Community supports board’s decision to revise curriculum

2010-07-22T00:00:00Z 2010-08-09T00:36:31Z Community supports board’s decision to revise curriculumBy ALANA LISTOE Independent Record Helena Independent Record
July 22, 2010 12:00 am  • 

Helena School District Superintendent Bruce Messinger said the curriculum committee that developed the proposed health enhancement curriculum is not starting over, but rather plans to make revisions to some language in the document.

An executive committee of the Helena School Board decided late last week to extend the timetable before taking action on the proposed 64-page health curriculum. The decision came just three days after a record number of residents turned out for the board meeting, during which public comment was taken on the document and only 64 were allowed to address the board publicly.

Trustees were slated to take action at the Aug. 10 meeting, but the executive committee —made up of chairman Michael O’Neil, vice chair Aidan Myhre, former chair Don Jones, along with Messinger — made the decision to delay taking action. Those who worked on this curriculum committee will be charged with making revisions to the human sexuality portion and its age appropriateness. The group will also develop a companion piece aimed to outline some of the ideas introduced as well as explanation and rationale.

Those revisions, along with companion document, will be presented to trustees at the Sept. 14 meeting, and just as when the draft document was first introduced, no public comment will be accepted at that time.

“The revisions will come mostly around the pages that have generated so much controversy,” Messinger said.

One of the biggest complaints from opponents of the document is the lack of involvement on the committee of parents who are not employees of the district.

“We won’t invite more people to the table,” Messinger said.

At this point in the process, determining who those people should be would likely cause more controversy and Messinger said this curriculum change has already had more community input than others.

“Through the input, we have a sense of where people are, and we’ll do our best to be responsive knowing we have some pretty strong disagreement in some topic areas,” he said.

Officials with the Lewis and Clark Health Department, some of whom spoke at last week’s board meeting, say it’s OK that trustees are taking more time.

“I hope the board adopts a curriculum that addresses important health issues in our community that affect children,” Public Health Nurse Mike Henderson said.

Kay Robertson, who works in communicable diseases, agrees.

“I believe in prevention education, so I’m watching the process and hope that (the end result) includes prevention education, which is what I do,” she said.

Robertson said at the public hearing last week: “When it comes to communicable diseases, ignorance is not bliss.”

Peter Bovingdon, parent and attorney, spoke as a proponent at the hearing and says he hopes the goals are still met after revisions are made.

Bovingdon said every parent wants to preserve the innocence of their children for as long as possible, and they should, but the choices today are to provide young minds with the correct information or to allow them to get the inaccurate information from peers or the Internet.

“When the curriculum (material) is ultimately developed, (the district) is going to be sensitive,” he said. “I’m confident they’ll approach it in ways that are the least troubling and least offensive.”

Trustee Joe Cohenour said he agreed with 98 percent of the document, but 100 percent of the intent.

“Some of the wording didn’t come out as intended,” he said. “It’s not a perfect document.”

Cohenour said that the added time will provide the board opportunity to go back and make changes so the document’s intended purpose is more clear.

“I agree with the decision to postpone, and I was going to go in that direction at the next meeting just so we can clear up some of the confusion,” he said.

Local mother Jennifer Shamley opposes most of the pages addressing human sexuality and hopes dramatic changes are made to those pages.

“It’s way too much at such young ages,” she said. “Where does it stop? This is bedroom activity that maybe not even high schoolers need to be in the discussion.”

She is also disappointed that new people won’t be invited to help make revisions.

“I don’t think (the district) was fair with parent involvement from the beginning,” Shamley said.

Trustee Trevor Wilkerson openly disagrees with the proposed draft and is pleased to see the board reacting.

“It’s a step in the right direction, and I’m hoping they’ll use a lot of the comments that are coming in,” he said.

Wilkerson said he would not have voted in favor of the document as presented.

For a yes vote, he says the human sexuality and family relationship portions will have to meet the values of Helena.

Wilkerson is the newest member on the board and was sworn in at the May meeting. His wife, Mikal Wilkerson, is one of the leaders of Helena Youth Advocates who are in opposition of the proposal and has even appeared in interviews with Fox News.

Trevor doesn’t feel his wife’s participation has comprised his position as an elected school official, and has no intention of abstaining from voting.

“Other members have been the leaders of the proponents,” he said.

Trevor does admit however that the controversy has been a bit overwhelming in the midst of learning the board’s process.

“But it’s a good way for me to learn,” he said.

Does he care that he’s the only board member openly contesting the curriculum?


“It’s best to be unified, but only if it reflects what the community wants. There are times when you have to be divided because you don’t feel like it is moral or represents the value of the people,” he said.

Messinger said a public hearing on the revisions will be scheduled sometime after the September board meeting and before action is potentially taken at the meeting on Oct. 12.

Even if the board supports the draft, it won’t be implemented until the 2011-12 school year and schools will continue teaching sex education in the fifth and 10th grades.

Reporter Alana Listoe: 447-4081 or

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(42) Comments

  1. Curmudgeon
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    Curmudgeon - July 28, 2010 3:18 pm
    Guess what, it's 2010, not 1890! I used to sing in a choir with a friend who was lesbian. At rehearsals she would sometimes wear a sweatshirt marked, "We're here. We're queer. Get used to it."
  2. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - July 27, 2010 8:01 pm
    Gun; Does it give you pleasure to constantly belittle people? Now I am not in agreement with our sue happy society but if you don't think that will happen if the courts allow then maybe you should look in a mirror.
  3. gun961960
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    gun961960 - July 26, 2010 11:26 pm
    Dolphin..What point is that...that there are crazy people who are blogging??
  4. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - July 26, 2010 7:34 pm
    Lewistown; I agree human beings are human beings and I have no hatred or disgust towards homosexuals, after all my brother is one. I will never tell someone that they are not gay and the churches don't tell them that either. If you want to be gay then that is ok with me, does not really matter to me. I also agree with you that we are all different, physically and mentally. People keep talking about homophobia and all thia other crap, most of the people I know have no problem with gays but there are always going to be a few that are bad, just like every walk of life.
  5. Lewistownian
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    Lewistownian - July 26, 2010 5:28 pm
    Dolphin "You can't compare being black to being gay. There is no proof that you are born gay as of right now. There are studies and opinions that show both sides. People are however born black and unless your Micheal Jackson that applies for the rest of your life."

    Well, if you're born Black, you're not being told by society, your parents, your church, your friends, etc... that you aren't Black, are you?

    C'mon dolphin, can't we just agree we are talking about human beings here and give the proper respect and consideration for everyone? We are all different, some of the differences are just not as apparent as skin color.
  6. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - July 26, 2010 1:03 pm
    Read the comment by fourthgenmontanan on the Gop using sex ed article, they bring up a good point.
  7. helenros
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    helenros - July 26, 2010 8:55 am
    When I agree to the comprehensive, fact-based curriculum for my child, I am not abdicating my parental rights or responsibilities. I teach my child the values and morality, and some of the mechanics. The school restricts itself to mechanics. It's better he gets accurate info from more than one source; he may not believe it just from me. To say nothing of the embarrassment creating communication issues.
  8. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - July 24, 2010 11:27 pm
    Griz, the gun range has been gone for years and therefore is not required, and there is a big difference in learning to handle a bow and shoot at a bullseye and killing an animal.
    The dare program does not start until fifth grade just like the current sex ed program, so yes that sounds just the way it should be. You can't compare being black to being gay. There is no proof that you are born gay as of right now. There are studies and opinions that show both sides. People are however born black and unless your Micheal Jackson that applies for the rest of your life.
    And as I stated I was at a class reunion with people I don't even know and while there were a few that agreed with the proposed curriculum the vast majority did not. These were not like minded people they came from many backgrounds. My kids are past the age that would affect them and I fear nothing. My kids are well educated by my wife and I (as it should be) about our morals and their sexuality and the dangers of std's. I have a brother that has aids so they are well aware from both him and us on how you can get std's. If you feel your kids deserve the facts then as a good parent you should give them these facts as we have done, not leave it up to the school. Don't shirk your duty as a parent because you are uncomfortable with taking to your own child.
  9. jo_griz
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    jo_griz - July 24, 2010 4:28 pm
    Dolphin, CR Anderson has long had a "gun" course as part of the P.E. curriculum. This is a required part of the P.E. class UNLESS parents opt their kids out. Sound familiar? Archery is also taught at both high schools. While drugs are largely considered "immoral" alcohol is a drug and prevention efforts regarding alcohol use are different depending upon the age group being targeted. Again, sound familiar? My comparision to slavery may seem a reach, but the same arguments that were used to rationalize slavery (and continued racism and segregation) are largely the same arguments used to rationalize the intolerance of gays. Of course most of the people you talked to agree with you--we tend to surround ourselves with like-minded people. Not surprisingly, everyone I have talked to in the past two weeks has agreed with me. I didn't say I was in the majority, I just don't know if you are either. If you choose, you can keep your children out of these classes due to your own fear. As for me, I believe my children are more deserving of facts.
  10. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - July 24, 2010 2:31 pm
    Poor comparison griz,
    Hunter education is close because I woulds say that it is a moral thing, to hunt or not to hunt. But it is the parents option to sign the child up and it is something that is done with the parent usually anyway. Drug prevention falls into the moral category as moraly wrong just like your curriculum.
    Then you wnat to compare sex ed to slavery, wow are you really reaching. Most polls you read come with a little disclaimer that says it is un-scientific or only a small portion of people. We talked about this at my wifes class reunion last night and most people are not for this no matter where I talk to them. To people from out of town we are a laughing stock. So with all that said you beleive what you want and teach your kids what you want and leave everyone elses alone. Find a new agenda like save the alaskan king crab or something.
  11. jo_griz
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    jo_griz - July 24, 2010 9:09 am
    To all the naysayers out there--do you also believe drug/alcohol prevention programs are bad? Do you believe that hunter's safety is a bad idea? I would hope not. Sex education is the same concept! All of these things are available to kids and all of them have the ability to cause irrepairable harm or death. Isn't it better to educate than to tell kids "just don't do it." Like one of you posted earlier, just because you tell them its wrong doesn't mean they will listen. Exactly!!!! So give them the information on exactly how to protect themselves if they choose to engage.

    For those of you threatening to pull you kids out of school so the "rest of us" will lose funding. Well, go ahead. I'm not real scared of your threat but do want to point out your incredible self-centeredness in this threat. You have the option of not having your child participate in the programming, no one is "forcing" this on you or your children.

    Similarly, no where in this curriculum does it ban parents from having conversations with their children, yet this seems to be one of the arguments against it. This is the difference between "indoctrination" and "education". Thank you, Purple, for that description but you are just flat wrong.

    I'll end with one of my favorite tactics of the naysayers--the if I say it, it must be true. The MAJORITY of community members support this curriculum so the school board should just leave it alone. Truly, I don't know and unless you've taken a scientific unbiased poll, you don't either. And, truly it doesnt' matter. The "majority" isn't the most reliable voice on what is right and what is wrong. Case in point, the "majority" of pre-civil war southerners were in support of slavery. The value of education is inarguable and I hope the school board maintains the values and goals set out in the original curriculum.
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    JUSTDAFACTS - July 23, 2010 7:23 pm
    I don't agree with all you said but wanted to say you said it better than anyone else here. Nice post.
  13. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - July 23, 2010 5:32 pm
    Well Duke you are way off again, the majority of the community does support the decision, you are in the minority on this. These are elected officials and will either reflect the majority of the community or they will not be around very long. The last thing that this community wants to be known for is the kind of agenda that was being brought on by a small portion of people. You admit it yourself when you say we could change the world, that is what a group with an agenda tries to do. I hate to say it but that is what people like Hitler tried to do. Again I don't hate you, I just disagree with you. The funny part is in real life we probably would get along fairly well.
  14. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - July 23, 2010 5:14 pm
    I am amazed at the number of parents on here that are willing to forego their parental responsibilities to the school district. Maybe they are not really parents and don't understand what it means to raise a child. Or maybe they are just stirring the pot. Either way there seems to be people out there that assume that parents are not doing their jobs. I have news for you, just because a parent tells a child something is wrong is no gaurantee that the child will not engage in said wrong action. I have three brothers and we were all taught the same things by our parents. Two listened and two didn't. This was thru no fault of my parents but came down to individual choice which is exactly what we are talking about here from top to bottom. Shun your responsibility but don't try to take away other peoples.
  15. Everhaste
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    Everhaste - July 23, 2010 11:24 am
    Dietz, thanks for the response. Usually I would agree with the "What has worked/what hasn't worked" comment. The big thing here I believe is the fact that the world is a very different place than say, 30 years ago. Teens are getting a very negative introduction to sex through the media, and "preventative maintenance" (which is the perfect word to describe this), is exactly what the school board is trying to do.

    One thing I will disagree with you on is the idea that the US and UK are most sexually open than the world (or at least modern Europe). An easy way to see this is to look at media. When movies are made in Europe and imported here, it's not uncommon for nudity or sexual themes to be excluded (the opposite being that American movies are often censored for violence).

    Several European countries with the lowest teen pregnancy and abortion rates (Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands), teach comprehensive sex education, including proper use of prophylactics, in the classroom starting at 12. Strangely it's these same countries that find teen sexual intercourse (starting at 15) as an acceptable and normal practice.

    Personally I don't think it's us forcing our children to grow up before they're ready. Do you remember being a teenager? I do, and most of what I remember was stress...

    Lastly, you mentioned schools taking over the parent's responsibilities. In many, many cultures, it's regarded as the communities job to raise children. That's exactly what's happening, and it is something that has to happen because there are plenty of parents out there that don't.

    Too much knowledge can be a bad thing, but not enough knowledge to make the right decision will ultimately end up worse.
  16. Purple
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    Purple - July 23, 2010 10:45 am
    helenros said: "Blame Clinton if you like, but blaming solves NOTHING. The focus should be on educating these kids so they can make good choices, not whining about a guy who was unsuccessfully impeached 10 years ago."

    As to blaming others, maybe you ought to explain that to the obama and company, since that is all they seem to know how to do. Maybe if obama spent more time trying solve things instead of blaming Bush for everything something might actually get accomplished.

    TIME FOR YOU TO RETURN TO SCHOOL - Bill Clinton WAS impeached by the house, but not convicted by the gutless wonders in the senate. To this day, Bill Clinton remains the second president in U.S. history to be IMPEACHED.

  17. thedukeofhelena
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    thedukeofhelena - July 23, 2010 9:00 am
    No, the community does not support the boards decision to revise the school curriculum. I sure as hell don't and I think I'm a part of this community. What you mean to say is, the people who want everything their way, got their way and now the rest of the community gets to suffer because of those people. We had a chance to change to world and the way people think, but as I thought, in Helena? Never. People here are just much too narrow and close minded and selfish. Being a Helena native and a 4th generation Montanan I think I should know. People were more open about this stuff in the 1800's in the so called Victorian Age. ( I have the newspapers to prove it ). At least they still taught logic back then. Nevermore, quoth The Duke. Nevermore.
  18. helenros
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    helenros - July 23, 2010 8:12 am
    Blame Clinton if you like, but blaming solves NOTHING. The focus should be on educating these kids so they can make good choices, not whining about a guy who was unsuccessfully impeached 10 years ago.
  19. GivePeaceAChance
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    GivePeaceAChance - July 23, 2010 6:33 am
    To ShaunaMichelle: I apologize for my phrasing "if a parent loves a child they...". That was wrong. I know most parents do love their children. I do know it is difficult to teach your children in a different way because of the financial situation many families are forced into by excessive government spending and taxation.

    Since the Dems and GOP are taking half your money for big government socialism (education, military, health, drug war, etc.) it does not leave you with the money to either pay someone to teach your child properly or you have to work to pay high taxes so cannot do it yourself.

    A difficult situation caused by big government which only grew because the very same educational system we are talking about has succeeded in creating a nation of compliant bodies to do as they say and pay huge taxes and send their children to their schools of indoctrination. It is now an almost unsolvable Catch-22.
  20. Purple
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    Purple - July 22, 2010 7:24 pm
    helenros said: "Did you know a sizeable percentage of today's youth does not consider anal or oral sex to be sex?

    We have BILL CLINTON to thank for this!
  21. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - July 22, 2010 6:56 pm
    Everhaste, I am not necessarily conveying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" since I tend to look at things somewhat mechanical in that preventive maintenance tends to prevent things from being broken. What I am trying to suggest is why not look at what has worked, what hasn't worked, and find a solution.

    I don't believe (or better stated, not convinced) that teaching certain sex education at an even earler age then now, works. I base this "losely" on the theory that many years ago before sex education, we didn't seem to have at many problems as now. The more sex education we seem to push, the worse it seems to get.

    Having said that, I suspect that America is trying what the UK started to try in 2008 (and believe implemented), earlier age taught sex education. In the UK the discussion was similiar in that the UK experiences more teenage pregnancies then the rest of Europe, so hence push earlier sex education. This, instead of looking at what the rest of Europe does which seems to work. The UK, like the US, shares some common ground in that both are countries tend to be more sexually open/orientated...whatever you want to call it, then the rest of the world (my opinion).

    The flip side of the "knowledge is power" coin is too much knowledge before someone is ready can be and often is catastropic. I see amongst the young more, what I will call, "adult type stress" then ever before. Young that are on some sort of anti-depressant or other sort of drug "supposedly" because they have some sort of mental problem. Or do they? I wonder about the possiblity if we are expecting our young to "grow up" before they are really ready? Even we as adults get crushed under stress because we can no longer use the "fight or flight" rule inheritantly built into all of us regardless of how we have evolved. The human body reacts in kind.

    Let kids be kids and beyond a doubt, but we parents need to be parents. If we fail, then our kids fail. If we keep putting it on the school system or society to fix what we should be fixing, whats next? We bear our children and after birth turn them over to the state because we are incapable?
  22. ShaunnaMichelle
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    ShaunnaMichelle - July 22, 2010 5:49 pm
    Purple… not all parents who are opposed to this curriculum can afford to take their children out of public school. That is not a reasonable solution to this at all. There are single parents, parents who both have to work, and many other factors that could prevent a parent from homeschooling or sending their child to a private school.

    ryandelasiesta… proponents of the curriculum were quoted in this article including, Mike Henderson, Kay Robertson, Peter Bovingdon, and Trustee Joe Cohenour. I believe that is “community support” and was actually good journalism. It presented both sides of the argument in a clear and concise manner.

    helenros…I hope that information such as you provided is in the revised draft of the curriculum. A huge part of MY personal issue with the curriculum was that the rationale for teaching the children some of this stuff was not presented, which actually confused the situation by creating confusion on exactly HOW and WHY this information was being taught. Giving rationale, such as “a sizeable percentage of today’s youth does not consider anal or oral sex to be sex” would erase some of the confusion and shed light on how the subject matter might be delivered to our children.

    GivePeaceAChance… the statement “if a parent loves their children they will remove them from the unnatural places of learning…” is extremely inflammatory. Just because I cannot homeschool my children or afford the high costs of private education does not mean I do not love my children. Your statement makes it seem like you truly believe that parents with children in public schools do not love their children and I do not believe that is the case at all.

    I am completely supportive of the school board’s decision to discuss this curriculum further and possibly revise it. I would hope for some rationale behind some of their proposed curriculum so that parents can understand why it is being taught and the general nature of HOW it will be taught. Also, it would be GREAT to see some ideas on sending handouts home with children so that parents can continue the dialogue at home at the same pace with the teachers. I would also hope that they would extend some of the curriculum to include more conversation about abstinence (not preach only abstinence, but at least continue the dialogue about it throughout the school years) as the BEST possible option. Right now it is listed infrequently in the curriculum. And I would like to see additional topics included in the curriculum section about bullying. It’s not just about the children of homosexuals or homosexuals themselves. A lot of different children are bullied for different reasons. Just because kids are aware that it is not acceptable to tease does not mean they don’t. I think reinforcing that ALL types of bullying are inappropriate would be the best possible thing for all of our children.
  23. kattisch
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    kattisch - July 22, 2010 5:33 pm
    Touche' to GivePeaceAChance--you are the first I've see that really gets this UN agenda!
  24. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - July 22, 2010 4:38 pm
    ryandelasiesta, yea I'm an adult complete with reading and writing skills. You made the statements "queer children or children with queer parents" How in the world does that lead me to look into queer theory which oh by the way was a "term" first introduced in 1990 by someone? I stand by what I said, the word queer defined in a book called a dictionary (not the free internet encyclopedia with questionable references) is odd or different and IS ALSO considered by gays (albeit perhaps the older generation) as derogatory.

    Homosexual a medical term? Never heard that before, thought it was a behavioral term JUST LIKE heterosexual is.

    And when I say "sounds like you might be part of that problem" with emphasis on MIGHT, is not an accusation you are part of the problem. Now if I would have said you ARE part of the problem verse might, different story.

    Taking things out of context, or better yet, forgetting to fully READ AND UNDERSTAND things are EXACTLY why we have so many problems.

  25. GivePeaceAChance
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    GivePeaceAChance - July 22, 2010 2:58 pm
    Correction: "socialized" military" and "small "co-ops" so you can't all deflect my arguements by pointing out a spelling error.
  26. GivePeaceAChance
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    GivePeaceAChance - July 22, 2010 2:56 pm
    The primary purpose of institutionalized education (public or private) is to teach a child subservience to institutions (public or private). Mass education is mass propaganda and mind control. It creates unthinking and compliant bodies for corporations, churches, military, etc.

    If a parent loves their children they will remove them from these unnatural places of learning and forced socialization (socialized education to create bodies to join solialized military, etc.) and teach them at home or in small coops.

    What the schools teach is irrelevant. It is what they do to a child's mind that should scare the hell out of all of you.
  27. steeline
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    steeline - July 22, 2010 2:51 pm
    It is time for change. Change the school board, those who are in favor of this type of education anyway and the Superintendent of Helena School District. They made Helena the laughing stock of the nation for their outragious ideas on sex education. Helena schools need better and more efficient leadership so that we can send our kids to school to learn about reading, writting and math. When you have a waiting list to get into the alternative school you have serious problems with the system.
    Get out and vote them out.
  28. Everhaste
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    Everhaste - July 22, 2010 2:23 pm
    Dietz, I can see where you're coming from with the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude. But the truth is is that kids are becoming sexualized at younger ages. It only takes a quick look outside to see make-up on 10-year olds, pre-teens wearing pants designed to show off assets (on both boys and girls!), and training bras traded out for push-ups.

    This is a direct result of media's influence, and I don't think anyone in particular is to blame, but it is something that will get worse before it gets better.

    Also, I agree with you, we need to fight all forms of discrimination. Which is exactly what the school board is trying to do. The first step to fighting discrimination is understanding. The thing is, kids understand they shouldn't tease fat kids, or black kids, or native american kids. Parents instill them with those basics (most the time). But if a parent says that gays are sinful, then a child already has a "holier than thou" attitude. Which is going to cause them to harass kids they think are gay, or kids with two parents of the same sex.

    As for parent's labeling a child for simply living in a trailer park. Well, sometimes it makes me sick to see how some people never grow up and lose their ignorance.
  29. Jack-Ruby
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    Jack-Ruby - July 22, 2010 1:56 pm
    I am so OUTRAGED I can barely type. Whats next?? Evolution...teaching that the world is not flat....or that the earth revolves around the sun??? Darn these progressives to heck for what theyve done!!
  30. MontanaBean
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    MontanaBean - July 22, 2010 1:17 pm
    I have three kids enrolled full time through the Helena schools and I will pull them out if this curriculum passes. I also know a significant number of families who will do the same and this will impact all the schools and the funding received. It would be in the best interest of everyone in the community to support a revision (not rewording) that everyone can at least live with. A rewording of the same information being taught isn't going to fix the conflict parents are having with this curriculum.

    I am not opposed to all of the curriculum, but I do feel some of the information is not age appropriate and should be taught at home as a parent sees fit. I also think if the curriculum is in direct conflict with what a family wants to teach their children, then it's not appropriate to teach. The proponents of the program seem to think this is all about the gay or homosexual portion of the curriculum...this isn't necessarily a big objection of mine...there are other areas that are much more offensive to me and the way I have chosen to raise my kids. How about if we teach the proponents children that if their kids don't go to church every Sunday then they'll go straight to hell? Talk about a violation of personal beliefs! That's how I feel about the information in the current curriculm...a violation of my personal beliefs on how I should raise my kids! So let's not attack each other's beliefs and put parents in a situation they aren't comfortable with for their values and beliefs.

    My three kids are in early elementary school and would basically be the "guinea pigs" of this program. I won't allow it as a parent until this program is proven to be successful, which we don't know right now. I am happy to pay out of district tuition or private school if I have to, but my kids won't be the first group of kids to test it out.

  31. ryandelasiesta
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    ryandelasiesta - July 22, 2010 12:37 pm
    And ryandelasiesta, this discrimination against queer children or children with queer parent a very real problem in the community? Wow, sounds like you might be part of that problem, queer by definition means odd or unusual. Is that what you mean? Far as I know its also considered a derogatory word for a homosexual.

    I identify as queer as it is a political statement about my identity - google "queer theory." Homosexual is a medical term - my identity is not defined by medicine. Anyhow, here's another reason why education is key. Assuming you're an adult, dietz, take a little time and learn about this stuff before accusing me of adding to the problem. Just a thought.
  32. LisaW
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    LisaW - July 22, 2010 12:33 pm
    The point is MY TAX DOLLARS (illegally confiscated by the federal government but that’s another topic) should not be used to fund a curriculum of which I am vehemently opposed to for several reasons, and not just because of my faith.

    It is time for parents of public schooled kids to wake up. It is not the school’s responsibility to educate your kids about morals (or the lack thereof) or about SEX (“safe” or otherwise). It is time for parents of public schooled children to quit abdicating their responsibilities and allowing or expecting teachers (who may or may not have the same belief system or set of values) to tackle the tough and many times embarrassing topics.

    It is time for teachers, school officials, parents, and the illegal and unconstitutional Department of Education to stop expecting the overtaxed American citizens to fund pornography and homosexuality under the guise of “education.” Bottom line, educators and government officials try to sell this with the notion that they care so much for your children.

    Get a grip people and wake up! Do they care more about your own kids than you do? Is it the government’s job to raise your kids and my responsibility to pay for it? Hmmm, read about Hitler's indoctrination of the youth in Germany. The parallels may awaken some if they are not already in comas.
  33. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - July 22, 2010 11:29 am
    helenros, when I went to school here 30 years ago sex education wasn't taught at the level as when you went to school. So please explain to me why since your time when it was taught have the amount of pregnancies/sexually transmitted diseases increased? And further explain to me how lowering the age at which its taught going to do anything?

    And ryandelasiesta, this discrimination against queer children or children with queer parent a very real problem in the community? Wow, sounds like you might be part of that problem, queer by definition means odd or unusual. Is that what you mean? Far as I know its also considered a derogatory word for a homosexual.

    So, what about the other discrimination (or bully) toward children that are either smaller or larger then everone else in their class? Or toward obese children? Toward "in" clothes or electronic devices poor children can't afford? Or against children that only have one parent, or a different last name of their parent, or don't participate in sports? Or live in a trailer verses a house? Do you realize how many conversations I've had with parents concerning children that have problems only to be told "well, you know that child lives in Twilight park, or leisure village thats the reason the child is as they are? I've heard parents actually label kids they don't even know as being stupid or defective in some way just because they live in a trailer park.
  34. Curmudgeon
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    Curmudgeon - July 22, 2010 10:51 am
    It's astounding, in the year 2010, how many people are still scared spitless of that word, s-e-x.
  35. Curmudgeon
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    Curmudgeon - July 22, 2010 10:49 am
    Alana Listoe, in your 3rd paragraph the word should be "rationale", and not "rational"; look it up.
  36. Everhaste
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    Everhaste - July 22, 2010 10:43 am
    I agree with Purple. If you find this information immoral, please, please take your children out of the public school system. That way my children and the children of other decent parents will receive quality education without the ignorance you provide through your children.

    But, instead of name-calling and insults, let's talk about the proposed curriculum. From what I see there are two main arguments, the sexual knowledge, and the confirmation of the existence of homosexuals.

    Let me first bring up the homosexual line. I've heard many, many people complain about the "gay agenda." If not in so many words, it seems that many people are sick of those darn gays putting themselves out there, getting in peoples faces and pushing their sexuality down people's throats. Which, honestly, I can kind of understand, if you believe it's wrong or immoral.

    But, how many times have you gone outside and found leaflets on your car trying to "save your soul?" Or had your kids terrified, holding a cartoon describing how they're going to go to Hell unless they accept Jesus Christ as their savior? Or drove down the street only to see a big picture of a dead fetus? Who exactly is pushing their beliefs on who?

    I understand you want to proselytize to spread your religion, and many of you are sincerely doing it to help people, but don't get angry when someone tries to push their beliefs on you. Simply agree to disagree.

    Next, there's the sexual information. In that I only ask that you look at context. Teachers are trying to help your children. Here are two facts:

    1. There are middle schoolers having sex.

    2. There are middle and high schoolers having anal and/or oral sex because they don't consider it as bad.

    Now, going by those two facts, what is the solution? Let them keep blindly doing it with very limited information regarding the consequences? Or educate them? Personally I would suggest education.

    The question then becomes, when? To that I have to say, before they start! But the only way to ensure that is to give them education before middle school, around 5th grade. For those of you that don't remember 5th grade, let me remind you. Every kid swore, every kid knew there was sex, no one knew exactly what it meant (personally, thanks to late night Showtime, I just knew it required getting naked. Who knows what our internet savvy kids are aware of!).

    Giving them the actual information isn't going to corrupt them, or steal their innocence. It's going to help them make the right choices when the time comes.
  37. helenros
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    helenros - July 22, 2010 10:22 am
    Did you know a sizeable percentage of today's youth does not consider anal or oral sex to be sex? That they believe they preserve their virginity by only engaging in those activities? That they cannot contract sexually transmitted diseases if they aren't "having sex," even though some of the activities they don't consider sex have very high risks? Better for the children to know that sex encompasses a range of behaviors many parents are too disgusted to talk about, than to keep them ignorant and have them die.

    We had Fact-based sex ed 25 years ago when I was in school here. How has the climate changed so much? We seem to be regressing pretty badly.
  38. TrustButVerify
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    TrustButVerify - July 22, 2010 9:48 am
    oops, misprint . . . the proposed document did NOT represent the views of the church folks in attendance. my apology.
  39. ryandelasiesta
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    ryandelasiesta - July 22, 2010 8:37 am
    One more thing: the title of this article is NOT supported by the article itself. The journalist only listed opponents to the curriculum. How is that "community support?" You can print whatever you want, but that's a pretty lame attempt at journalism.
  40. ryandelasiesta
    Report Abuse
    ryandelasiesta - July 22, 2010 8:33 am
    If the curriculum loses the goals on human sexuality, that will be a great loss. I truly hope it is a rewording rather than a different set of goals. I urge the board to stand strong in support of the human sexuality goals: abstinence plus safer sex, different forms of sex are actually sex (to curb STIs, abuse, etc.), different kinds of family exist, and calling the sexual organs by their real names.

    The goals go a long way in protecting children from abuse earlier, makes them aware they can get STIs from oral sex, and discourage discrimination against queer children or children with queer parent(s). These are very real problems in the community.

    I'd also like to point out the immense disrespect by the opponents to the curriculum. They hissed, groaned, and one person even called a proponent speaker a "pervert." Proponents made no such childish heckling. I think this speaks volumes as to why the board shouldn't give in to the opponents on basic goals regarding human sexuality. Reword it, yes. Remove it, no.
  41. TrustButVerify
    Report Abuse
    TrustButVerify - July 22, 2010 7:10 am
    One trustee indicated that he would not vote for the document as it stands because he implied that parts were not moral and did not represent the values of the community. Well, it certainly did represent the values of those church members in attendance.

    However, there are many folks who have more progressive views with regards to religion and I might add there are many who do not attend church or have religious beliefs. They are also members of this community. I would remind the trustee that he also represents them and the health of their children.

    Representatives of the health department support the document in large part because of its strong health prevention component. This is a "health" curriculum, not church doctrine. I have read the document . . . I am part of the community and I do not find it immoral.

    It can be strengthen through revision, but it will not be strengthened by removing the excellent health prevention information.

  42. Purple
    Report Abuse
    Purple - July 22, 2010 3:37 am
    Parents who object to the sexual exploitation of their children by education officials should make their ire known by withdrawing their children from the Helena Public School system.

    When education officials begin seeing a hefty DECREASE in the amount of federal education funds rolling into Helena, they will know just how small a minority their position truly is. For every child enrolled in school, the school system receives "X" amount of federal matching funds.

    Educators will find a way around that by fraudulent accounting methods by reporting more students enrolled than there really are.

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