Andrew Jackson Language Academy, a public school in Chicago, put on a shocking demonstration of their 5th and 6th grade sex-ed materials for parents who were there to pick up report cards. The presentation included slides that could have hardly been less appropriate for the age group in question. In the material were instructions for applying both male and female condoms, assurances that the morning-after pill was not an abortion pill, and a claim that kids 12 and older had the right to sexual health and reproductive services without the consent of their parents.
To say the least, the presentation proved controversial. A spokesman for Chicago Public Schools was quick to release a statement that said the material was not meant to be part of the district’s sexual education curriculum, though he offered no explanation for why the presentation was given. Another school in the area – Waters Elementary – claimed to have opted out of the condom demonstrations, which seems to indicate that the material was indeed meant to serve as the curriculum.
The female condom seemed particularly important to the presentation. Included among the praise for the contraceptive was language that assured children that the condom could be inserted “hours before vaginal sex, so you don’t have to interrupt foreplay to be safe.”
The Front Lines of the Culture War
Here we go again. Liberals will stop at nothing to thwart the will of conservative parents who don’t want their children to be exposed to this kind of comprehensive sex education program. Particularly when the “education” starts with kids as young as 5th and 6th graders. When material like this inspires outrage from parents, school officials always back off in the same way. “Oh, no, we never meant for this to blahblahblah.” Meanwhile, they never seem to answer the simple question: What is this curriculum meant for, if not for children?
The trick, of course, is to move the Overton window a little further to the left. Parents rejected this presentation, but when we come back with a slightly less obscene one, they’ll be mollified. They’ll be happy. Conservatives in the community think they’ve won a victory, when really the new and improved curriculum is still outrageously explicit. The window has been moved. In another five or ten years, the original material will be acceptable, just like its creators intended all along.
To win this victory, conservatives must be decisive and uncompromising. This is not just about religious values. This is about the world we want our children to grow up in. Does any parent with half a brain want their children to be fully educated about every aspect of sexual relations by the time they’re 10?
The case of Chicago’s sexual education curriculum is only one of many. It’s representative of a much larger culture war, and it’s a war conservatives have been losing for some time. The effects on our American way of life are astounding and devastating. I don’t necessarily believe that morality should be legislated from Washington, but I certainly don’t believe that public schools should be in the business of subverting parental values.