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Parents voice sex-ed concerns

2010-06-23T00:00:00Z 2010-08-09T00:36:31Z Parents voice sex-ed concernsBy ALANA LISTOE Independent Record Helena Independent Record
June 23, 2010 12:00 am  • 

A handful of concerned parents addressed Helena school trustees about the proposed health curriculum at a work session Tuesday night.

The 62-page comprehensive draft document was introduced two weeks ago outlining nutrition, social and emotional health, structure and functions of the body, and more.

Area residents who spoke during the general public comment period were most concerned with the sex education portions of the document. They also say the district didn’t involve enough parents who are not district employees in the two-year process of compiling research, writing and editing the proposed document.

Brian Ackerman said he’s read the proposed health enhancement document and said it’s obvious that a lot of time and energy were invested.

Although the proposed curriculum is good, he said, nobody has said it’s the right one.

“There’s a half dozen pages that are getting stuck,” Ackerman said.

He’s also concerned about the implementation process.

“If we miss the ball, we could destroy generations of children — that’s what is at stake here,” Ackerman said. “That should be decided before we approve this whole hog.”

The draft provides a guideline for when sensitive topics should be introduced, claiming age-appropriateness. The proposed document’s reproductive system portion aims to teach proper names of body parts starting in kindergarten. In first grade, students should understand that human beings can love people of the same gender and people of another gender. By second grade, students should understand that making fun of people by calling them gay is disrespectful and hurtful. In fifth grade, the document says students should understand that sexual intercourse includes but is not limited to vaginal, oral or anal penetration.

Mikal Wilkerson, wife of trustee Trevor Wilkerson, said a group of parents recently organized and formed Helena Youth Advocates. She requested on their behalf a 30-minute slot at next month’s meeting, which chairman Michael O’Neil denied. He said that in order to provide opportunity for everyone wanting to speak as well as an appropriate time for trustees to hear and process public comment, residents will be given a two-minute time limit.

Mikal Wilkerson said she supports sex education in school, but said the public needs more time to evaluate the document, offer comments to trustees, and be involved in editing.

“We aren’t against sex education in the school,” she told the Independent Record. “We are for medically accurate and age-appropriate (information).”

She said the final document should reflect the values of the city.

Helena resident and expecting mother Theresa Frei said more non-district-employee parents need to be at the table.

She’s also troubled about the mention of universal values in the document.

“I’m concerned they discuss universal values, but don’t enumerate them,” Frei said.

Former educator Rebecca Mastee said the definition of married in the draft disregards the way it is described in the Montana Constitution.

Trustees had no dialogue with any anyone who spoke about the health enhancement draft since it wasn’t on the agenda. Interaction and discussion from the board will come next month.

The Helena Youth Advocates invite the public to attend a meeting scheduled for June 30 at the Lewis and Clark Library from noon to 2 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. where they’ll have a petition for residents to sign against the board approving the document.


Reporter Alana Listoe: 447-4081 or

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

(44) Comments

  1. 4HelenaKids
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    4HelenaKids - October 10, 2010 1:49 pm
    Gun you are such a hypocrite!
    "gun961960 wrote:
    Thats funny al....I agree....all this fuss about gay sex....very wierd. Mind your own darn business I is plain and simple....if you are not interested in gay sex than do not read it. I'll tell you that I have small children and while I would not want them to read this book it is only because it is not age appropriate. If they want to read it when they turn 18, fine with me...."
  2. gun961960
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    gun961960 - June 30, 2010 6:35 pm
    justme, I just discovered your problem. If you SERIOUSLY think that having anal or oral sex should disqualify anyone from becoming a teacher, or if you SERIOUSLY think that being a homosexual should disqualify anyone from becoming a teacher than you are DILUSIONAL!! LOL....remove your rose colored glasses my friend and get OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE! A lot of heterosexual people have oral and anal sex too....ahhhh!! Oh my the level of intolerance and ignorance is astonishing...really it is! Do you really believe that having anal and oral sex makes someone a bad person? Sad!
  3. justme59601
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    justme59601 - June 30, 2010 11:43 am

    i just figured out what your problem is. you just described learning about other forms of sex (anal, oral, homosexual) as "valuable life information". if that is valuable life information to you, then this conversation is over and I pray you're aren't a teacher or school board member.
  4. steeline
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    steeline - June 28, 2010 9:51 am
    After reading the comments I have come to the conclusion that more parents need to use birth control than kids do.
  5. gun961960
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    gun961960 - June 27, 2010 2:03 pm
    Here is your post from June 23,
    "what will teaching a 8 year old about homo or hetero sex due to change this?"....hence my question who is teaching "homo" sex.
    You also said in that same post, "I do disagree with many aspects of this plan and feel that it was developed with too much focus on political activism than on eduaction of our children." Hence my question about what you think the intent of this board was. And to answer your question I really don't think ANY of the people on this board are trying to indoctrinate or promote anything to do with homosexuality. Sorry.
    In addition you wrote, "Sex education needs to be about human biology....not gay rights" Hence why I asked where they were teaching that it was OK to be gay.
    So it appears that I can read JAFacts....can you? You clearly said that by banning kids from using the word gay as a slur it was promoting homosexuality. I have no issue with teaching that all name calling is bad, where did I say that I had an issue with that?
    Why you getting so defensive JAFacts, I am simply asking a few questions. You are hyper focused on homosexuality, which I find fascinating, as I don't see this as some conspiracy as you seem to. I am not twisting anything....or making anything up either. Chillax dude!
  6. Purple
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    Purple - June 27, 2010 1:17 am
    These so-called experts remind me of some so-called experts who tell us how we should raise our children. Funny thing about those so-called experts, NONE OF THEM HAVE ANY CHILDREN, so what do they base their EXPERT KNOWLEDGE ON RAISING CHILDREN?
    Report Abuse
    JUSTDAFACTS - June 26, 2010 9:46 am
    #1. Who is teaching homosexual sex?
    Answer: Where did I claim they were teaching that? Point that out in a post below please. Can’t help but make thing up can you?
    #2. On what page of this proposed curriculum are they teaching that it is "OK" to be gay?
    It is taught throughout but where did I say that was an issue?
    #3. Do you really think that this board and all of its members consisting of many different professionals, is simply trying to promote homosexuality to our kids?
    Can’t read? Where did I say such? I said I am concerned with a small amount of wording and possible activism. Do you really think that this board and all of its members consisting of many different professionals, there are no activist for this particular subject matter?

    #4. In light of the outrageous statistics showing that our teenagers are not only having sex, they are spreading disease amongst each other, they are getting pregnant too (333 in a two year time frame). What do you suggest we do about this problem Justafacts?
    Funny—all I have said about this curriculum is I would like to see some changes in the can’t comprehend what syntax means?

    Let’s call this #5 for continuity: I never accused you of name calling Justafacts, I simply quoted you. So am I correct in assuming that you mean that if we teach our kids that calling someone or something "gay" is inappropriate, we are in turn promoting homosexuality?

    No you are not correct. I said to teach ALL name calling is bad. Just what issue do you have with this. Are you advocating that only teaching about the word “Gay” will work. When I say ALL...that includes “GAY”, “FAG” and allot of other names having to do with many things including RACE, RELIGION, NATIONAL ORIGIN, SKIN COLOR, GENDER, WEALTH or LACK THEREOF... We all know none of these are picked on right? And in my world, that also includes sexual orientation. Is that REALLY an issue with you?

    You ask: Why can't we all just live in a world where we can be respectful to all people...? I don’t know Gun...could you try it once and let me know how that goes for you. It would be a nice change in your posts. I look forward to seeing how you try to twists this post as you do all others.
  8. gun961960
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    gun961960 - June 25, 2010 1:02 pm
    justafacts....I asked you several questions, all of which you seem to just ignore and try to deflect by trying to make it seem like I am attacking you.
    Here they are again sir
    #1. Who is teaching homosexual sex?
    #2. On what page of this proposed curriculum are they teaching that it is "OK" to be gay?
    #3. Do you really think that this board and all of its members consisting of many different professionals, is simply trying to promote homosexuality to our kids?
    #4. In light of the outrageous statistics showing that our teenagers are not only having sex, they are spreading disease amongst each other, they are getting pregnant too (333 in a two year time frame). What do you suggest we do about this problem Justafacts?
    I never accused you of name calling Justafacts, I simply quoted you. So am I correct in assuming that you mean that if we teach our kids that calling someone or something "gay" is inappropriate, we are in turn promoting homosexuality? I have been in many schools and have yet to hear anyone be teased for being straight. Maybe you could outline some "straight slurs" you are offended by and we can add those to the newly banned words. If I am not mistaken I believe they already do teach that name calling is bad, but kids calling other kids gay for anything from what they wear to what they say is very common and is becoming over used. And trust me that arent implying that they are "happy" either.
    Why can't we all just live in a world where we can be respectful to all people, no matter their gender, age, religion, race, or sexual preference. That is what I teach my kids....I never worry that someone is trying to indoctrinate my kids, I guess I must be niave in just assuming that most people are good. Of course I realize there are bad people and I do what is necessary to proctect my family from those people, but our teachers are not bad liberal people who want your kids to have sex or be gay. That is the bottom line here.
  9. mllwilkerson
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    mllwilkerson - June 25, 2010 12:14 am
    I think we can all agree that teens are getting pregnant, STI's are an issue and that something needs to be done. I think we can all agree that people need to be more tolerant and treat each with more kindness, regardless of lifestyle choices.

    Let's Talk Research

    --I have seen research that suggests teaching about contraceptives lowers teen pregnancy. OK. I have seen research which indicates that teaching about STI's may lower their incidence. OK. These are NOT the hot items in the Draft.

    For Example:

    --I have NOT seen research that PROVES "Erotic images" lowers the teen pregnancy rate, or STI rate.

    --I have NOT seen research that PROVES teaching kids about anal sex in 6th grade (with objects) lowers the teen pregnancy rate, or STI rate.

    --I have NOT seen research that PROVES teaching kids that Exploring Problems Dealing with Anxiety about Sexual Performance helps lower teen pregnancy rate or STI rate.

    Our kids are too precious and the risk is too high to gamble with their health.

    Take the time to read the Health Draft and draw your own conclusions. Here is the link to the Draft (from District website).

    Although the Sex Ed is scattered throughout, the main focus is on pages 45 to 50.

    Send the District your comments. Here is the website.

    Thanks for voicing your opinion :)
  10. Concerned_Citizen
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    Concerned_Citizen - June 24, 2010 7:31 pm
    If our school board approves this draft, where will they go next? A school board in Massachusetts voted to provide condoms to First Graders without their parent's knowledge or consent.

    Report Abuse
    JUSTDAFACTS - June 24, 2010 7:09 pm
    Gun...thank you for clearing up the "numbers" issue. A few things... 1. I used BOTH homo and hetero in the post and neither was meant as name calling...I thought you could understand homo and hetero as abbreviations of homosexual and heterosexual. If I was incorrect in such an assumption feel free to let me know...otherwise don't try to make it something it is not while telling me and others not to TELL YOU WHAT YOU SAID. POT...KETTLE...BLACK! As a person who presumes to tell every one else what they mean and say, I find it funny you object so much to that very behavior when the tables turn---though I only PRESUMED to read what YOU wrote. 2. The reason there is so much concern about teaching a "gay" agenda is the wording utilized within the draft. You are sensitive to words and phrasing which you deem to be overly critical of gays right? Ok...some people are the same way about “promoting” gay sex. Given that the wording used in the draft specifies (for example) that calling someone "GAY" is bad, where are the "specifics" about using any number of insults used upon "straights"? As I stated before--maybe they should just teach that name calling is bad rather than specifically making "GAY" the subject matter (SEE 2nd grade). It is about the syntax used and the glaring omissions.

    By the way... When I said: "Gun...Your passion for both promoting gay rights and ending teen pregnancy is well known by all who read these blogs..." It was a statement of fact (IMO) and not intended to be an insult in any way. I could not tell from your most recent post if you felt that was what I was doing. Sorry if you took it that way. It was simply a recognition of your position on the subjects.
  12. belle517
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    belle517 - June 24, 2010 3:08 pm
    Justme59601, I honestly don’t feel the need to teach your child sex-ed, and no, I don’t think I could do a better job, that’s why health professionals should take the lead and explain things at age appropriate times to be followed up at home. The opt-out process is for people like you who want to “shelter” their children. You’ve addressed the issues with the opt-out process which unfortunately I can’t help you with. Now I ask you, why do you feel the need to try and deny my child the right to learn what I consider to be very valuable life information? I feel that this information benefits not just the children but society as a whole and those of us who want it taught to our children should not be denied that right either. There are certain facts you have to accept when you choose a public, free education for your child.

    As far as the religious issue you brought up, I would have no problem with the basics of religion being taught, but in order to do that fairly you’d have to teach the basics of ALL religions and I think that would be seriously restricted by time constraints. And how many “good Christians” would then take issue with Muslim or Buddhism being taught right alongside Christianity? Then would you also have to teach atheism and Wiccan too? What an uproar there’d be over THAT! There are so many religions it would be impossible to add religion to the curriculum in anything but a private school setting.

    Sex education however is compromised of basic, factual information. All of you that don’t want this curriculum seem to be mostly (but not solely) focused on the “alternative lifestyle” information that’s being presented. You all seem to think that you can shelter your kids from finding out that people can love someone of the same sex. I won’t even go into the vaginal/oral/anal thing because that doesn’t solely exist in homosexual relationships; believe it or not there are plenty of heterosexuals that like all of those things too. If you don’t make a big deal about it, when a kid finds out about people loving others of the same sex, isn’t a big deal. My parents had a lesbian couple as neighbors and my kids knew by 1st grade that the two ladies next door were a couple, we just explained it as “like boyfriend/girlfriend but with 2 girls” there was a bit of eye bulging, which was quickly replaced with “why?” and responded to with a “some girls just like girls and some boys just like boys” It was over and no big deal after that and my kids have never looked down upon people in those types of relationships.

    The parents that seem to have problems with this are obviously homophobic and want to pass those ideals to their children by insisting that same-sex couples are “unnatural”, “sinners”, “going to hell”, “disgusting”, etc. Just because you feel that way about it doesn’t mean you have to instill that hatred in your children. I am absolutely positive that the teachers and health professionals are not going to try and turn your kids into homosexuals, if they’re going to be homosexual, they will be no matter what you or the schools teach them.

    Tolerance and equal rights for all are what’s being taught. You know, the very same equal rights that allow every one of you have your own beliefs, ideals and opinions.

    Oh, dietz1963, whether what the kid says was true or not, the issues were still openly discussed at school and not in a classroom setting. And if another lesbian hits on my daughter she has no problem with, tactfully, letting her know that she prefers boys.
  13. gun961960
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    gun961960 - June 24, 2010 10:02 am

    Justa...clarification, what I meant to write was that Helena alone had 333 teenage pregnancies between 06 and 08. 1,675 were reported in 2006 for the entire state. I think the educators just want to clarify to our kids that oral and anal sex is in fact sex. I don't think there will be any demonstrations or graphics utilized, I could be wrong tho, maybe you could ask about that at the meeting? Being educated and being sexually active are not one in the same sir, hence that might be why they continue to repeat their mistakes. Who is teaching about "homo" sex? Did I miss something? Please don't presume to tell me what I said, just because you interpret something doesn't mean it is what I "said". I honestly don't understand where any of you are getting that this is about some gay rights campaign. Yes, I am a gay rights advocate, but this has nothing to do with gay rights. I have asked many times and have not received an answer, on what page of this proposed curriculum are they teaching that it is OK to be gay? I simply can't find it. Do you all really think that this board comprised of doctors, nurses, police officers, teachers, and parents met monthly for a year simply to promote homosexuality to our kids in school? I find that fascinating. citizn...that is pretty funny, "Cows don't have oral sex because it ain't natural. So don't teach it." WOW..words of wisdom from the local farmer. Yikes! Dietz, if any of the stats I posted have you thinking that what we are doing is working, then what else can I say. You are entitled to your opinion. So your idea is to outlaw sex, please propose that at the meeting? I never claimed that educating our kids would eliminate teenage sexual intercourse. I am claiming that educating them will reduce teenage pregnancy and STD's. There are many reasons that teenagers have sex Low self esteem Binge drinking Peer pressure Drug abuse Raging hormones All of these things cannot be fixed by a sex ed class. Yes, parents are key to many of these things, no argument from me there. I am just saying that basic knowledge of what sex is, contraception, basic anotomy, all of these things can help us battle these problems. Jimmy, they are the reason that the schools want to change their sex ed program. If you are only focused on the word anal, there is nothing more I can do to help you. You are proving my point that once the words "gay" and "anal" were read by some of you, the lights shut off and that is all you can focus on. Fine! And Jimmy, my kids go to school in Helena and guess what....they say the pledge of allegiance EVERY DAY!! Dolphin, I have said several times that we should be teaching abstinence. I believe it should be included and strongly advocated, but not abstinence ONLY. ConcernedCitizen...please feel free to skip over my posts anytime, you will not hurt my feelings.

  14. jlarsen
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    jlarsen - June 23, 2010 10:33 pm
    Well, we can fail to inform them that anal and oral penetration are forms of sex, in fifth grade, and then in sixth grade they'll be performing anal and oral penetration believing that what they are doing is NOT sex. Is this really that much different than what was taught 25 years ago? No, it isn't. Sex ed. was taught in fifth grade 25 years ago, I remember it, I was there - this really is little different. Get a life, people.
  15. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - June 23, 2010 10:31 pm
    So now we are critsizing people for spelling od hittong the wrong key when typing. No one said that we should be teaching abstinence only. I have heard quite a few say that it is the parents duty to teach these things and not the schools. Again do-gooders trying to save everyone elses kids.
  16. jimmyworld
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    jimmyworld - June 23, 2010 9:53 pm
    Gun - those are great statistics. What do they have to do with this sex ed draft?
    Do you have any evidence that teen pregnancy will decrease once my 11 year old learns about anal sex?

    I dont believe progressives have the interest of kids in mind here; all they are truly interested in is "progress".

    Here's an idea: lets put prayer and the pledge of allegiance back in the schools, and you progressives can opt out if you want.
  17. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - June 23, 2010 8:07 pm
    abodox33, determining my age doesn't need a calculator more so as some common sense and basic adding skills that can be done on your fingers. So either you know me some kind of way or just looked at some posts. Since in this post I eluded to about 30 years ago as a teenager automatically means I must me now between 43-49. I believe in one I quoted my age (no math required) in others have talked about serving 24 years in the military being out for a time which obviously would pinpoint my age between 42 (assuming I jointed at age 18). Hardly rocket science or math past very simple addition.

    Tell you what, as an "old codger" I'll make a prediction. Unlike in the years before even my time where the peoples voice actually meant something, this cirriculum will go forward. Why do you ask? First, cause the pendulum has in our society has swung the complete other direction. Strictly my opinion but there was a time where majority ruled, now its the minority that rules, no middle ground. When someone now adays is dubbed "the expert", no one really questions their status, cause, they are the expert. As such, doesn't matter what we say or think cause, they are the expert. Oh they will entertain our concerns but at the end of the day they do what they want because they are the experts and we are just drones without a clue (sarcastically meant of course).

    Now if you don't think so, look at Congress. How many are do/say whatever they need to do in order to get elected? Once they are, do they really care? Nope, and what can we do about it? Nothing. Why? Cause they know once they are elected unless they do something criminal, they are safe until the next election. Even then, there are generally only 2 that make the ballet (one democrat, one republican, one independant) and if they raise enough money to make themselves known they'll get elected just by default. Look at Baucus, who has even beaten him for the democratic ballot? No one, so if you are a democrat and strong into that, you will vote for him even if you don't want to cause he's the only democrat on the ballet. Even Congress does something criminal, do they get thrown out? Nope. Essentially cause we can gripe all we want but only Congress can throw them out. Yea, right.

    Oh and Lewistownian, where did I say I was an authority on spelling, only stating a fact. I should have said some folks really don't take the time to know spelling nor even need to thanks to computer spell check. But thanks for pointing out what you call a spelling error. You sort of prove my point since the word "then" was spelled correctly. Had you actually thought about it you would have realize the usage of the word "then" instead of "than" was grammatical error on my part, not a spelling error.
  18. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - June 23, 2010 7:03 pm
    Hey belle517, you're for the cirriculum? Then if a lesbian hits on your child again it should no longer be an issue cause then your child will learn thats ok. Not doubting what your child may tell you, but it seems odd to me that it was truly a fact that a 12 year old had an abortion. She learned this how, from the 12 year old? Any facts to back that up? Kids now adays are not unlike some of us when we were young, we want to be grown up early and can tell some pretty big fish stories to show how "mature" we are. I can remember as a young pup being badgered about a date I was on from other guys. The question of "did I have sex" come up. So being the boneheaded young boy not wanting to lose face in front of my friends said "absolutely". Truth was, I didn't and ended up owning up to the lie, getting even more badgered for not "being a man" but felt I would not be pressured into doing or saying something I didn't want to do just to "fit in". And I would learn later on in life neither did most of my guy friends have sex at an early age. But wanting to "fit in" we all at one time or another have said things that weren't true.

    To all that want massive knowledge given to the young before they are ready, in a sense having them "grow up" before they are ready, then don't be surprised if they do "grow up" early with also can mean there will be more sex, more pregnancies and even more marriages at an earlier age. Because you are requesting from educators, to do so.

    Ok gun, so you got your stats from the Prochoice folks. Now, what about this statistic or FACTS from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services....Teen pregnancy rates in Montana and the nation HAD DECLINDED between 1991 and 2005. And " An estimated 40% of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders are at increased risk for teen pregnancy due to poor family management, monitoring, and supervision. However, this risk DECREASED between 2002 and 2006.

    So what does that tell me? Couple things, first, obviously SOMETHING has been working and second, since the risk has to do with everything internal to the family this added education going to do nothing UNLESS parents are ready for their own schooling in family management and supervision.

    Percentage of sex in school is NEVER going to change unless a law outlaws the practice. My guess is that will be the next step. There was about as much sex going on in school about 30 years ago though most weren't that open about sharing it. Now with all the birth control methods out there, what makes you think sex in school will be reduced through more education? Hormones are hormones people, no amount of education is going to control that. And as most of us know its really only through self control that only MATURITY teaches us. Maturity that can only be achieved (at least in most cases) through age.
  19. Simmons3
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    Simmons3 - June 23, 2010 6:59 pm
    Since 1996, more than $1.5 billion in federal and state matching funds have been committed to abstinence-only programs. Because of the requirement that states match federal funds for abstinence-only programs, state dollars that previously supported comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education — which includes and focuses on abstinence but is not limited to abstinence education — have been diverted to abstinence-only programs.

    You can read the congressional investigation into this B.S. here. Prepare to get angry about this waste of your tax dollars:
  20. citizn
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    citizn - June 23, 2010 6:53 pm
    I gotta say sex ed is taught living on a farm. I milked goats and holsteins. Helped them calf. The problem with Helena is the size government and their lack of solid ag background. Put them kids to work on a farm and they'll understand natures ways. This talking about it is useless - Cows don't have oral sex because it ain't natural. So don't teach it.
  21. citizn
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    citizn - June 23, 2010 6:48 pm
    I agree with Justme59601! I disagree with Helena Youth Advocates. Wading will not fix this. I grew up in Appalachia - West Virginia - which has the same values as those in Montana - family first, society second. As a 25 yeer old Father of 4. I think teaching your kids sex at home is better. My kids will know it all with no darn help from the teachers because parents teach with a more personal viewpoint. This issue is not that hard. Teach 'em young how to work and make a living - lets not over think this - bunch of dramma queens.
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    JUSTDAFACTS - June 23, 2010 6:47 pm
    1,675 pregnancies were reported in 2006 among teenagers, including 18 to girls under the age of 15. In recent years, Montana’s teen pregnancy rate has been relatively stable. However between 2005 and 2006, Montana’s teen pregnancy rate increased 3.2%; the teen birth rate increased 9%; and the teen abortion rate decreased 13%. In 2006, 33% Montana teens who had a pregnancy indicated that they had a prior pregnancy.”

    Your numbers say 1,675 teen pregnancies were reported in 2006 alone and at the bottom of your post you claim the state says there were 333 total from 06 through 08. Anyone who cannot see the number issue should vote for more math classes rather than more sex classes. However, just what part of this will be cured by teaching 8 year olds how many orifices they can put things in? In fact, though many claim these are the most worldly and sexually educated teens in history, the Teen pregnancy rate has (according to your post)not only not gone has gone up. Your own information even shows that 33% of the teens who are fully aware and educated (by being pregnant before) still get pregnant again. So being EXTREMELY educated about sex did not even slow ‘em down did it? Again, what will teaching a 8 year old about homo or hetero sex due to change this?

    GUN SAID: “WHAT PERCENTAGE OF MONTANA TEENAGERS ARE SEXUALLY ACTIVE? In 2007, 46% of high school students reported having had sexual intercourse at least once. This number increases based on the students grade level, from 28% for 9th graders to 59% for 12th graders. Two out of three reported using a condom during their last intercourse. 14% of Montana high school students have had sex with four or more partners in their lifetime. “

    So what we are saying here is the more they know...the more they do it? Hmmmmmm.... looks like the most educated have the most sex. I get the feeling that is not what you intended when posting this.

    I do not disagree with presenting basic human biology starting around the 6th grade. I do not disagree with teaching specifics of birth control and safe sex practices around the 8th grade. I do disagree with many aspects of this plan and feel that it was developed with too much focus on political activism than on education of our children.

    Gun... Your passion for both promoting gay rights and ending teen pregnancy is well known by all who read these blogs...but this particular post would seem to promote the side of those against this curriculum than that supporting it. Sex education needs to be about human biology...not gay rights (or heterosexual rights for that matter).
  23. Concerned_Citizen
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    Concerned_Citizen - June 23, 2010 6:23 pm
    @gun Your posts are too long. You will make a better argument if you stick to 2 to 5 lines of text. I won't read your posts. Not because of your tone, but due to your lengthy rants. You won't win anyone over to your way of thinking by ranting. If you need to go over 5 lines, find the information online and provide the link to your statistics.

    @HelenaYouthAdvocates Way to go! Petition signed; June 30th is carved out on my schedule. I am going to tell all of my friends and acquaintances. Lets let the School Board know that they (and the Independent Record) are in the minority.
  24. wrongway
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    wrongway - June 23, 2010 5:47 pm
    JustMe: Because most parents are not telling their kids anything, and that's always been the case. If you are teaching your kids about sex, good for you. Unfortunately, that's generally not the case.

    As far as comparing sex-ed to religion: I understand the point about people not wanting to have things taught that go against their beliefs. But this curriculum is about factual information. Religion is an unverifiable matter of faith. Matters of faith absolutely should not be part of government-sponsored education. I'm sure you wouldn't want your children's teachers to be preaching to them if they happen to be Muslim.

    Now, can someone explain to me why it would be a bad thing to have kids know the right terminology for human anatomy?
  25. gun961960
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    gun961960 - June 23, 2010 4:48 pm
    Maybe...just maybe some of these stats can help some of you see that the millions of dollars we have been spending on abstinence only education has been a miserable failure. I say maybe, because facts don't seem to phase some of you, but I will give it a shot....

     1,675 pregnancies were reported in 2006 among teenagers, including 18 to girls under the age of 15.
     In recent years, Montana’s teen pregnancy rate has been relatively stable. However between 2005 and 2006, Montana’s teen pregnancy rate increased 3.2%; the teen birth rate increased 9%; and the teen abortion rate decreased 13%.
     In 2006, 33% Montana teens who had a pregnancy indicated that they had a prior pregnancy.

     In SFY 2000, the cost to Montana taxpayers for a mother and child on FAIM, food stamps, Medicaid, and WIC averaged $14,341 for the first year.
     Half of Medicaid’s costliest “High Cost Babies” in FY 1994 were to teens at a cost of $1,307,366.

     In 2006, 77% of Montana teen pregnancies resulted in live births, approximately 23% of teen pregnancies resulted in abortions, less than 1% in fetal death.

     Non-marital births to teens represent 24.6% of non-marital births in Montana; the remaining 75.4% of non-marital births were to women 20 years or older.
     The percentage of teen non-marital births (compared to all teen births) rose from 46% in 1981 to 85.6% in 2006.

     In 2006, the father was at least four years older than the mother for approximately 27% of the teen births in Montana. The age of the father is unknown for one in four births.

     In 2007, 46% of high school students reported having had sexual intercourse at least once. This number increases based on the students grade level, from 28% for 9th graders to 59% for 12th graders.
     Two out of three reported using a condom during their last intercourse.
     14% of Montana high school students have had sex with four or more partners in their lifetime.

     Teens are more likely than women 20 years of age or older to have: late or no prenatal care; low birth weight babies; and babies who die within the first year of life.
     Teen parents are likely to be less educated, have more children, have more non-marital births, and have more unintended births than women who postpone childbearing.

     No single approach can full address or solve the complex problem of teen pregnancy.
     Early and comprehensive teen pregnancy prevention strategies remain exceedingly more cost effective than the choices available once pregnancy occurs.

    The website
    shows that we had 333 teenage pregnancies from 2006-2008. 333 seems like a lot to me people???

    The majority of chlamydia
    cases were diagnosed in persons
    aged 15-24 in 2008
    (53%). Based on population,
    this age group has an
    incidence rate over 3 times
    higher than any other age
    group (Figure 11). This
    may indicate more screening
    in this age group than in
    other age groups.

    In 2008, the majority of
    gonorrhea cases were reported
    among persons aged
    15-24, which also had the
    highest rate per population
    (Figure 14). As with chlamydia,
    this may be indicative
    of more screening in
    this age group.

  26. dietz1963
    Report Abuse
    dietz1963 - June 23, 2010 4:38 pm
    Yea, I'm an old codger. So I'll tell you youngsters something my elders or "old codgers" told me. There is nothing I can tell you, you know it better and smarter then us old folk. But what you lack, is lifes experiences which the only way you'll learn is to live as long as us old codgers. And as a "youngster" I naturally balked at that only to learn they were right in many cases and I could have saved myself a lot of pain and anguish had I listened. I didn't, so I paid just like you won't listen and most likely will pay.
  27. justme59601
    Report Abuse
    justme59601 - June 23, 2010 4:38 pm
    in a different article about this same subject, I asked someone why people like them felt they needed to teach my kids sex education. I never got a response. So I'll ask you...why do people like you think you can do a better job teaching my kids sex education? Do you think it's your business? Do you think I'm not doing an adequate job? do you think I have blinders on? I would like an answer.

    of course someone is going to say well my kids can opt out of the class. but we all know what happens to kids who opt out of things like this. they get teased unmercifully. so opting out is really not an option.

    how about if I think religion should be taught in the schools....Why would you and many others not want that? because you don't want me pushing my values and beliefs on your kids. Does anyone get it yet? Enough said.
  28. Lewistownian
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    Lewistownian - June 23, 2010 3:34 pm
    dietz1963 - I love it when some old codger comes out against us pesky kids that are in the 20-30 year age range. It seems a tad bit hypocritical to speak as an authority on spelling and use "then" instead of "than," don't you think?

    "Parents aren't sex education experts just because they are parents." Pepper Schwartz

    And another one for good measure:
    "Sex education, including its spiritual aspects, should be part of a broad health and moral education from kindergarten through grade twelve, ideally carried out harmoniously by parents and teachers." Dr. Benjamin Spock
  29. abodox33
    Report Abuse
    abodox33 - June 23, 2010 2:56 pm
    Dietz1963 said "Folks that can't spell cause hey, we have spell check. Folks that can't do anything without a computer."

    Without using a calculator, I bet I could figure out your age: Wow, maybe were not as dumb as you think we are!
  30. abodox33
    Report Abuse
    abodox33 - June 23, 2010 2:47 pm
    Dietz - pretty ironic that that you would rip on my "spoon fed" generation, when it was our parents that "spoon fed" us. And by the way, it wasn't the 20-30 year olds that put warning labels on everything... that was your paranoid generation! You seem pretty good at pointing out what's wrong with our society that your generation has created, but guess who will have to step up to the plate and clean up the mess in the long run... my generation.
  31. belle517
    Report Abuse
    belle517 - June 23, 2010 2:26 pm
    Justme59601, I too apologize, but I flat out agree with johngp and gun961960. Do you know how many parents out there have blinders on when it comes to their children? Yes, I think that the Health Professionals and District do have a better idea of what needs to be taught to our children and when. I think it’s great that kindergarteners will know the correct names of body parts, I think this should be something taught from birth (or when kids start talking). There’s no reason not to call things by their correct name, unless your beliefs make you ashamed in some way. I’d applaud the parents of any 2 yr old I heard referring to his/her penis/breasts/vagina as such. If we just answered kids questions truthfully from the beginning this wouldn’t be an issue.

    Pay attention now, maybe this will be a little enlightening for some of you, I have to say it was an eye opener for me. My blinders were forever removed when my daughter came home in 6th grade telling me all about a girl in 7th grade that had already had more than 1 abortion. The first time she was hit on by a lesbian classmate she was in 7th grade. In 8th grade I had to answer questions about threesomes, after an innocent statement by her (akin to a threesome like the three musketeers) had her friends questioning her sexual preference. Fortunately after her friends told her what it was, she was comfortable enough with me to come and ask further questions to clarify what they had told her.

    I am in no way an advocate, but as for “alternative lifestyles” being “forced” on our kids…guess what, once the gay marriage issue makes it to the Supreme Court they’ll have to legalize it nationwide, just like interracial marriage. Just because you don’t personally approve of something or find it distasteful doesn’t mean that to deny it to others isn’t discrimination. If you value your freedoms as an American then you should respect other people’s beliefs....even if you don’t agree with them.

    The only thing I can suggest for this curriculum is that the 5th grade introduction would probably be better if it was segregated with boys and girls separate. But I only suggest this to make asking and answering questions less embarrassing to the kids. I have a son going into 5th grade next year and although I don’t really look forward to having a follow-up discussion with him at home (what parent does) I really believe that it makes it easier to broach the various subjects involved and then elaborate your familial/personal beliefs/morals.

    If you don’t want your kids taught the truth, then you’d better home school them and seriously control their social activities. Opting them out or putting them in private school won’t work, if you don’t teach it to them at home about the same age, they’re still going to learn about it at school “on the playground” even if they’re in a private school. The more you shelter them at home, the less likely they are to ask you honest questions when they do become exposed to this information. Don’t kid yourselves, whether you like it or not, if the schools don’t teach this curriculum the kids will still be exposed to it.
  32. MichelleMariacher
    Report Abuse
    MichelleMariacher - June 23, 2010 2:26 pm
    Online petition - Omit Page 45 from the Purposed HPS DRAFT K-12 Health Enhancement Curriculum

    Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it. ~David Star Jordan, The Philosophy of Despair
  33. MichelleMariacher
    Report Abuse
    MichelleMariacher - June 23, 2010 1:56 pm
    So it's not okay to call people gay, but it is okay to call people Bible thumpers and a imply that there is something wrong with being Christian??

    Alright,to those of us against the sexually explicit content in the curriculum, follow the link to the petition for having this information omitted.

    Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it. ~David Star Jordan, The Philosophy of Despair
  34. dietz1963
    Report Abuse
    dietz1963 - June 23, 2010 1:47 pm
    LMAO, you folks that are for this much be the age 20-30 crowd. Have to be "spoon fed" about everything and don't have the necessary knowledge to teach your kids anything. And what has all this "new, 21st century" education brought us? Just as many pregnancies as when I went to school 30 years ago despite more indepth sex education, despite more contriception, despite more "abstinance" training. Warnings on hotdog packages cause parents don't know how to cut up the food small enough for kids. Warnings on toys cause parents don't understand small children put everything in their mouths. More and more stupid laws cause folks can't conduct themselves properly, heck now they handcuff 12 year old kids in school for writing on the desk(new york) Folks that can't spell cause hey, we have spell check. Folks that can't do anything without a computer. Folks that have no sense of direction because of GPS.

    I'm with justme59601, what do these experts know more then I do about sex education? Ya all think what you want but this "information age" doesn't seem to be working so well.
  35. dolphind3
    Report Abuse
    dolphind3 - June 23, 2010 12:51 pm
    Another bitter rant by gun, We do a good job of talking to our kids so we are not in need of the schools help or yours. It would be a better place if people like you did not try to force your help on everyone else. If education was a cure all for problems then adults would not make any mistakes. Nothing you can say will convince me that a 6 year old needs to know specific sexual names or a first grader needs to be tols that it is ok for a man to love a man, that is up to the parents and not you or the school.
  36. 4ourkids
    Report Abuse
    4ourkids - June 23, 2010 12:12 pm
    Pretty obvious who would prefer to pawn off the parenting responsibility to another source which is sad, but hey at least they will learn something I guess. Gun- why are you so angry? I have never seen such an angry person that supposedly has good intentions. I have read some previous posts from you and am sincerely hopeful that you are not part of the education system. I hope everyone will come out and speak at these meetings. It appears that if you don’t want to teach your children you will get good and angry in order to ensure you can get someone else to do it for you. I suppose that’s the way it works anymore, whoever can yell the loudest gets their way. Yeah, that seems to be working in this world doesn’t it? Obviously that is what some of you practice in your daily lives. Unfortunately, that will not fix the problem or I would be yelling and bullying as well. This is our children not just some reason to debate. It’s more important than being right or being a bully, it’s their futures. To attack people for being “bible thumpers” is so ridiculous I don’t even know what to say. Maybe you should find a higher power in your life and it will help calm some anger. You can reply and try to antagonize me all you want but I won’t be responding. I personally have more self respect than that. Thank you Helena Youth Advocates, we true parents appreciate your efforts. Everyone enjoy your day, it is beautiful outside. Instead of sitting on here fighting take your kids to the park.
  37. gun961960
    Report Abuse
    gun961960 - June 23, 2010 10:53 am

    Dont worry helenayouthadvocates, the real advocates for our kids will be at the July 13th meeting to speak up and get involved. We fully support our schools teaching our kids the FACTS of sexual health. Who better to teach them? I think my previous post was lost so I apologize if this gets posted twice, but angelwatching is a perfect example of what the big problem with this subjects is. The problem is mis interpretation (or as I like to call it flat out lying). Angelwatching could you please point to the page in the proposed curriculum where they want to teach that "same sex marriage is lawful?" I will be waiting....maybe some of you others can point this out? So mllwilkerson, if the IR question of the week is any indication, you better come prepared, because we will be there and MOST of us support our kids learning factual information as it pertains to sexual health. Someone needs to cuz if factual statistics are any indication, MOST PARENTS ARE DOING A CRAPPY JOB!! If you have thoroughly researched the information in the draft and it is NOT proven to be effective, would you mind sighting your source, because all of my sources suggest otherwise. So Michael O'Neil should be voting for the proposed currriculum as most of us parents support it as well. Justme...Health officials do know more about sexual health than your average parent, same as Math teachers know more about math than your average parent, science teachers know more about science than your average parent, etc. My goodness people, the group assigned to forming this curriculum included DOCTORS (please tell me you think they know more about medicine than you do) and Nurses, police officers, Psychiatrists, Sex Health teachers. WHO BETTER TO GIVE YOUR KIDS THE Nurses, police officers, Psychiatrists, Sex Health teachers. WHO BETTER TO GIVE YOUR KIDS THE FACTS???? You can call me a doogooder all day long, trust me I have been called worse by much better. Are you really suggesting that sexual health isn't an important life lesson?? Really, so being able to graph on a T9 calculator or know about WWII is more important than know how you can get pregnant? Really?? Why do you think we have a drop out rate (which I don't know the percentage) justme. Could it be that kids are getting pregnant and then life really kicks in and they have to get a job and take care of their babies instead of getting an educaiton? Who is trying to teach an alternative lifestyle? Where are they "advocating" an alternative lifestyle. Advocating a lifestyle and making kids aware there are other lifestyles are two different things you realize that? So don't you worry, we plan to get mean and nasty too, we plan on holding you accountable for your facts. So come prepared sir/mam, because you won't be allowed to spew your lies without being called to the mat...bring you FACTUAL SOURCES...I know I will (which means leave your Bibles home, they don't count). Thanks for the 2 min time limit...there must be a limit of time for which you are allowed to stand up and lie to the audience

  38. Simmons3
    Report Abuse
    Simmons3 - June 23, 2010 10:28 am
    And the bible thumpers come out of the woodwork. Attention thumpers. The plan allows you to opt your kids out of the teaching. So do so and leave the rest of us to teach our kids how to be responsible, safe, and accurate in the real world.
  39. Curmudgeon
    Report Abuse
    Curmudgeon - June 23, 2010 9:59 am
    Helena Youth Advocates -- splendid choice of name, by the way -- would seem to be marching bravely forward into the 20th Century.
  40. justme59601
    Report Abuse
    justme59601 - June 23, 2010 9:26 am

    I apologize but I'm going flat out disagree with johngp. do you know how wrong your statement is that "Health Professionals and District know more than I do about what Sex Ed my kids need to learn"? so a complete stranger knows more about what your kids need than you as a parent?  If you dogooders are so intent on controling the curriculum in our schools, why don't you try getting the schools to teach the kids something they can actual use later in life. The 3 Rs comes to mind. How many kids in all grades are promoted to the next grade when they can't read, do simple math, or write a complete sentence? Maybe you people could get more involved with discussing the incredible dropout rate we have in Helena. Quit worrying about making sure you force "alternative lifestyles" being taught and start doing something the majority of these kids will actually benefit from. Parents, you're going to have to get mean and nasty on this issue. It's obvious the school district has already made up its mind what it's going to do as they're limiting speakers to two minutes when they want to disagree with this. One can't summarize all of what's wrong with this curriculum in just 2 minutes.

  41. mllwilkerson
    Report Abuse
    mllwilkerson - June 23, 2010 9:08 am
    I spoke to the Board last night. I have to admit that it did not go as planned. I asked for 10 minutes, and was told I could have only 5, (not sure why, as there was only a handful of people in the room to comment...haven't seen this before when there is no time issue). --Anyway, PLEASE GET INVOLVED! This is a serious issue as it affects our kids, grandkids, all the children of the District. I have thoroughly researched the information in the Draft. It is NOT proven to be effective. I am for Sex Ed in the schools, but not THIS SEX ED. --Let's not have our kids be guinea pigs and just hope it all turns out. Let's provide information that is well-researched and proven to be effective. --The ONLY way this will happen is if the PUBLIC gets involved. --I asked Michael O'Neil last night how he votes. I wanted to publicly thank him for his response. He stated that he was elected by the people. He indicated that his job is to reflect the public's wishes. So, LET'S BE HEARD!
  42. JohnGP
    Report Abuse
    JohnGP - June 23, 2010 8:55 am
    I am for the Draft. The Health Professionals and District know more than I do about what Sex Ed my kids need to learn. Although I wish the Draft pushed Abstinence more, I can see the reasoning for teaching the true definition of intercourse (objects, anus, etc.) as well as some of the other ideas (marriage between 2 persons, not man and woman), (erotic images), etc. This is great stuff. I wish I had it when I was a kid. I will thank the Board in advance for supporting this.
  43. angelwatching28
    Report Abuse
    angelwatching28 - June 23, 2010 8:53 am
    I have looked at what is available concerning this draft, I think for the most part it teaches some very valuable tools of life. However, I did have some concerns:
    1) Teaching Kindergartners about mental illness has no value to children this young. These youngsters need to keep innocence and learn more age appropriate ideas.
    2) I support the teaching to children and young adults the importance of tolerance for all persons,but I do not support the Public School System teaching that same sex marriage is lawful or other, and I feel that would violate Seperation of Church and State ammendments.

  44. HelenaYouthAdvocates
    Report Abuse
    HelenaYouthAdvocates - June 23, 2010 8:45 am
    Helena Youth Advocates is a loosely knit group of parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens of the Helena School District (including other Districts that feed into the Helena High Schools) who have concerns with the Health Draft. We do not all agree on what should be taught, but we DO AGREE that the Health Draft IS NOT YET READY TO BE TAUGHT TO OUR CHILDREN. The risks are too high to teach this unproven material to our kids. --(1)TELL the Board your concerns (, --(2)SIGN the petition (, --(3)ATTEND the Community Meeting June 30 (where we will have a written petition) --(4)GET INVOLVED and get OTHERS involved! Again, we don't have to agree what should be in the doc, just that it SHOULD NOT PASS. For more information on what the Draft contains and/or how to spread the word, please contact

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