Opinion: Sex ed shouldn’t cast conservative parents as ‘weird minority’

A “sexual identity” quiz given to a class in a DeKalb middle school led to parental complaints.
(FOX 5 Atlanta)

Jane Robbins of Atlanta is an attorney and senior fellow at the American Principles Project, a conservative think tank.​ In this piece, she talks about sex education, focusing on the different programs used in DeKalb and Gwinnett schools.

As the AJC reported earlier this year:

Gwinnett is one of several area school districts that use an abstinence-centered curriculum called “Choosing the Best.” Gwinnett has used the curriculum since 2001 and a committee reviews it throughout the year, school district officials said. Other area districts that use “Choosing the Best” include Fulton, Cobb, Clayton, Forsyth, Marietta, Hall, and Fayette, Gwinnett officials said. Parents can choose not to allow their children to participate in the sex ed classes.

Polls shows parents overwhelmingly support sex education, but that’s where the consensus typically ends. DeKalb County dropped “Choosing the Best” about a decade ago in response to parent protests about its accuracy, switching to a program called FLASH, “Family Life and Sexual Health.” In 2015, Fulton updated its materials, saying many of them had become outdated. Some health care advocates and parents argued the lessons didn’t teach teens how to protect themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

With that background, here’s the column by Robbins.

By Jane Robbins

A few Gwinnett parents and students have recently complained about the abstinence-centered sex-ed program (“Choosing the Best”) used in the schools’ health classes. Preferring what is termed a “comprehensive” approach, some have proposed as an alternative the Family Life and Sexual Health (FLASH) program used now in the DeKalb County School District.

How’s that working out for DeKalb? In 2016, though it had over 19,000 fewer 15- to 17-year-olds than Gwinnett, DeKalb reported significantly more pregnancies (263 vs. 187), abortions (80 vs. 62), and STD cases (638 vs. 449) in this age group. This would not appear to be a compelling reason to switch to FLASH.

FLASH pushes and, in some cases,demonstrates birth-control methods without warning about failure rates or health risks. (Choosing the Best is more “comprehensive” in this respect, since it also discusses contraception and includes all the medical information missing from FLASH.) FLASH’s Curriculum Mapping Tool for grades 6-8 lays out the orientation of the curriculum: “The role of the educator is to foster attitudes that will lead students to seek health care and, especially, to seek condoms and prescription contraception.”

No wonder FLASH is “especially” recommended by Planned Parenthood – what better way to suck underage girls into the dark but lucrative world of promiscuity and contraception followed by abortion(s) and STD treatment? The program also references Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation as teacher resources.

FLASH also injects a heaping dose of political indoctrination into its curriculum. According to a report from Fox 5, DeKalb parents were upset when a Lithonia Middle School health teacher administered a test asking 6th-graders to respond to questions about “cisgender,” “gender queer,” and “gender fluid,” among other terms created as part of a political rather than scientific agenda. Parents objected to testing students on fabricated, sexualized nonsense and to usurping parents’ role in explaining these concepts in their own way and on their own timetable.

But this wasn’t just a radical teacher going rogue: It’s in the FLASH curriculum.

To be considered comprehensive among agenda-driven “experts,” a sex-ed program must discuss LGBT issues. The excuse is that those kids too must learn how to protect themselves (abstinence-centered programs teach the value of abstinence for all teenagers of any sexual proclivity). As illustrated by the Lithonia Middle lesson, much of this is simply propaganda designed to normalize any type of sexual behavior or confusion.

Jane Robbins

The indoctrination is direct. One 4th-grade lesson teaches that all family structures – mom/dad, mom/mom, dad/dad, whatever – are equally valid and healthy. Other middle-school lessons celebrate different sexual orientations and gender identities.

Some parents agree with this philosophy and certainly have the right to teach their beliefs to their children. But others don’t accept it, because it conflicts with their faith and/or because they recognize that children thrive best when they have both a mother and a father. Why are their beliefs disregarded?

DCSD emphasizes that parents may opt their children out of the lessons in accordance with Georgia law. But one DeKalb parent claims she did opt her daughter out of the instruction but that her wishes were ignored (DCSD hasn’t responded publicly to this claim). Others say they never received opt-out information. And even if allowed to opt out, are parents given full information about what the health curriculum contains – “gender queer” and all – or just a statement of the general topics to be covered? Parental opt-out may be less meaningful than it appears.

But more fundamentally, the statutory opt-out language was adopted decades ago, in the more innocent days when the Legislature sought only to limit governmental intrusion on parents’ right to teach the biological, emotional, and religious aspects of sex. Legislators certainly never imagined a school would use the health course to teach concepts that are not only scientifically unsupported but part of a political agenda to indoctrinate children into a particular worldview.

Imagine the opposite situation. Suppose a school taught that the ideal family structure consists of mother, father, and children and that there’s no scientific basis for “gender fluidity,” but allowed parents to opt out of that instruction. The political shrieking would be audible from the moon. So why are traditional parents, who certainly comprise the vast majority of Georgians, treated like a weird minority who must seek special dispensation from the school to protect their children from alien beliefs? Why don’t schools just stay out of this minefield and let parents handle it?

DeKalb parents are seeing what happens with “comprehensive” sex education. Gwinnett parents should take notice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reader Comments 0

29 comments
Emily Johnson
Emily Johnson

I’m curious to know if DeKalb County has seen an increase or decrease in teen pregnancies and STD infections since switching programs.

Jack Gayle
Jack Gayle

This is an irresponsible pile of thinly veiled bigotry masquerading (as usual) as some sort of perceived defense of traditional values (whatever that means). The terms the author erroneously claims are politically driven have origins in recent studies on the psychology underlying sexuality and identity formation and are not beholden to her apparent lack of understanding. The curriculum in question appears to be attempting to educate children more holistically rather than leading with abstinence only (which has proven time and again to fail). Her comparison of pregnancy rates is a classic correlation doesn't mean causation mistake when other variables (such as crime and poverty) are considered. I would hope that the AJC would think twice before printing garbage like this in the future. Our inability to understand that all points of view are indeed NOT equal or worthy of consideration is why we still have an enormous number of Americans who don't believe in climate change or evolution and still think vaccines cause autism. Do better AJC.

Sue Levine
Sue Levine

"When a Lithonia Middle School health teacher administered a test asking 6th-graders to respond to questions about “cisgender,” “gender queer,” and “gender fluid,” among other terms created as part of a political rather than scientific agenda..." Actually human sexuality is indeed very complex. These words have actual meaning to match the complexity that some people wish to deny. Parents who are most upset might benefit from reading this book A Guide to Gender http://www.guidetogender.com/?utm_source=ipm&utm_campaign=preorder&utm_medium=intext

Richard Cionci
Richard Cionci

Looking at some responses, boy do I wish some parents exercised safe and effective birth control.

Fadesewa Iwalewa
Fadesewa Iwalewa

This is why I don’t want to allow my child in these classes! Either way the full is never told!

Sethian
Sethian

Notice how on this blog individuals and groups are frequently labeled "conservative" ... while the term "liberal" is seldom if ever applied?

redweather
redweather

@Sethian You're right. Liberals are usually referred to as snowflakes on this blog.

knight490
knight490

If your kids don't know about different orientations, how can you teach them who to hate and oppress?  You should be thanking FLASH schools.

Boscaverde
Boscaverde

Wow...nice way to slant an article with weak statistics.  The implication here is that FLASH is what is causing teenage pregnancies and STDs.


Perhaps we should consider demographics before leaping to this conclusion?


Dekalb is approx 55% African American, 35% White.  Gwinnett is approx 28% African American, 56% White.  A teenage pregnancy is about twice as likely to occur to An African American child as to a White child.


Also, the median household income in Dekalb is 51K vs 60K in Gwinnett.  Household income also plays a factor in teenage pregnancies.


Finally, the obvious thing that a decent reporter would do would be to compare the pre-FLASH statistics at Dekalb vs the current (using FLASH) statistics.  That is going to be the closest comparison.


Shoddy work with an obvious agenda.  This article shouldn't even be appearing in the AJC.

Joan Gilbert Rhoden
Joan Gilbert Rhoden

Just like the vitriol and mocking of VP Pence’s stance on choosing not to go to dinner alone with woman other than his wife. The Left harbors rapists, pedophiles, and perverts and mocks the acknowledgment of scientific genders, the opposition to the promotion and glorification of sexual deviance as education, and excuses lies, deceit, and “gaslighting” of the American people by executive power.

Q1225
Q1225

How can we trust scientists about gender if we can't trust them about climate change?

Tiana Kelly
Tiana Kelly

You literally lose all credit complaining about the left and their “perversion”. Take a look at the GOP.... it’s as if you’ve literally written about them. Shhh, now. Just go back to the land of bigotry.

Laura Register
Laura Register

This opinion piece is what is wrong with sex ed. It shouldn't be opinionated but fact based. So many of our kids are facing issues we can't even imagine. Teaching them that the only right way to live is mom, dad and 2.3 children is just wrong. FLASH doesn't teach morals it teaches facts. It is up to families and faith based organizations to teach the morals and values the family chooses. It works best when we all work together to help our kids

Tiana Kelly
Tiana Kelly

Opinion: GA sex ed should be waaaay less heteronormative. The kids should matter more than how their parents feel.

Tiana Kelly
Tiana Kelly

One of the classes the girls took had an activity about “what makes the perfect husband” where they drew comments on a boy shaped cut out. Needless to say, that ended quickly. They’re freaking horrible down here.

Emily Johnson
Emily Johnson

Tiana Kelly I’m so glad I graduated before decent (aka comprehensive) sex ed became controversial. Then again, I don’t think it’s ever been the fight in Iowa that it’s been elsewhere.

redweather
redweather

"No wonder FLASH is “especially” recommended by Planned Parenthood – what better way to suck underage girls into the dark but lucrative world of promiscuity and contraception followed by abortion(s) and STD treatment? "


FYI:  When writing an argument, it is never a good idea to make a claim like the one above early in the essay. It will more than likely prompt many to stop reading after deciding the writer is prone to making ridiculous claims. 

vinylt
vinylt

@redweather  Yeah, I about sprayed my monitor with coffee on that one. That line could've come straight from "The Onion."

Katrina Bishop
Katrina Bishop

Opinion: Sex Ed in Georgia should be Science based

Ruth Zackowitz Hartman
Ruth Zackowitz Hartman

Opinion: sex Ed in Georgia should teach other methods of birth control besides abstinence.