the group would not submit additional names. It is unclear, however, whether CRC's nominee, Retta Brown, will be permitted to serve because she was a part of the original committee that worked with Montgomery educators on the previous curriculum. O'Neill said the board recognizes that CRC and PFOX are entitled to seats under the terms of their agreement, but if the two groups decline to follow the rules, their seats might go unfilled.

OK, so CRC wants to interpret the agreement as saying that they, and not the school board, will select their members for the committee. Even though the agreement itself says they will be selected by the board, according to standard policy.

And they want to call this a "change" of the rules. But of course the rules weren't made yet when the agreement was signed -- why would you have deadlines and qualifications and application procedures for a committee that you don't even know is going to exist? Are they really going to take that argument to court?

The Gazette had this from the same lady:
Reached by phone after the board’s decision, Turner responded to [board member] Abrams' comments, saying the settlement agreement did not include any mention that a nominee could not have served on the disbanded committee.

"He, having a law background, ought to know that if you sign an agreement, you are bound by that agreement," she said. "And writing a resolution or policy subsequent to the agreement cannot have bearing."

Turner said her group has no intention of changing its nomination, adding that the group was in contact with the Orlando, Fla.-based Liberty Counsel, which provided CRC and PFOX with legal help when it sued the school board.

"If an organization changes an agreement, it could certainly lead to further litigation,” Turner said. "But I’m not a lawyer, so I can only speculate. ... We acted in good faith with the Board of Education and ask them to reciprocate."

OK, great quotes. This is as clear as it gets, they want to sue, they "have no intention" of following the rules. They think they only have to follow the settlement agreement, not the board's rules. Mmm, OK, good luck with that one.

And then The Times:
Michelle Turner, president of CRC, said the schools negotiated an agreement in June with the understanding that her group and an ex-gay group would designate one person each to sit on the committee.

Days after the June 27 agreement, however, the schools said each group would submit three names, and the schools would pick the representatives.

"We had a signed agreement with the schools in good faith, and as soon as we signed it, they designed a policy to undermine it," Mrs. Turner said.

"I think it's an underhanded little game to play," she said.

From The Times' quotes, we see that Ms. Turner feels that it was a dirty deal for the board to establish rules for application for membership on the new committee, or at least for the board to expect CRC and PFOX to follow them. Like they were trying to trick them or something.

In case their thinking is not clear, Ms. Turner read this statement at public comments in the morning session:
In order to ensure true representation on the new Citizen's Advisory Committee for Family Life & Human Development, the seat issue was very important to the CRC and PFOX during settlement negotiations.

For that reason, we (you, PFOX, CRC) agreed to one seat each for PFOX and CRC and that the CAC would be limited to 15 people. At no point prior to signing the agreement did the school noard inform us that there would be a change in the rules under which you have operated in the past. At the time we signed the agreement, the old practice existed where we -- CRC & PFOX -- would designate a person for that seat, and unless otherwise not qualified, then the nomination was to be accepted.

The agreement required CRC and PFOX to submit the designee by July 1. As of July 1- the new policy did not exist. Thus we cannot be bound to the new policy. The new policy did not come into existence until more than a month after the settlement agreement was signed.

I believe it is in the best interest of MCPS and you, members of the Board, to honor the agreement as it was originally intended and bring this matter to a close. It is up to you.

Well, all-righty now.

Here's the legal question, it seems to me: When MCPS and these two anti-school-district groups signed that agreement, was there any reason to believe, using common sense, that no other policies would apply to them?

I don't know a lot about this stuff, but I'll bet lawyers have a Latin phrase that means "This document does not imply anything that is not stated in this document." Don't know what that is, but I'll just betcha there's some fancy phrase for that idea, which must be common in contract law. This is our agreement, and we haven't agreed on anything else.

Look at the wording of the settlement HERE.

Section 6 is the relevant one -- here it is in full:
6. MCPS agrees that the newly-constituted CAC, for the term during which the consultation on the Revisions contemplated by the Board's May 23, 2005 resolution will occur, will include a maximum of 15 members and will include one representative of PFOX and one representative of CRC, to be selected by the Board in accordance with Section C(2)(a)(3) of Board Policy BMA, provided such representatives are Montgomery County residents and are otherwise qualified and able to serve on the committee. PFOX and CRC will inform the Board of their nominees in writing by July 1, 2005.

There is no other mention of limitations or privileges for the complaining groups. The committee will include one member from each group.

Oh, but there is this:
9. Nothing contained in this Agreement shall be construed to diminish or enlarge the legal right of MCPS to develop, revise or implement curriculum, including curriculum that provides information on sexual variations and promotes tolerance of others regardless of sexual orientation.

Yes, the school board retains all its regular powers to do what it needs to do to develop curriculum. Like define a process for applying, spell out requirements for membership, set some deadlines, stuff like that.

Sorry you lawsuit-lovin', gay-hatin' groups don't like the way this is working out. Really, I'm sorry.

Now dry your eyes, come up with three valid names, and try to make it look like you really do care about developing a curriculum for our kids.


Blogger Kay2898 said...

Michelle Turner and her CRC cohorts along with PFOX should put their collective brain cells together and add the hard is that?

What whiners.....they are.

But of course they will not think twice about suing and taking money away from children in MCPS.

More of the same.....

October 12, 2005 11:36 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

well, we know how few of them have kids in MCPS so it isn't taking money from their kids.

October 12, 2005 12:12 PM  
Blogger Kay2898 said...

...or even fewer who have had their children actually take the health curriculum.....

October 12, 2005 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"well, we know how few of them have kids in MCPS so it isn't taking money from their kids."

Hey, Andrea, I'm sorry. Didn't they tell you? They take your money even if you save them money by keeping your kid out of public school. It's taxation without representation. The teachers' union controls the board who then fill the "advisory" committees with their advocates.

I forsee more humiliation and defeat coming for this school board. What will the voters think when this bunch of Keystone cops loses another obvious one in court?

October 12, 2005 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some parents did have kids in the private schools - put them in public schools and transferred them back to private over this idiocy. Some of us would not normally have paid the slightest bit of attention to what those crazy public schools were up to - unless of course, we had just been convinced by our next door neighbor to move our kids into those public schools.

And then discovered the lovely little sex ed programs that wanted to teach fifth graders all about masturbation, and birth control. And the lovely little policy of reading every single question any kid in the class might ask on a folded slip of paper to the entire fifth grade class "oh, teacher, teacher - what's anal sex ?"

I did go to the sex ed meeting, I did consider putting my kids in the health curriculum, and frankly I was pretty darned horrified about what MCPS thinks it is okay to teach 10 YEAR OLDS.

And I am furious that I am paying 8K a year in property tax, 4 K a year of which goes directly to fund a school system I am NOT OKAY WITH SENDING MY KIDS TOO. Mainly because of MCPS insistence on the early sexualization of our children.

And can they teach the sex ed curriculum for one day so I could just keep her home ? NO, they are going to teach it one hour a day for two weeks so that any kid that opts out of the class will get the full scoop from their classmates. I opted her out alright, all the way out and back to a Catholic school before the curriculum started that spring.

But, that, of course, is another topic.

MCPS does not use words like husband/wife and wait till you're married to engage in activity, MCPS uses terminology like "wait till you are more responsible and find a loving partner". MCPS insists on lowering the bar ! MCPS is usurping my responsibility and right to instill my values, NOT THEIRs, on my children. And you are suprised that religious families don't want kids in these sex ed classes - OF COURSE THEY DON'T !!! You don't tell a 10 YEAR OLD to "you should wait till you are older and more responsible to engage in sexual activity". Why in the world would you find it the LEAST BIT SURPRISING that religious parents wouldn't want kids in these classes receiving that sort of a message ??? 90 some percent of parents hope that kids will abstain, at least until they get out of highschool, but does MCPS says this ? No, there are encouraging our ten year olds to go experiment.

And then we wonder why we have kids in middle school having oral sex on the bus.


October 13, 2005 2:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's worth paying anything to get these kids into a wholesome environment that encourages a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. People should get their kids out of these schools as fast as if they were on fire. We need to organize and get the government to give our money back for the services they didn't render.

October 13, 2005 7:47 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

This is perfect, thank you Ex-MCPS Mom for elucidating the other side's view so well.

None of this is true.

Readers, on the righthand side of this web page there are links to the 8th and 10th grde curricula -- there is no 5th grade sex-ed, nothing for 10 year olds. I recommend you look at what the district had proposed. Search for the word "masturbation," see if you find it there. Search for any of these things that this person mentions.

It would be hard enough to advocate for a good comprehensive sex-ed program, without pure having to deal with pure lies like these. This is not debate, this is derangement. This is what we're up against.


October 13, 2005 7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I sincerely hope you feel better
getting all that off your chest.

The majority of MCPS parents want
human sexuality taught in our
public schools. How do I know the
majority wants it? Because only
approximately 1% of all MCPS
parents deny their students
permission to take the classes.
Nationwide polls show that 75% of
US parents want comprehensive sex
education in our public schools.

Many of the 99% who allow their
MCPS students to take the classes,
use the opportunity of this
instruction being presented in
school to reinforce moral and
religious lessons about sex and
relationships, such as treating
others with respect and how and
when sexual activity is moral.

Abstinence for teens is virtually
every parent's ideal, even parents
like me who want comprehensive and
inclusive health education in the
MCPS curriculum. However,
informed parents are well aware
that about half of all teens will
have sexual relations before they
graduate high school. It is for
the benefit of the public health
that these classes should be given,
especially to those students whose
parents do not discuss the facts
of life or morality with them.

Informed parents are also aware
that kids talk about forbidden
things. Personally, I'd rather
have them discuss what they learn
in health class than what they
learn on the street or in the
media, supplanted with the values
my husband and I give them at home.


Those of us who don't support a
war based on outright lies or
welfare for millionaires are quite
upset about the use of our tax
dollars these days too.

October 13, 2005 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


A few years back, when I went to an information meeting on the sex-ed program at Sligo I was told there was no written curriculum that I could look at and that they will answer any questions the kids have. They couldn't guarantee what the conversation would be but they would make the book at the back of the room available to kids to answer questions. I flipped through the book and saw everything from necrophilia to masturbation by asphyxiation. Basically, the conversation would center around the sickest thing any kid in that particular class had heard of- and no moral position would be assumed. And that was before the new curriculum. She told me they were just trying to "get the kids out of high school alive." Public schools are disingenuous because they just know they are wiser than us.

October 13, 2005 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"MCPS will not loose in court.

If you think MCPS will get toppled over this nomination fiasco, you're dead wrong.

They got a reserved seat, that's it.

Please show me where in the legal agreement it says "And CRC will be able to choose ANYONE, regardless of whether they were on the committee before".

And don't say it's implied.

You can then say that the constitution implies that we can scream "FIRE!" in a crowded theater without facing legal problems.

(Which you can't)"

This is brilliant, Alex. And thank you for sharing!

October 13, 2005 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


There is another hidden assumption here the Turners and Browns make, which is that Catholic schools, and, I assume, private schools in general, are hotbeds of sexual purity and civic virtue. Get a life!

I attended a religious school, and as a result of the stifling atmosphere regarding things sexual the boys, at least, were much more aggressive at getting the "information" they craved. I have had two children, one at a private school, one at MCPS, and their experiences were identical on this issue.

If you want to blame anyone for the early sexualization of your children, blame your friends over at Fox and the rest of the capitalist media for saturating their lives with sex. Why do they do it? Because they're perverts? No, because it's profitable. And why is it profitable? Because adults like you buy it. Ever wonder why there's sex on nearly every street corner in some Southern towns? Why is it that the rates of adultery and divorce are far higher in the Bible Belt than up north? What was that quote about "casting the first stone"? Look to yourself before you spread lies about your neighbors. Oh, and what ever happened to "love thy neighbor"? Did they stop teaching that in Catholic school?

MCPS and non-MCPS Mom

October 13, 2005 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then your problem, Anon, is with the health teacher at Sligo that year. There most certainly is a written curriculum available. That teacher may not have run off copies to distribute to parents at your meeting.

I would hope the teacher would correct all misconceptions, including the sickest ones the students had picked up on the street. That's one reason why we need this class in our public schools -- to correct the misconceptions kids pick up from various sources. Comprehensive sex education safeguards public health by providing abstinence based, medically accurate information about human sexuality and contraception.

What's the name and author of the book you are referring to? I'm not surprised you noted some extreme behaviors in it as your side always tries to turn sex education into something vile. I'm sure the public would benefit from looking at the book, seeing just how much of it is devoted to the practices you mentioned and how much of it is devoted to the basics of abstinence based and medically accurate comprehensive health education.


October 13, 2005 9:05 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

OK, I was wrong earlier, there is a "sex-ed" unit for fifth grade. Here's the outline for the Family Life and Human Sexuality unit for 5th grade Health in MCPS:

Discuss family roles in setting standards, rules and value systems
Compare and contrast cultural differences and other factors on family values and practices
Identify the impact of role stereotyping of males and females
Identify the human reproductive systems
Describe the reproductive process
Examine the emotional, physical and psychological changes of adolescence
Explain how physical and social/emotional growth and maturity are interrelated

...That's it.

If there was a Health teacher teaching about necrophilia and masturbation etc., then it was your duty to report that fact to the school's administration. Did you, and what was their response?


October 13, 2005 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Then your problem, Anon, is with the health teacher at Sligo that year. There most certainly is a written curriculum available. That teacher may not have run off copies to distribute to parents at your meeting."

I was pretty persistent. I kept saying things like, "You must have written plan of what you're going to teach." It was an information meeting for parents and I was one of only two parents there- so it was more like a direct conversation. I was considering letting him take it before that but decided I wasn't being provided sufficient information. They put him in some bogus self-study course about how to get along with people. It's the only time he ever got less than an A in PE.

"I would hope the teacher would correct all misconceptions, including the sickest ones the students had picked up on the street."

Let's hope so but maybe it would be better done in private- and that the parents would be contacted to provide appropriate spiritual counseling.

"That's one reason why we need this class in our public schools -- to correct the misconceptions kids pick up from various sources. Comprehensive sex education safeguards public health by providing abstinence based, medically accurate information about human sexuality and contraception."

Actually, from historical data, it seems public health was better served by a more discreet society.

"What's the name and author of the book you are referring to?"

Wouldn't know. You could try calling Sligo.

"I'm not surprised you noted some extreme behaviors in it as your side always tries to turn sex education into something vile. I'm sure the public would benefit from looking at the book, seeing just how much of it is devoted to the practices you mentioned and how much of it is devoted to the basics of abstinence based and medically accurate comprehensive health education."

Let us know if you find it.

October 13, 2005 1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If there was a Health teacher teaching about necrophilia and masturbation etc., then it was your duty to report that fact to the school's administration. Did you, and what was their response?"

She didn't say what she was planning to teach, she said she might teach anything in the book I mentioned. I didn't even think to report this because it was a meeting publicized by the school. I assumed it had been reviewed by the principal.

October 13, 2005 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"OK, I was wrong earlier, there is a "sex-ed" unit for fifth grade."

Jim, they've got a program starting in kindegarten which builds to a crescendo in high school, warping the kids' moral views. It's not too graphic at first but it's an indoctrination.

October 13, 2005 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

....but it's an indoctrination.....

Same old CRC line as usual.

Must be written on a CRC standard line card of what to say when all else fails.

October 13, 2005 1:38 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

I just pasted in the fifth-grade "sex-ed" curriculum outline -- I put that in quotes because it's really more like the reproductive system and some emotional discussions, it sounds like, not really much sex-sex. You can see there's nothing too shocking there. Over on the right you can link to the "proposed" eighth grade curriculum, which was not adopted, but I think you can figure out what parts are being used now.

It's hard to tell when everybody's got the same name, but it appears we have at least two people posting on this thread who have had kids in MCPS whose health teachers went beyond the curriculum.

That is a different kind of problem, a discipline problem. I don't think there are many people with knowledge sufficient to stand up in front of a roomful of adolescents and answer, off the top of their head, every single question about sex that the kids can dream up. And I don't think teachers should do that. And I think that if that has happened, you should have complained loudly to their administrators about it.

There should be a way for kids to submit questions anonymously when the subject gets a little embarrassing and the questions are personal, but teachers must use discretion in choosing which ones they'll answer.

We liked the proposed curriculum partly because it avoided these kinds of things; it was thorough. Kids' real questions (of course they're gonna try to shock if they get to ask anonymously, I can see what kind of game that would evolve into!) get answered. They get advice about the risks of sexual activity and information about how it works, including discussions of how sexual activity affects all aspects of their lives from their self-esteem to their reputations to their finances. Physical sexual behavior was just part of the whole picture, which was portrayed objectively and accurately. Yeah, maybe it didn't talk about marriage as much as some wanted ... but you can do that at home.

It was a good curriculum, but it wouldn't be if teachers just tore off on any old tangent.

This is interesting. If the problem is just that teachers are ad-libbing and going over the top, then that's the issue that you should be addressing. And I'd be with you on that one. There would be no point fighting over curriculum development if teachers felt they could just say anything they want anyway.

One last point. They might need to ad-lib less if the real curriculum covered more of the points that really matter.


October 13, 2005 1:51 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

By the way, two things. First, teachers do need a lot of latitude in the classroom. One thing you'd hate is for them to follow a script and not be able to react to students' needs in class. So I'm not advocating that. But, esp on a topic like this, they need to play it pretty straight.

Second, remember I speak only for myself here. I have no idea how other members of TeachTheFacts feel about teachers ad-libbing about sensitive issues that they may not be expert in. I hope we hear from some of them, too, on this. So far we have only been talking about developing a curriculum, not about teachers' extemporizing.


October 13, 2005 2:04 PM  
Blogger Kay2898 said...

Jim K said...

I have no idea how other members of TeachTheFacts feel about teachers ad-libbing about sensitive issues that they may not be expert in.


Teachers should not be in any fashion. A full comprehensive sex education in health curriculum would not necessitate that at all.

If teachers do it they should be disciplined.

A curriculum is there for a reason...a well written curriculum is there for a better reason.

October 13, 2005 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon said, "Actually, from historical data, it seems public health was better served by a more discreet society."

What dates and historical data are you referring to?


October 13, 2005 3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I post items, I cite applicable resources and references. If you mention a book supposedly available in MCPS middle school health classes, the onus is on you to provide the source.


October 13, 2005 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, guys. I should sign my posts to avoid confusion. I think there were three anti-TTFers on today: myself, Theresa and MCPS Mom. I think Theresa only wrote the one she signed.

The Lightning Man

October 13, 2005 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The majority of MCPS parents want
human sexuality taught in our
public schools. How do I know the
majority wants it? Because only
approximately 1% of all MCPS
parents deny their students
permission to take the classes.
Nationwide polls show that 75% of
US parents want comprehensive sex
education in our public schools."

Now just a cotton-picking minute here! It all depends how you ask these questions. Everybody knows that!

Deputy Fife

October 13, 2005 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When I post items, I cite applicable resources and references. If you mention a book supposedly available in MCPS middle school health classes, the onus is on you to provide the source."

I told you what happened. I don't think I have any onus.

October 13, 2005 8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon said, "Actually, from historical data, it seems public health was better served by a more discreet society."

What dates and historical data are you referring to?"

Look up the rates of teen pregnancy, promiscuity and venereal disease before and after widespread sex-ed began in the 70s. You'll find they all exploded. We don't even need to mention AIDS.

If you really are cocerned with pubic health, here's a strategy: if every person in the US followed the Ten Commandments, our health would increase dramatically. No reputable scientist would deny it.

Obviously no one, least of all myself, could do that. Still the closer we get to it the healthier we would be. Why not let kids in on this fact? Are we scared a few might try it?

the Lightning Man

October 13, 2005 8:09 PM  
Blogger Kay2898 said...

How come CRC'rs and PFOX'rs are always posting here??????? What happened to that "wonderful" CRC "PUBLIC" web forum???????

Too bad these conversations are not allowed to happen there too.


October 13, 2005 8:10 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Lightning Man ... we're talking here about a sex-ed class. Why are you talking about the Ten Commandments?

Do you think the two have something to do with one another?


October 13, 2005 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim K saidLightning Man ... we're talking here about a sex-ed class. Why are you talking about the Ten Commandments?

Do you think the two have something to do with one another?


Is that close to Retta Brown saying to other CRC'rs:

The school actually has the "golden rule" listed in the curriculum and that is a Christian principal.

October 13, 2005 8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'd like to ask you some questions.
Are you suggesting the teachers have private counseling sessions with students to answer their questions?"

I was thinking it was better than discussing every subject with the whole class but I probably didn't think it through.

One thing I think it that whatever sex ed there is should be in gender segregated classes. It should also be in the context of "spouses" rather than "partners".

"Do you think the children will be impressed if one asks the teacher what masturbation is, for instance, and the teacher blushes and says we'll talk about that privately?"

Wouldn't it be better if they were told to ask their parents or youth pastor? Having teachers discuss masturbation in private with students is probably not a good idea considering some of the events of the last few years.

"Or how about the gay student in class who hears his teacher say homosexuality is not a topic for polite company?"

High school students are too young to decide they're gay.

"And what do you mean by spiritual counseling? Are you suggesting that students have meetings with their religious leaders immediately after sex-ed class to get the religious perspective on sex?"

If they are asking about sexual variations they probably need some counseling from their pastors (or rabbis).

"Kids are free to do that, of course, on their own time. As has been said since this organization was founded, the schools' job is to present the facts."

Some facts need a moral context. If the schools can't do that, they should get out of the way.

""Actually, from historical data, it seems public health was better served by a more discreet society."

I'd like to see that data, if you will. As a matter of fact, I don't think you can find it. Syphilis killed thousands in a more discreet and religious Europe in the 16th century. Sexually transmitted diseases spread in the dark much more rapidly than in the light. That is the lesson of human history."

See my above post answering the same question from someone else.

"And do you believe it was a better time when women, who were unable to obtain contraception, became pregnant and "went away" to either have their baby or have an abortion?"

No, it was better when most waited until they were married to become pregnant.

"How about those who were sent to the laundries to spend their lives in shame?"

The Magdalene laundries in Ireland were horrible. A baby needs its mother. Those Irish Catholics were hypocrites more concerned with appearances than compassion.

October 13, 2005 8:33 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

A quick comment here... Anon said:

"No, it was better when most waited..."

One sign of our times is that people wait for many years past puberty to marry. You're biologically ready at 13 or 14, and in most societies that's when marriage happens.

We wait to marry, largely I think for economic reasons. This causes a lot of problems, because there are strong desires that have no socially acceptable outlet. As a consequence, I hate to tell you, almost nobody waits till marriage.

Anyway, in relation to your comment -- it wasn't "better when most waited" because people didn't wait.


October 13, 2005 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The questions you posed were to a post from the Lightning Man not Theresa. Theresa might not want to be associated with all the comments. I think Theresa is part of the CRC leadership. I always thought Theresa seems like a nice person but I don't belong to CRC or agree with all their positions and/or tactics.

My comments about the Ten Commandments were indeed mainly referring to the two you identified. It was in response to someone bringing up "public health." The thing is, man scurries around busily trying to find ways to avoid God's plan and still remain healthy but it's a losing battle. When will they ever learn?

Also, Dana, the comment about "spewing invectives": I don't know how much you read this but Jim, although he has occasional moments of lucidity, has raised the art of invective-spewing to a new level.

the Lightning Man

October 14, 2005 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


When I said "men", I was using it generically and meant the weaker sex too.


October 14, 2005 10:17 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

I'll admit I spew more invective than I like -- sometimes my judgment is proven wrong, and I hate that. Usually it's not.


October 14, 2005 10:27 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

People may find this informative. In this thread, nearer the top, Theresa wrote about being at the meeting for the health class, and as she wrote, "I specifically, in front of the whole room, asked if a child wrote down the question "what is anal sex" if they would read that question to the whole class. The answer was yes." She mentioned that she remembered someone else who was there, who she recognized as representing "our side" at the CRC HateFest.

That person was Karen, a former member of the citizens advisory committee, who spoke from the audience at that meeting not as a member of -- most of us didn't know her at that time, and I don't think she had even joined the big Yahoo group -- but as a member of the committee.

I emailed her and asked her if she remembered the incident, and she did. Her description of the event is different in a perfectly interesting way. She said I could quote her here, so here is what she said:

******* QUOTE *******
She's refering to the parent meeting that our science teacher/health ed. teacher did regarding the 5th grade sex ed program. Our teacher, Ms. Thompson, did a fabulous job by the way.

Ms. Thompson was explaining how kids can submit anonymous questions on index cards at the end of class and that she'll read them outloud and answer those she can. Theresa's hand shot up and she asked the question, so if a kid asks what is anal sex you'll read it to the whole class? Ms. Thompson said yes -- not that she'd answer it, but that she'd read it. Her explanation was something along the lines that if you don't read a kids' quesiton, you imply that it's dumb, wierd, unimportant etc -- that is, all kids' questions should be acknowledged, even if the reply is "I can't answer that here, but you can ask your parents," which is a reply Ms. Thompson said she uses a lot because the curriculum parameters are very specific. It was clear to me at the time, that Theresa felt she had somehow exposed some evil doing here, but all the other parents in the room seemed quite satisfied by that answer.
****** END QUOTE ******

The versions don't really conflict with one another factually, but it seems there are two entirely different views of what the interaction meant. I have to say I'd probably feel like Karen on this one.


October 14, 2005 2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"'I can't answer that here, but you can ask your parents,' which is a reply Ms. Thompson said she uses a lot because the curriculum parameters are very specific."

Deferring to parents doesn't sound like indoctrination to me.

Aunt Bea

October 14, 2005 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what about anal sex? This lady here seems to think it's a crime to say the words "anal sex" in front of a bunch of kids who watch South Park, listen to hip-hop, and spend every waking hour on the Internet. Like what, the teacher should keep it a secret, from 8th graders? The surveys are showing kids are doing anal sex now instead of the old-fashioned thing. So you say "Anal sex is when a man puts his penis in his partner's anus." That's what it is. So what?

if I know 8th graders, they will think that your anus is a planet somewhere between Mars and Mercury, and that it's real funny.

One school of thought would say, ooh, you can't say that or they'll all try it. The other school of thought says, if you're going to say that, you might as well tell them about how AIDS spreads, and what the risks are. I think the CRC wants to have their cake and eat it too -- they want to tell kids about all the diseases without telling them anything about how they are spread. They have freaked out because anal sex is mentioned in a video for high schoolers. Then they freak out cuz the schools weren't telling kids about how dangerous everything is. Come on, which one do you want, ignorance, or gory scary horrible details? Or, maybe, what's in between: facts.


October 15, 2005 12:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what did you say anal sex is?

Opie Taylor

October 15, 2005 9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'd like to say that I appreciate it when people are willing to participate using their real names. It makes for a more mature debate. If you're not in the closet and worried about being outed, what do you have to fear? I believe most people will say things using a pseudonym they wouldn't if they had to take credit for their words and defend them in the court of public opinion."

Doesn't it seem that whenever you've got a rousing game of Parcheesi going, there's always some killjoy that wants to throw a wet blanket on the table?

October 15, 2005 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The health curriculum does tell kids how HIV/AIDS is spread before it talks about sex. The sixth grade curriculum has a unit on communicable disease that includes HIV/AIDS, how it is spread, and how to prevent it. At the parents' meeting at my son's middle school, one parent asked how they teach about AIDS in the sixth grade when they don't teach about condoms until the 8th grade. The teacher acknowledged that it's tricky, but in the sixth grade, any discussion of sexual behavior is presented in terms of abstinence. And, just in case there's a question, condoms are among the methods of birth control discussed in 8th grade; the condom demonstration is reserved for 10th grade .

My experience at my son's middle school was not at all like Theresa's experience at Sligo. The teacher had very clear answers for how she would respond to questions that are outside of the curriculum. If a kids asks her what "gay" means, she can give them a short description and then she refers them to their parents, doctors, and religious leaders.

One of the reasons we need a good solid curriculum update is so that the teachers have answers for the students and don't have to "wing it" when the kids go out on a limb.

October 15, 2005 3:36 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

On the anal sex issue and the shocking statement in the Protect Yourself -that you should use a condom for every act of vaginal, oral and anal sex- The CRC quotes the statement- The Surgeon General has said that anal sex is too dangerous to perform". Therefore, people shouldn't be advised to protect themselves. We have asked which surgeon general as this statement is not found anywhere on the surgeon general's web site. I received an answer(or a non-answer) finally from the FDA which published this "quote"- they do not know which surgeon general said this(agreeing it is not on the SG website) but figured since the statement goes back so far in FDA documents( I find it first in 1990) that it isn't the current Surgeon General. Brilliant deduction!

However, I have found the statement use a condom for vaginal, anal and oral sex in both CDC and NIH recommendations on sexual health.And even in an FDA document!

I am not surprised that a gov't agency will continue to use a statement on which it has no actual background- esp given the current political situation.

October 15, 2005 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it was fifth grade then it would have been appropriate for the teacher to say "I can't tell you what that means, you can ask your parents." Which, from the other person's report who was there, seems to be what the teacher would say. So hey. That was easy.


October 16, 2005 1:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, to clear the confusion, Theresa=NCC elementary,
Lightning=Sligo Middle School.

The incident I discussed happened when my son was in sixth grade and he's now in eleventh. I've heard many times since that teachers were supposed to answer whatever questions the kids had so I was surprised that there would be some dispute about it. But, again, Jim would want us to presume that there's a carefully thought-out set of facts that will be taught when it's really open-ended.

If "I can't tell you what that means, you can ask your parents." really became school policy, we wouldn't all be having this discussion. We all know that it isn't and that, if this school board has its way, it never will be.

When kids first learn about sex, it should be presented as a sacred thing for a special purpose. Maybe most kids at public schools are watching South Park and surfing the net without a filter, but those parents who have successfully protected their children's perceptions shouldn't have their efforts undermined by taxpayer-enabled institutions. It's not necessary for everyone to discuss the sickest thing anyone has ever heard.


October 16, 2005 4:26 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

To Lightning,
you must live a very sheltered life if the the words anal sex are the most disgusting thing ever heard. I think children starving everywhere in the world(1 of every 2 children in DC goes to bed hungry at night- 1 in 5 here in Montgomery County), children locked in cages, children locked in car trunks, children forced into slavery, into prostitution- well, just a very few examples of much worse(and "sicker") things than anal sex.

And kids ask questions at school because maybe their parents don't talk to them or hit them when they ask about "sick things".


October 16, 2005 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lightning said, "I've heard many
times since that teachers were
supposed to answer whatever
questions the kids had so I was
surprised that there would be some
dispute about it."

Well, if you get all your information
about the health education program
in MCPS from the people who are pulling out all the stops in an effort to prevent
MCPS BOE from updating it's 13 year
old health education curriculum, it's easy
to see how you could get the wrong idea.

In fact, at every single parent meeting set up by the health teachers of all of my children's MCPS classes (I have been to many which have spanned these 13 years) I have been told the same thing: Those questions brought by students that are not covered by the curriculum are answered along the lines
of, "I can't answer that question for you in this class. You should ask your parents about

Relying on people who either home school, private school, or opt their students out of MCPS health class is not a very good way to get accurate information about what goes on inside MCPS health classrooms.

If you want to know what goes on in your child's classroom, speak to your child's teacher!


October 16, 2005 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LM Either your assumption that teachers just say anything they want is incorrect, or you have identified a problem. Of course a teacher speaks without a script, they have to look at the needs of their students and respond to those, but if they can't, and aren't, allowed to cover any topic they want.

If you think such a thing is going on, and you seem sure of it, you ought to be talking with your principal.

The current controversy has to do with an actual curriculum, an outline for information that teachers are supposed to present in their classes. If they're just babbling, then there's no sense in discussing any of this.

To tell you the truth, I can't really tell what your complaint is. Like, about the school board, what are you sayiing? "If they have their way?" I think professional teachers teach the curriculum in a way that engages the class, and I think the school board believes that, too.


October 16, 2005 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lightning says, "When kids first learn about sex, it should be presented as a sacred thing for a special purpose."

That's one view. Here's another.

My children got age appropriate facts about "where babies come from" when they asked the question. My husband and I agreed before we ever had children that we would handle such inquiries like all childhood inquiries -- with patience, honesty, and our loving guidance.

You are entitled to your beliefs and I encourage you to teach your kids about sex, love, and faith the way you want them to know those things.

I hope you are able to say the same thing about me, my children, and my beliefs.


October 16, 2005 2:32 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

And tell me Theresa, what do you think the harm would actually be, if a kid heard a word they didn't understand?


October 17, 2005 6:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theresa said...."Come on, you who preach tolerance and respect really believe this demonstrates any tolerance for the rights of parents who want to restrict what kids are exposed to ?..."

Yes, I do think the way MCPS has set up health education in our school system "demonstrates...tolerance for the rights of parents who want to restrict what their kids are exposed to" because these parents have the right to withhold permission for their students to take the class. If parents don't want their children exposed to this material, they may deny them permission to be exposed to it. It doesn't get much fairer than that.

Aunt Bea

October 17, 2005 9:20 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Theresa, I admit I don't understand why you have decided that it is harmful to children to hear about these particular biological functions, but it is not necessary for me to understand. You have the right to feel that way, and I understand that about 15 per cent of our society feels like you and does not think schools should teach sex-ed at all.

I'll be frank about my first thoughts on reading what you've just said. My first thought was, I'm glad your son will not be dating my daughter. And I pity the poor girl who does find herself the center of his attention.

Sex is a fact of life, from the most primitive multicellular creatures all the way up the tree. It is fundamental to life, including human life. All societies regulate sexual expression, and that's a good thing, it enables us to establish some kind of order in our personal lives and gives some assurance of paternity. But I am unable to understand why anybody makes that social function so overwhelmingly strange and creepy that you can't talk about it.

I try to imagine a kid growing up with this veil of mystery thrown over the most natural thing on the planet. He hits puberty, what happens? He cannot possibly understand what his feelings are, and most likely will be ashamed by them -- again, the most natural feelings in the world, feelings of love and attraction that motivate all living things to join together and procreate. And when he is with a girl, say on a date, just think how intense must be his shame, and how confusing this must be for the poor girl, who may be experiencing the same natural feelings but with less shame and more understanding. And imagine how an adolescent is supposed to control his behavior, when he has no understanding about what motivates it.

It's up to you, you can put your kids in a religious school, or home-school them, or opt them out of the health courses ... but I just don't get it. I'm not talking as a member of any group here or anything, just as a guy. I just don't see what the big deal is.

And as for your comment about tolerance for this kind of attitude, let me note that what you seem to be describing is simply an obsession. If someone is obsessed about stepping on the cracks in a sidewalk, I feel no obligation to develop crackless pavement. I -- and a great majority of Americans -- believe that it will be much better if our kids are educated with the facts, and most of us are not obsessed or terrified by the truth, even about sex.


October 17, 2005 10:36 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

I think one of my kids was about ten when they were joking and using the phrase "blow job," which they'd heard somewhere (they went to a Catholic school at the time, heard lots of stuff there). I said, "You want to know what that means?" Of course they did. So I told them. Of course it just grossed them out, and they stopped using the phrase.

I think most ten years olds would find the sound of the phrase "anal sex" completely uninteresting. If they ask about the phrase, you can just say, "It's something grownups do." I mean, what if they heard somebody mention Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, or talking about integral calculus? For a 10-year-old the world is full of things they don't know about. Some of the new stuff they encounter is cool, like bulldozers and roadkill and matches. Most of it is just boring grown-up stuff.

Listen, I don't think 10-year-olds need to be told what anal sex is, but do you understand what I'm saying about the words? The phonemes "ai-n'l secks" are not damaging to anybody, and with no meaning they are ... still not damaging. I'm not advocating bringing it into the classroom, but I don't see what the big deal is about it. Either a kid already knows what it means, in which case he;'s not learning anything new if he hears it again, or he doesn't know what it means, in which case ... it's just some words.


October 17, 2005 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Puberty "arrived," just at the 10-11 borderline, when my son was in 5th grade. It is progressing as it normally does. By the time my son took the 5th grade health course, he had read "What's Happening To My Body (Boys' Edition)" and "What's Going On Down There." I gave him the books after reading them myself. He now understands what is happening and that not everything will happen at once, and he freely comes to us (mom and dad) with his questions. I don't think 5th grade is too young for kids to know about what is going on in their own bodies. I think that the very strong bonds of trust that we have are an excellent way of protecting my son.

As to the question about anal sex, as I recall, it was an adult, not a 5th grader, who asked that question. A parent at a meeting asked what a teacher would do if that question came up, yes? Well, does the come up with 5th graders? If they ask the question, it means that they have already heard the words, does it not? If they have not already heard them, then they are not going to ask are they?

Based on my experience as a mom and as a member of this forum, It appears to me that the adults in CRC are much more interested in anal sex than our 5th graders are.

October 17, 2005 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Different parents will most likely have different opinions about when their student is mature enough to hear a whole host of sexual terms including "anal sex." What is too early for some is too late for others and visa versa. No health education curriculum will ever please every single parent.

The point is that here in MCPS, parents can control the information their students receive in health class.

My most recent parent meeting about MCPS health education was at an MCPS high school. (It's been a few years since I have attended a fifth grade parent health education meeting.) These high school health educators told us that when a parent tells them their student is to hear no discussion or even mention of a certain topic, the teachers are willing to make sure the parent's wishes are met. If a parent wants their student to miss only a few minutes or an entire week of instruction, the teachers were all willing to accomodate such requests by giving the student work approved by the parent to complete in another room.

Perhaps if you had told the health teacher that "anal sex" is not a term you wanted your son to hear, the two of you could have worked out something else for him to work on in another room if such a question was to be read in class one day. It sounds like throwing out the baby with the bathwater to me to deny a child all the information in a class because of an objection to only one term that might be mentioned.

And Theresa, please note as I told Lightning, I am NOT a guy. Thank you. :)

Aunt Bea

October 17, 2005 4:02 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

My take on it- is that if a kid is asking the question in class or writing it down to be read- the kid/kids are saying it(even if they have no idea what it means) at recess(if they have recess) or at lunch or on the bus- so the words are being heard anyway. I would rather have it said and answered- You need to ask your parents - then to have the answer be whatever other kids are saying it is on the bus because the question couldn't be asked. I was one of those kids whose parents told me nothing and answered no questions- so I had a lot of odd "information".

October 18, 2005 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theresa said:
Jim -
"I have tried to keep my childrens' innocence as long as possible. That after all, is what makes them kids. I am also not terribly religous, though I do go to church - but not every weekend.

My nine year old boy does not know what sex is yet. He knows it has something to do with a naked man and a naked women - that's about it. He kind of knows what gay is- liking the same sex, but since he conceptually doesn't understand sex yet, I doubt very much he has put this together. I will probably tell him when he is ten, that is when I told his sister.

I will tell him what it is, and that is for married people. He will probably react in the same way his sister did "and you and dad had to do that 3 times to have us ? Gross !". I won't bother to correct him.

He knows that no-one should touch his private area, he knows about inappropriate touching, and if someone does he should scream bloody murder and run. The explanation I have offered on this is there are some very bad people out there.

I think this is ALL he needs to know right now."

AmyH responds: first, childlike innocence involves a lot more then knowledge of sex. It's more an attitude of curiousity and trust and an openness and willingness to accept differences in people or at least attach little significance to them, i.e., color, appearance, disability, etc.. Every kid who grew up on a farm knows what animals do to have babies and they have probably seen the births and the genitals of the animals and they probably know that what they do is called "sex." Have all of those children lost their innocence? My greatgrandmother gave birth to her children in a one-room hut in Eastern Europe and the younger children heard and saw what was going on. Same was true for pioneers in the US. Were those children not innocent?

Second, I think you are dreaming if you think your 9-year old doesn't know about sex. I have an 11 year old who has known quite a bit about "sex" for a long time. Much of it he picked up on TV or from friends and much of his information was wrong or distorted and needed some explanation by me to flesh out what he thought he knew. When he was around 5 he told me he knew what sex was. I asked him what it was. he said it was when a man and a woman took off their shirts and hugged and kissed. Since I am a single parent and he never saw me do that, I asked how he knew that. He said he saw it on my soap opera which I tape and watch. He was right. Sex on network TV usually consists of hugging and kissing sometimes with shirts off and then the scene fades.
The point is, you'd have to lock your child in a closet and NEVER let him out of the house or read a newspaper or even watch the news for that matter if you want him/her to know nothing about sex.

Third, if you have told your children that some bad people may try to touch you inappropriately, then I assume you would have to explain what kind of touching is appropriate and by whom, which often leads to some discussion of people who love each other expressing that love through hugging and kissing (parent/child, lovers, grandparents/childen). I neglected to explain that it was okay for the doctor to see you iin your underwear and touch your body and my son, at around 7, informed his female doctor he wasn't getting undressed or letting her touch him because she wasn't his mother!! Since "appropriate" expressions of affection may be sexual at times, your son does indeed know something about sex. That, of course, is age appropriate for very young children. Nevertheless, the fact remains that your/our kids are going to hear lots of things from the world around us no matter how you/we may try to protect them.

As Andrea pointed out, there are a lot more disgusting and/or sad things for our children to be exposed to than sex. Wouldn't your child lose his innocence if he saw starving and dying kids in Dafar on TV, or learned that teenagers are shooting each other over sneakers and jackets, or saw a homeless person and realized that, yes, even in this country, there are people with no homes.

This equation of knowledge of sex with loss of innocence totally mystifies me. Children don't lose innocence from gaining knowledge. Unfortunately, as we grow up and we learn to think about the things we observe in our world, we gradually lose our innocence because we come to realize that there are grownups and leaders of countries who lie, cheat, murder people, gas people, betray, etc., etc. It is hard not to become cynical in the face of the "real" difficulties we face in this world. Hearing the words anal sex just doesn't seem like such a big deal.

October 27, 2005 3:34 PM  

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