I’m not going to recap the whole controversy here, just because you can go Google it, if you really don’t know yet.
This article gets it mostly right, but there is a subtle bias. The article notes that 34 spoke in favor and 30 in opposition, which may lead to the impression that there were more proponents than oppenents. This is misleading at best. Rough guesstimate, 70%-80% of the attendees were opposed.
The ground rules laid down were pretty much “stick to your two minutes,” “no personal attacks,” and “be respectful.” Three or four proponents made use of their “respectful” time by making snide remarks about Catholic education. Which was evidently OK, because the “facilitator” didn’t say anything.
Commentary in favor seemed to be largely anecdotal evidence and pleas for “tolerance.” The “usual suspects” were there: P-FLAG, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Human Rights Network, ACLU. There were some arguments based on prevention of STI’s and pregnancies. (Whatever happened to STD’s? “Disease” too harsh or something?)
One of the arguments that bothered me the most came from a school board member (who is, incidentally, married to a Democratic legislator) who said that he, too, objected initially, but then came around to agreement because teaching a child about sex can prevent sexual abuse. This is an LEO, by the by. He drug out a long story about a convicted sex offender who was on the run and was possibly in Montana, and how this curriculum could maybe prevent some kid from being abused. First of all, most child sexual abuse comes from someone who is in a position of trust and authority, i.e., family, teachers, and/or clergy; not some wild-eyed stranger. So, this argument was not only a non-starter in my book, it was utterly nonsensical.
Several gay men spoke to how they were bullied and tormented, and how this curriculum would fix that. Well, no it wouldn’t. Is bullying a problem? Absolutely. Ask anyone who is “different.” Doesn’t matter if you’re gay, or a computer nerd, or any number of “things,” cretins will bully you. Is bullying a problem that can be solved? Probably not. People are assholes. Always have been, always will be. Don’t cheapen someone else being bullied, by placing special emphasis on sexual orientation. Plenty of straight kids get bullied, too. I don’t want to minimize the bullying in any way. But it’s a discrete issue.
After the “pro” side spoke, most of them left. (Tolerance for diffrerent viewpoints, yanno.)
As the opponents spoke, there were a couple anecdotal speakers. One said, “I knew everything about sex, and ended up getting pregnant anyway.” There were two former teachers who basically said, “Leave this out. Math, reading, writing, literature, music and art are far more important than this. Shore up those programs first.” Many people said, in essence, “We were left out of the process. Let’s step back and bring EVERYBODY to the table and find something that the community can live with.” Not once did I hear that from the proponents. (To be fair, someone may have made that point, but if so, I don’t remember.)
There were the requisite appeals to morality, of course. While relevant, I’m not sure that they “win hearts and minds,” in the parlance of our times.
So now it’s back to the board’s hands. I suspect they are being inundated with calls, emails, letters and faxes.
I’ll be going to the next board meeting, so will have more to talk about then.
As for me, going into next school year, my school kids will be 12, 9 and 5. They want to teach 5 year olds about penis and vagina and uterus. My five year-old says stuff to me like, “Daddy, butterflies are very beautiful,” “Daddy, fireworks are for boys AND girls,” or “Daddy, your tools can fix everything,” She’s not ready for “penis” and “vagina.” I know that. I can see it. She knows that no one is supposed to touch her private places.
Right now, that’s enough for all of us.
Filed under: We're So Fucked