Many parents assume the purpose of sex education is to teach children how to make responsible decisions about their sexual health.
But when the curtain is pulled back, some parents have found that public schools are not equipping their sons and daughters with the necessary tools to help them avoid risky sexual behaviors. In some cases, parents have even discovered the school’s sex education curriculum involves exposing minors to inappropriate material, drawing condemnation.
A recent sex health survey administered to tenth-graders in a health class at the Brookfield Central High School in Wisconsin has prompted such criticism from parents, according to WISN-TV.
The survey gave students the option of revealing information about their sexual activity in real-time through the digital platform Poll Everywhere. After submitting their responses anonymously, the survey results appeared live on-screen to the rest of the class in the form of a bar chart.
Students were asked to provide answers to statements like, “I have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs when having sexual intercourse,” and “I’ve had sexual intercourse with 4 or more people.”
The survey also allowed students to disclose whether they had ever participated in “oral or anal sex,” or if they had engaged in sexual activity without protection.
While participation was optional for students, their parents were not warned about the survey’s content ahead of time.
During an Elmbrook School Board meeting on Tuesday, however, a few parents took the opportunity to voice their concerns.
“This should not be asked of our tenth-grade children or any children underage,” Heidi Harrison, a Brookfield mother, said. “I asked the school board this, ‘How would you like it if I asked you these questions? How would you feel?’”
“Those questions have no place in high school. This questionnaire should be illegal, [in] my personal opinion,” the mother added. “They are asking for sexual information from a minor.”
In an anonymous statement to The Daily Wire, one family revealed that the survey made their child “uncomfortable.” According to the family, even though the survey was optional, everyone still had to sit through the presentation.
Brookfield Central principal Brett Gruetzmacher apologized to parents in an email, citing the district’s respect for “the primary role that the family plays in developing values, attitudes and behavior.”
Gruetzmacher also assured parents that the school would not present such material to students again.
“Unfortunately, in this instance, these expectations were not followed. No student-specific information was recorded during this survey and the survey … will not be used again,” Gruetzmacher said. “I am sorry and disappointed that this happened and will take the necessary steps to ensure that this does not happen again.”
Brookfield Central did not immediately respond to The Western Journal’s request for further comment.
Still, many parents expressed skepticism about the school’s apology. The parents explained to The Daily Wire that it is difficult to opt their children out of controversial lessons, as they do not always know when the topics will be discussed in the classroom.
While the parents want to see more transparency from the school district, few are hopeful that the district will be receptive to their concerns.
“They’re just going to keep doing the same thing,” one parent said. “They’ve never been held accountable for anything.”
This is not the first time that a school has been caught teaching inappropriate sex education material to students.
As The Associated Press reported in May 2019, parents objected to the state of California’s decision to implement a controversial new sex education program in schools. The program’s framework informed teachers on how to educate kindergarteners about their gender identity and provide middle-schoolers with tips on how to masturbate.
Patricia Reyes, a mother of six children, made her objections to the curriculum clear during a California State Board of Education meeting at the time.
“It’s just scary what they are going to be teaching. It’s pornography,” Reyes said. “If this continues, I’m not sending them to school.”
In another incident that WRAL-TV reported on in October 2018, parents in North Carolina showed up to a Cumberland County Board of Education meeting to protest the “Get Real” sex education program.
Their efforts were successful, but if the schools had implemented the program, 11 to 14-year-old students would have been taught how to explore their sexual identity and use various birth control methods.
Schools should not expose minors to graphic sexual content without their parents’ knowledge. If sex education is to be taught in schools, it should encourage open dialogue between kids and their parents.
When schools like Brookfield Central attempt to teach controversial sex education material in secret, they remove the crucial role of the family in delicate conversations about sex.
Students deserve exposure to educational material that strengthens their personal relationships instead of undermining them. Children also should not be encouraged to explore heavy sexual topics without their parents’ guidance.
If sex education programs have to be taught in secret, then administrators and school board members should probably take that as a sign that something is not quite right with the curriculum.