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Health, sex-ed curriculum right for Helena

2010-08-29T00:00:00Z Health, sex-ed curriculum right for HelenaBy NANCY NICHOLSON, Your Turn Helena Independent Record
August 29, 2010 12:00 am  • 

As I think about the work and the process involved in developing the new health education curriculum and the sex education part of that curriculum for the Helena School District, I am impressed by the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of those who have been involved. By using health care and educational professionals, the school district has drawn on their expertise, and by doing this over a two-year period, they have given much time and thought to the process.

All of us are sexual beings, and it is healthy for us to be well informed and comfortable with our sexuality. Our culture “sexualizes” many things but that often masks misinformation, as kids and adults pretend to be cool or knowledgeable. By providing age-appropriate information, the school district will be providing a service to all students and to the community. Parents can then have further discussions about the information provided and can have a discussion of their own values directly with their children.

As it is now, few are well informed and many are misinformed. The misinformation spreads from peer to peer and that does not serve the purpose of good health. The aim should be to become comfortable with your body and knowledgeable about its functions as one develops. I often feel that those who are most strident in their opposition to basic sex education, and who are threatened by the thought of sex ed, are people who might themselves have benefited from an earlier and more honest sex education.

I applaud the curriculum committee, the school district and the school board as they step forward to do the right thing, which is to provide comprehensive health education and sex education to the students of Helena. We do not want our society to be ruled by those who shout the loudest, do the most name calling or send the most nasty e-mails. Nor should schools succumb to the very ignorance they are trying to dispel. I hope that the school board will stand firm on this issue and support the fine work which has been done.

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(19) Comments

  1. WalleyeHunter
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    WalleyeHunter - September 03, 2010 9:43 pm
    Great, just great. If we listen to Kristi AG, we will take the responsibility of teaching sex education away from professional educators and put that duty into a stellar cadre of folks who can obviously do it much much better here in Helena. I am sure you have seen these master teachers - - they can be found walking around in Wal Mart. God help us all.

    But wait! If we don't like what the school district is proposing to do, let's find a judge who will legislate from the bench (isn't that what the right-wingers always complain about? funny isn't it) and dictate to us what our children will learn.

    And, in the process, we'll have to spend a bunch of our tax dollars paying for the attorneys who get involved in this money-maker of a case.

    Kristi AG isn't a concerned parent. She is a scheming politician who is looking for any soap box to stand upon in order to jump start a political career.

    Do us all a favor, vote for her opponent in November.
  2. helenros
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    helenros - September 03, 2010 7:46 am
    I find it interesting that the people who oppose abortion rights are also in opposition to teaching people how to avoid needing one. I suspect it's because their opposition to abortion is not so much about protecting the unborn as it is about punishing loose women.
  3. MTanan
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    MTanan - September 02, 2010 8:18 pm
    crush728: I totally agree with you. Schools can't teach everything and can't be involved in all aspects of a student's life - nor should they be. It should be up to the community what schools teach. Children need to be able to compete in a global economy, and it appears that the USA is falling behind other countries in math, science - the traditional education. If you rely only on "education professionals" without community input you have a closed circuit.

    Speaking of basics, however, I must point out that the "When you're kids..." in your post is incorrect usage - it should be "your", not "you're". "You're" is a contraction meaning "you are" (note the apostrophe). "Your" is the possessive and it is correct to say "your kids". I guess we're going to have to flunk you on basic grammar.

    But forgive me. I may be too old school on this.
  4. lulzysoslow
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    lulzysoslow - September 02, 2010 2:32 pm
    crush728 said: "You know, I find this interesting that Helena is so into this sex education when their basic education standards have dropped so dramatically. I suppose I find it most interesting in that I will be one of those professors at a University that will be flunking your kid because you were too absent to realize that sex ed isn't going to get your kid a University degree.

    Yes this darn sex ed taking up to much time. I mean it has not even been made a part of the curriculum. Yet it is causing our kids to flunk.

    Really you started to allude to what is causing the decline in education standards, but then switch to Sex Ed. "I suppose I find it most interesting in that I will be one of those professors at a University that will be flunking your kid because you were too absent..." I would agree that is a big cause. Along with some other things, Helicopter parents, the fact that we don't have jobs that HS graduates can get (Manufacturing) and make a decent living off of. Face it not ever one is meant to go to college, yet we live in a society that is either go to college or fail.


    "When you're kids are apt at: Geography, Algebra, Calculus, Geometry, (basic) Physics, (at least one) Foreign language, World history, Literature, Biology, Chemistry... then and only then can we perhaps have a meaningful dialogue. Until then, you are letting them down. You are stealing their futures. And I will not be sympathetic to their lack of basic knowledge.

    I agree kids should be taught this before going to college. Still K-12 is not all about the basics, it is about growing and learning much more then just the Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic.


    All of you should be screaming mad about the lack of education at all. Every one of you should be pounding on the doors of the schools demanding your kids get an education to prepare them for higher learning.

    That is the problem Crush, there are no parents at any teachers doors. They don't come and have talks to the teachers. The only time teachers see parents is at Parent Teacher Conferences, or when their Kid gets a C and the parent is there to know why they gave them a C instead of an A. (It couldn't be that your kid is just a C student, ohh no he had personal problems that day, etc)

    (They are not) Don't delude yourselves. The last kid we had in the lab didn't know the difference between protein and DNA. But I guess, for you guys, that's OK as long as he knows he has a Penis and what it can be used for. "

    Did you suggest that maybe he should try a lower level class? Or are you going to let him try and make it through so the whole while you can laugh at him, and watch him struggle?

    "And I will not be sympathetic to their lack of basic knowledge."

    No one is asking you to be sympathetic, lets just hope you did what a good teacher would and should have done. For some reason I doubt you did.
  5. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - September 01, 2010 10:08 pm
    gun, you have accurately quoted Dr. Grossman and seem to have agreed with her. The funny part is that you have argued in the past that the curriculum was fact and science based. Lady I don't need a professional to tell me what to do with my penis and I will thank you to leave it out of the discussion!!
  6. gun961960
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    gun961960 - September 01, 2010 2:53 pm
    Well Dolphin, since my post was posted at the same time as crushs post and the IR seems to be having a hard time updating posts more than once per day I guess it was kind of hard for me to comment on it before now. What is your deal with me, get off my case already!! I went to listen to Dr. Grossman this afternoon and in reference to crushs comments Dr. Grossman says that while we may all not deal with science or math in our adult lives day to day, we all are dealing with or have delt with sex in our lives so sexual health is of significant importance, and furthermore this proposed curriculum is lacking in scientific based information for our teenagers! So put that in your pipe and smoke it!! Crush, as an alleged educator I would think you would recognize the decline in parental involovement as one of the major causes in the decline of educational achievements in K-12 schools. So we should be holding you responsible as a college professor for all of these kids you are flunking...right? And when was the last time someone lost their life because they didn't know the difference between protein and DNA? Don't kid yourself crush, knowing what to do with your penis, or more importantly what not to do with it is a valuable lesson, one everyone should learn from or have reinforced lesson from a professional!! Ditto for you dolphin!!
  7. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - September 01, 2010 9:31 am
    Gun; will you even read what crush commented on or just conveniently skip over it?
  8. crush728
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    crush728 - August 31, 2010 9:16 pm
    You know, I find this interesting that Helena is so into this sex education when their basic education standards have dropped so dramatically. I suppose I find it most interesting in that I will be one of those professors at a University that will be flunking your kid because you were too absent to realize that sex ed isn't going to get your kid a University degree.

    When you're kids are apt at: Geography, Algebra, Calculus, Geometry, (basic) Physics, (at least one) Foreign language, World history, Literature, Biology, Chemistry... then and only then can we perhaps have a meaningful dialogue. Until then, you are letting them down. You are stealing their futures. And I will not be sympathetic to their lack of basic knowledge.

    All of you should be screaming mad about the lack of education at all. Every one of you should be pounding on the doors of the schools demanding your kids get an education to prepare them for higher learning. (They are not) Don't delude yourselves. The last kid we had in the lab didn't know the difference between protein and DNA. But I guess, for you guys, that's OK as long as he knows he has a Penis and what it can be used for.
  9. gun961960
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    gun961960 - August 31, 2010 2:55 pm
    1rosary...I have no problem with people going to listen to Dr. Grossman, she has some very interesting points. She hopes to add to the teenage based curriculum in areas of female sexually transmitted disease facts and condom usage...just enough stuff to make you conservatives heads spin off...should be funny to watch. Abstinence is proposed to be taught in grades 5-12...how much more do you want?? She matter of factly said in her interview on the radio that she had read through the entire curriculum and that abstinence was not mentioned once. So either she is a LIAR or she cannot read, which is disappointing considering she carries the initials MD behind her name and you all are counting on her to run this curriculum into the ground. If this woman can't get simple facts straight, why should ANY of us listen to her denounce something she apparantly doesn't understand? She spent years as a shrink on the campus of UCLA where she was overwhelmed at the amount of young people who were coming in with various sexual related issues. Ummmm, why do you think that would be? She advocates teenage sexual education and isn't happy with what is being left out in this curriculum, do you people understand that? She is saying too much too soon and too little too late. And what exactly is a fisting kit??? Is that in the curriculum rosary, or how to perform anal sex?? LOL...like I said, you sound "silly".
  10. 1rosary
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    1rosary - August 31, 2010 12:47 am
    jlarsen, thank you for getting my point out again. Shouting? Hardly. If I was shouting it would have been all caps. I was proving points on Nancy's ridiculous letter on how she was wrong. If and when I should you will certainly know it. Gee Gun, one mispelling because I hit the key next to it. Wow. People got the idea. And thank you for the correct date. I was told the 3rd. Now you have just infotmed more people of Dr. Grossmans lecture. Thank you. And yes, I have been to all of the meetings. Including the one at the church where Teresa Bursen tried to cover her tracks. Where were you? As for the other meeting...one person giving her opinion when there were hundreds opposed is far from the majority yelling. And if you were speaking of the gentleman who called the police "because people were looking at him" and "cutting in line". I suggest you tell the whole truth. He himself was being loud and brought attention to himself. And as far as I know there was one woman who put him in his place because everyone around was sick and tired of his antics. Far from the whole crowd that was in opposition. Interesting you chose to call Dr. Grossman a liar. Wom, abstinence mentioned a whoppin 2 times in 65 pages. Gee, I guess you are right and the curriculum is about abstinence and she must not be a professional and she must not have years of experience behind her. Guess we should all listen to you instead. I think not. And Helena123, a parent simply cannot just not sign their children up for sex ed. Evidentially you are one of those who has not read it but choses to spout off about it. It will be so woven in with other subjects that opting out will not be a choice. Better yet. Why doesn't the school board concentrate on teaching the children correctly on the subject matters at hand? We all know they are not doing their job there and if and then that happens they can have a sex ed class that inept parents who chose not to parent can sign their children up for. I am sure you will be as entertained as they are when they come home talking to you about how to perform anal sex and showing you their fisting kits.
  11. helena123
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    helena123 - August 30, 2010 1:06 pm
    It's as simple as this: If you don't like or agree with the curriculum, don't sign your kids up for sex ed.
  12. jlarsen
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    jlarsen - August 30, 2010 8:42 am
    1rosary said: "Very interesting article, Nancy. HOWEVER it seems by reading it that not only are you one of the "misinformed" you speak of but also one of the "name callers". First, have you even read the entire curriculum? I for one have, as have many I associate with, which is why we DO NOT want it in our school. Furthermore, I have read the curriculum they are trying to replace. Have you? I think not. I have spoke with many, many people and the ONLY misinformed ones interestingly happen to be in favor of it and HAVE NOT read the entire curriculum. They also are the same who have shoutet the loudest, called several people names both in person and by their comments in the paper, and sent the nastiest e-mails. This is a fact, I suggest you look into it. Am I threatened by the curriculum? Hardly. And I am certainly FAR FROM ignorant and happen to have been very educated by MY PARENTS on the subject of sex education AS I SHOULD HAVR BEEN, it being THEIR place and NOT the schools. Interesting name calling and assumption Nancy. What are you afraid of? Your own lack of hands on parenting? This so-called curriculum will NOT be a service to any child or person in this community. I suggest you listen to Dr. Miriam Grossman when she speaks on Septemner 3rd. Then YOU will be educated in exactly how this can and WILL harm everyone involved, ESPECIALLY the children. The only point of your letter I agree with is "schools not succumb to ignorance".............exactly. NOT succumb to the ignorant thinking of people for this curriculum. By now it is well known there is and has always been an agenda attached to it. Bruce Messenger and Teresa Bursen have already lied about meeting notes and are in the process of being sued for them because they have LIED and said there are none. Interestingly Ms. Bursen ADMITTED to a room full of approximately 30 people that there WERE notes and SHE HERSELF collected them. People who worked on the committes have also CONFIRMED each sub-committee and the main committee had a person specifically appointed to be the scribe yet NO ONE knows where the notes are now or how the "sex ed" portion got into the curriculum or who worked on it and put it there. This happens to be a FACT that NO ONE can dispell yet Bruce Messinger continues his un truths. Furthermore, why did they HIDE this curriculum building for 2 years and NOT invite the community to be involved? ( It is also well known that the ONLY reason the curriculum needs to be re done is that if it isn't they will lose Federal money. NOT because it will benefit our childrern AND that the sex ed portion is taken almost word for word from SIECUS but Messenger interestingly chose to leave out SIECUS's attmitance in their document that "sex education is primarily the responsibility of the parent and NOT the school". INTERESTING)Because they knew EXACTLY what they were doing and what would happen when they did bring it to light. Face the facts. The children of Helena DO NOT need this nor does our community. Sign me well EDUCATED, NOT misinformed, NOT threatened and OPPOSED. "

    What were you saying about people who "shout the loudest," Nancy? I couldn't hear you over all the screaming in here.
  13. gun961960
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    gun961960 - August 29, 2010 9:41 pm
    Dolphin...simply stating...and restating...and restating that two of your siblings didn't "listen" to your parents isn't going to convince us that for that simple reason some kids aren't going to listen so we shouldn't tell them the facts. Yes, some kids are going to know the scary consequences to their actions and they are still going to make the wrong choice. WE GET IT ALREADY!!
    1rosary...did you go to the meeting on the 13th of July?? Who was shouting the loudest? I stood outside for four hours and there was plenty of shouting going on, including one lady who shouted "well you are one" when one of the gentlemen speaking was telling of the constant bullying he faced in high school because he is homosexual and was being called a "faggot". I was also approached relentlessly by the VOTE NO petition signers begging me to sign there silly petition. Tim Ravendahl (sp?) literally chased down one of the gentlemen who spoke in favor of the curriculum as he came outside to leave trying to get his picture. There was a truck in the parking lot with very nice homemade signs with Bible versus written on them and one abnoxious old man had a sheet of notebook paper that read "Hell NO" that was barely legible. There have been numerous people on these very blogs and LTEditors in this paper and the Queen City News who have also written straight out lies about this curriculum. For example people keep saying that we want to start teaching sexually explicit materila to 5 yr olds. Unless teaching anatomically correct terms is now considered sexually explicit, then it is just a LIE!!
    1rosary, a couple of suggestions for you. If you are going to SHOUT, then you should use your spellcheck, because mis spelling your SHOUT OUTS is silly!! And if you are going to tout Dr. Grossmans speaking appearance you should make sure you got the right date? Speaking of Dr. Grossman, she too is either a part of the plot to scare the board into changing this new curriculum or she is a flat out LIAR. I listened to her interview on the radio last week where she flat out said there was NO MENTION of abstinence in this proposed curriculum. She even went as far as to say that she had read EVERY SINGLE PAGE thoroughly. When I informed Helena Youth Advocates (who are bringing Dr. Grossman here to speak as a fundraiser for their "group") and explained that abstinence is to be taught grades 5-12 and is not only mentioned in the proposed curriclum once (pg 45 grade 5) but twice (pg 54 grades 5-12) HYA said that Dr. Grossman "probably missed it as a common assumption is that the Sex Ed chapter holds all the Sex Ed info". Really?? Ummmm, seems like a straight up LIE to me. When you have a "doctor" lying to the people it is much more harmful than us little guys ranting here on these blogs. This woman is coming to town to speak and will no doubt have influence on many parents decision on this subject. I will be attending her speaking engagements and intend to hold her accoutable if she chooses to lie again. Dr. Grossman does however have some very valid, great points to include in the curriculum. If she sticks to fact based scientific data I think she will be fine.
  14. Bojangles
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    Bojangles - August 29, 2010 9:09 pm
    I for one would have learned nothing about sex ed, general health, and acceptance, allowance and appreciation if it weren't for my public school education. If left to my parents I would probably also been a fearful intolerant bigot - and most likely an alchoholic.

    Kids from strong families will discuss these matters further with their families. Kids from families like mine? The only ones capable of caring about them are the schools. Kids are not manipulated in school - they are given a wide lense through which we all should see the world, and are given the tools to make up their own minds which is how it must be in the end. Kids who are told what to think.. they never even learn to think.

    I'm so glad that our educators are stepping up - Some kids don't have anyone else who cares.
  15. wonkerbean
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    wonkerbean - August 29, 2010 7:12 pm
    The number one reason we all should support the school district's effort to provide scientific sex education is that education is the most effective stopper to abortion. Right wingers are against abortion AND sex ed. How can that be? The number two reason is that effective sex education will also help the drop out rate that we are all concerned about. I think we can all get behind the sex education effort. No more grand standing.
  16. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - August 29, 2010 1:15 pm
    Nancy, The proponents of the curiculum are the over whelming name callers in every blog. It is very sad. They also keep saying that parents want to keep their children ignorant. I don't know any parents that want that for their children but I do live with my children and I do know when they are ready for certain discussions. My parents had four children that they taught the same things to, two listened and two did not. Now alot of you people would asy that my parents did a bad job of parenting but the truth is that some children are just not going to listen to what anyone is going to tell them.
  17. Popsy
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    Popsy - August 29, 2010 9:17 am
    Very well written article. Unfortunately our society seems to be manipulated by those who shout the loudest. It is for the betterment of our society for our children to have comprehensive health education, and that includes sex education. For those of you on the Sarah Palin bandwagon of abstinence, look how well it worked for her own daughter.
  18. curiosityspeaks
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    curiosityspeaks - August 29, 2010 6:17 am
    I applaud this article. Well written and correct on every level.It's about time Montana children were brought into the 21st Century. Perhaps, by eliminating some ignorance, there will be less teen moms and more high school graduates.
  19. 1rosary
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    1rosary - August 29, 2010 1:31 am
    Very interesting article, Nancy. HOWEVER it seems by reading it that not only are you one of the "misinformed" you speak of but also one of the "name callers". First, have you even read the entire curriculum? I for one have, as have many I associate with, which is why we DO NOT want it in our school. Furthermore, I have read the curriculum they are trying to replace. Have you? I think not. I have spoke with many, many people and the ONLY misinformed ones interestingly happen to be in favor of it and HAVE NOT read the entire curriculum. They also are the same who have shoutet the loudest, called several people names both in person and by their comments in the paper, and sent the nastiest e-mails. This is a fact, I suggest you look into it. Am I threatened by the curriculum? Hardly. And I am certainly FAR FROM ignorant and happen to have been very educated by MY PARENTS on the subject of sex education AS I SHOULD HAVR BEEN, it being THEIR place and NOT the schools. Interesting name calling and assumption Nancy. What are you afraid of? Your own lack of hands on parenting? This so-called curriculum will NOT be a service to any child or person in this community. I suggest you listen to Dr. Miriam Grossman when she speaks on Septemner 3rd. Then YOU will be educated in exactly how this can and WILL harm everyone involved, ESPECIALLY the children. The only point of your letter I agree with is "schools not succumb to ignorance".............exactly. NOT succumb to the ignorant thinking of people for this curriculum. By now it is well known there is and has always been an agenda attached to it. Bruce Messenger and Teresa Bursen have already lied about meeting notes and are in the process of being sued for them because they have LIED and said there are none. Interestingly Ms. Bursen ADMITTED to a room full of approximately 30 people that there WERE notes and SHE HERSELF collected them. People who worked on the committes have also CONFIRMED each sub-committee and the main committee had a person specifically appointed to be the scribe yet NO ONE knows where the notes are now or how the "sex ed" portion got into the curriculum or who worked on it and put it there. This happens to be a FACT that NO ONE can dispell yet Bruce Messinger continues his un truths. Furthermore, why did they HIDE this curriculum building for 2 years and NOT invite the community to be involved? ( It is also well known that the ONLY reason the curriculum needs to be re done is that if it isn't they will lose Federal money. NOT because it will benefit our childrern AND that the sex ed portion is taken almost word for word from SIECUS but Messenger interestingly chose to leave out SIECUS's attmitance in their document that "sex education is primarily the responsibility of the parent and NOT the school". INTERESTING)Because they knew EXACTLY what they were doing and what would happen when they did bring it to light. Face the facts. The children of Helena DO NOT need this nor does our community. Sign me well EDUCATED, NOT misinformed, NOT threatened and OPPOSED.

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