- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 8, 2005

The sex educators in Montgomery County, Md., have devised a film for 10th-graders that features a young lady putting a condom on a cucumber. You do wonder, when you read about these things, why they stop there.

After all, if the assumption is kids are too stupid to know how to unroll a condom unless it is demonstrated for them, why would they be smart enough to know it goes on a penis and not on a vegetable?

But guess what? They are indeed worried about that. Wendy Shalit, in a City Journal piece in 1998 described a New York teacher’s guide that urged ninth-grade health teachers to unroll condoms and stretch them out onto “two fingers.”

A “teacher’s note” reads, “Make sure that learning disabled and all students understand that a condom goes on the erect penis, and not on the fingers as demonstrated.” It’s impossible to satirize these people. For this, we are taking valuable class time away from American history, literature and science?

Most states derive their sex-ed curricula, in whole or in part, from the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, a group with a decidedly liberal view of these matters. SIECUS promotes sex ed starting in kindergarten, when children should be taught the proper names for body parts and the difference between good touch and bad touch.

In New York, kindergartners also learn the difference between transmissible and nontransmissible diseases, the terms HIV and AIDS, and that “AIDS is hard to get.” But the 5- and 6-year-olds are not left in the dark. Teachers tell them how people get AIDS, and that “it feels good to touch parts of the body.”

I wonder: Do even New York parents want their kindergartners instructed on the mechanics of HIV transmission and offered early initiation into the pleasures of sexual touching?

Montgomery County was sued by two parent groups. It wasn’t just the erect cucumber to which the parents objected. The school board was modifying its sex-ed curriculum (already a 14-page document) in ways even that the Kerry-supporting, nuclear-free, recycling county found hard to take.

At one time, the new curriculum was to feature information on flavored condoms. There’s something that will help the trade deficit. The cheery young lady who protects the cucumber also advises her audience of 14- and 15-year-olds that abstinence is the surest way to prevent pregnancy, but, “Buying condoms isn’t as scary as you might think.”

Read that, and then try to take seriously the sex educators’ claim they are merely providing information for teens — not encouraging early sexuality. It’s impossible to know how much of an effect sex ed has on kids’ decisions, but it is interesting even SIECUS acknowledged in the ‘90s that sex ed had not reduced teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases at all.

Indeed, as Miss Shalit observes, it’s possible to make at least a prima facie case sex ed may have done the reverse. A 1991 study in Family Planning Perspectives found instruction on contraceptives was “significantly correlated with an earlier onset of sexual activity.”

If sex ed were merely the birds and the bees, anatomy and a few cautionary notes about sexually transmitted diseases, even most traditionally minded parents would not object. But quite often the sex educators are much more ambitious. Montgomery County’s school board also proposed (before backing down in the face of protest) to teach kids that homosexual experimentation was normal. Even the revised curriculum still contains tendentious statements like, “Most experts in the field have concluded that sexual orientation is not a choice,” and “American families are becoming more complex, and the greater variety of households encourages open mindedness in society.”

Middle- and high-schoolers would further be invited to explore their own sexual identity. They would be introduced to the idea of transgendered individuals and advised “biology is not destiny.”

It took a lawsuit to suspend the march of this brave new world in Montgomery County. On May 5, a federal judge granted a 10-day restraining order against the school board.

Do you know what’s happening at your child’s school?

Mona Charen is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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