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March 07, 2007

Sex-ed curriculum moves forward

From today's Post: "Almost forgotten is the infamous 'cucumber video,' in which a youthful health educator unrolls a condom onto a cucumber." I know I haven't forgotten it, because I mined it for jokes for about a year and a half (see this and links collected here).

But the cucumber video is not my sex-ed topic for today.

Today, we deal with the other half of the disputed curriculum, the part covering homosexuality. When I last covered this topic, I argued that the curriculum had to be factual and scientific, and I noted:

If there's one thing you'd expect that everyone could agree upon, it's that anal sex, especially unprotected anal sex, poses a serious risk of transmission of HIV. What's very troubling is that a description of the new curriculum in the Post suggests that it omits any discussion of that risk. (The Post refers to it, delicately, as "potential health risks.") That anal sex is risky isn't religion; it isn't political correctness; it isn't opinion. It's objective fact. Teaching about homosexuality while refusing to tell kids about the risks involved in anal sex is simply insane.
From today's article in the Post, "Montgomery Starts Sex-Ed Pilot Program," there's no indication that the risk of HIV transmission is part of the pilot curriculum. Instead, the curriculum sounds as if it focuses on the touchy-feely:
The lessons, which require parental permission for students to take, are taught to two classes on alternating days and raise the topic of sexual orientation at grade 8 in a discussion that centers on tolerance, stereotyping and harassment. Grade 10 lessons define the terms in greater depth as part of a frank discussion about the search for sexual identity. These are the lessons that have stirred most of the rancor.
Now, I realize anal sex is a pretty raw subject to cover, but at least for most gay men, that subject is pretty central to life.

Tomorrow's Post is running an article "Sex-Ed Pilot Is Endorsed By Grasmick," which reports that the state superintendent has refused to stay the pilot program while the state Board of Education reaches a decision on a challenge filed by opponents of the program. So we can all look forward to more contention.

Followed by even more contention.

I wish we were still talking about condom videos.