LDS against controversial sex ed classes
On a January morning in Montgomery County, Maryland, some Latter-day Saint women put aside their regular routines for the day to stand for truth and fairness in a uncomfortable, public discussion on a controversial new sex ed curriculum for 8th and 10th grade students.
The county school board planned to discuss and vote on the new lesson plans that day in front of a room full of people, cable television viewers and several major media organizations because Montgomery County borders the nation's capital.
Later that evening, many of these full-time mothers were on television news reports as the few voices who opposed a curriculum based more on political correctness than medical science and moral values. The next morning their faces, their comments and their handmade signs were in major news publications like the Washington Post and the Washington Times.
These LDS women weren't looking for media attention for themselves. They were earnestly seeking to warn school officials and the public on the health risks and glaring bias that were pushing their way into sex ed classes in their county.
Though the spotlight currently is on Maryland, this issue will certainly arise in schools — including yours — across the nation as school boards are pushed to adopt curricula that present homosexuality as a natural and morally correct lifestyle — to the exclusion of all other perspectives. This means young children will be in classrooms where any other viewpoint will not be tolerated, admitted or discussed.
Even if a child could be opted out of this kind of course, this trend means the rising generation will be indoctrinated to believe that homosexuality is just another form of sexuality — worthy of consideration and experimentation without any understanding of the increased health risks and dangers associated with this lifestyle.
The new sex ed lessons were intended to be a compromise after an earlier legal battle. In 2005, parents brought a lawsuit against the Montgomery Board of Education for passing a curriculum that presented homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle in the classroom. In May of that year, U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. issued a 10-day restraining order on the curriculum for violating religious freedom and for viewpoint discrimination.
In response to the ruling, the superintendent scrapped the curriculum and the committee who wrote it. After more than a year of work, the newly formed Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) submitted the revised lesson plans to the Board of Education.
The sex ed lessons consist of two 45-minute classes in grade eight called "Respect for Differences in Human Sexuality." These lessons are designed to teach tolerance, empathy and respect for sexual variations, including homosexuality and transgenderism. The three classes in grade 10 expound upon these topics and include a condom usage video.
LDS Women Stand United in the Culture Wars
Although the LDS women who attended the school board meeting wore different "hats," they were completely united in their stand that public schools are institutions of education — not indoctrination. They believed if the school board insisted upon delving into highly sensitive and controversial subject matter then that curriculum needed to express differing viewpoints, be medically accurate and teach the consequences. Of course tolerance, empathy and respect are important — but not at the expense of fairness, sound medical and social science data and freedom of speech.
Michelle Turner, RoseMarie Briggs and Martha Schaerr came to the highly publicized school board meeting as leaders. Teressa Wallace, Valerie Dickey, MaryAnn Parsons and Kari Marshall came as concerned parents holding small signs expressing their opinions.
RoseMarie Briggs, Family Leader Network executive director, is in the center. The person on right is Michelle Turner, director of Citizens for Responsible Curriculum.
Michelle Turner attended the school board meeting as president of a grassroots organization called Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum (CRC). CRC does not oppose health curriculum about homosexuality as long as it is presented in an age-appropriate, medically accurate and fair manner.
CRC and another organization called Parents and Friends of Gays and Ex-Gays (PFOX) were the plaintiffs in the 2005 lawsuit against the school system. When the controversial curriculum was originally approved in the fall of 2004, Turner made several attempts to speak with school officials. When the concerns of CRC and a petition signed by 4,000 citizens were ignored, CRC had no alternative but to file legal charges.
In response to the new curriculum, CRC stated, "Montgomery County’s reworked sex ed curriculum is still filled with sexual material that many of the county’s parents would find objectionable." According to CRC, nowhere in the curriculum is sex placed within the context of marriage, and the new sections on sexual orientation fail to discuss the increased risk of sexually transmitted disease inherent in homosexual sex.
At the school board meeting Turner testified "Once again, we are looking at a curriculum that seeks to introduce young children to acts and lifestyles that are proven medically to be hazardous to one's health, both physically and emotionally."
She had earlier submitted a minority report where she wrote, “Permeating the entire curriculum and the CAC recommendations are the themes that homosexuality and transgenderism are normal, natural, unchangeable and healthy conditions requiring only acceptance, understanding and, indeed, empathy and respect from students. Totally absent is any consideration or mention of opposing viewpoints concerning moral objections and medical risks associated with these conditions, or even the possibility that changing one’s sexual orientation may be possible. Missing also is any recognition of the possibility of some students having beliefs and viewpoints contrary to those favored in the curriculum, much less to express those beliefs and viewpoints.
“The curriculum further violates required viewpoint neutrality by exclusively advocating and presenting only the one dogma of moral approval of homosexuality and cross-dressing. School policy forbids students from mentioning beliefs contrary to this dogma.”
One member of the curriculum advisory committee said, "We must remember this is a health class, not a political agenda. Don't kick the children around like a...political football."
RoseMarie Briggs, executive director of Family Leader Network, told reporters that, “If schools insist on teaching about homosexual behavior they should include all the facts and teach all the consequences. We are alarmed that the Citizens Advisory Committee rejected a letter by 270 physicians who urged the committee to include a warning on condom use by the U.S Surgeon General in the 10th grade lesson plan and the condom demonstration video. Former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Koop, stated ‘‘Condoms provide some protection, but anal intercourse is simply too dangerous to practice.”
Briggs also pointed out that overall the curriculum fails to teach consequences both positive and negative. Her picture and the following quote were in the Washington Times, "We are disappointed that the curriculum fails to teach the positive consequences of marriage." Click here to read the entire article. http://www.washingtontimes.com/metro/20 ... -5638r.htm
Some Family Leader members held handmade signs that got the attention of reporters. The Washington Post, the largest newspaper in the nation's capital, reported that "About 15 opponents of the curriculum appeared at the board meeting, carrying signs that read, ‘Children's health before political agendas’ and ‘Not viewpoint neutral.’” Click here to read the entire article. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 01707.html
Family Leader member MaryAnn Parsons approached the superintendent of schools after the vote and asked him what provisions were available for teachers who are religiously and morally opposed to teaching this new curriculum. He responded that was something they would have to think about and discuss.
Biased Curriculum Presented as Fair
The Montgomery County school board unanimously approved the new lesson plans and praised the writing committee, though opponents had demonstrated several inaccuracies and deficiencies in the curriculum that they believe promotes a dangerous practice. One board member said, ‘‘I believe this is a thorough, thoughtful, medically appropriate, age-appropriate curriculum, and I am very proud of it. During the meeting the board also approved an addition to the curriculum requiring teachers to tell students that ‘‘sexual orientation is innate and a complex part of one’s personality.” Turner responded by saying ‘‘I’d like to know their medical data that proves homosexuality is innate.”
Prior to the vote, Turner and representatives from PFOX pointed out to the school board that nowhere in the curriculum is there any mention of people who change their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. Below are direct quotes from the lesson plans. For more information go to CRC's website at http://www.mcpscurriculum.com/
“Many people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender celebrate their self-discovery and feel relief and a new sense of joy when they can be honest with themselves and their loved ones.”
“A significant number of people identify themselves as homosexual, gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual.”
“Most people who are gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual report feeling ‘different’ at a young age even though they might not have had a name for that feeling.”
The curriculum advisory committee also rejected the warnings of Dr. Dean Byrd, a respected clinical psychologist and former president of National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuals http://www.narth.com
Dr. Byrd said, “There are two great dangers posed by these two health lesson plans. First and perhaps foremost is that the lessons encourage self-labeling. Research is very conclusive in this area: the risk of suicide decreases by 20 percent for each year that a young person delays homosexual or bisexual self-labeling (Remafidi et al, 1991)...The second major danger is the stark omission of health risks associated with homosexual practices, particularly during adolescence (American Journal of Public Health, June, 2003).”
Become a School Board Monitor in Your Area
Family Leader Network is looking for people to be school board monitors. A monitor is someone who is aware of what controversial issues are being taught or introduced in schools, especially in sex education classes. A monitor stays informed using school websites and news reports and attends school board meetings as necessary. Family Leader Network has access to top legal and medial experts to review controversial curriculum and help concerned parents express their views.
If you would like to join us in protecting school children from biased and medically dangerous curriculum, please email RoseMarie Briggs at firstname.lastname@example.org
Respect and the Facts: How to Have Both in the Sexual Orientation Debate” is a booklet that provides another perspective concerning sexual orientation. The booklet is a response to "Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth." The "Just the Facts..." booklet is published by the National Education Association and has been sent to most public schools in the nation.
The authors of Respect the Facts believe the "Just the Facts..." booklet presents only one perspective on an issue that requires balance. Educators need to consider the need for balance in light of the Citizens for Responsible Curriculum et v. Montgomery County Maryland Public Schools federal court decision. Click here for the Respect and the Facts website http://www.respectandthefacts.com/
and click here for a printable copy of Sexual Orientation & Public Schools: A Balanced Approach http://www.drthrockmorton.com/respect
The Legal Liability Associated with Homosexuality Education in Public Schools: An assessment of the risks and liabilities associated with policies and programs that normalize homosexual behavior in public schools by Citizens for Community Values http://www.ccv.org/images/Legal_
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 4Parents.gov click here http://www.4parents.gov/
http://www.ldsmag.com/familyleadernetwo ... ldren.html