Just before the final vote on Helena School District’s proposed enhanced health curriculum, Superintendent Bruce Messinger explained he would be adding a “character education” program to schools in the Helena School District. He displayed the addition of “character education” on page 26 above the Bullying Prevention Policy. Then without allowing time for public input, the board voted on the entire curriculum. Character education sounds very good on the surface, and I want my child’s character educated. But I was dismayed because I had been researching SIECUS and its apparent twin “character education” and had found disturbing things.
According to my research, the “character education” used by nationwide “comprehensive” sex ed curricula is more about redefining values than promoting them. Character education is supported by SIECUS — who is sort of an underwriter to the just-voted-in curriculum and to all comprehensive sex ed curriculums. “Character education” from SIECUS seems to be essentially about undermining family influence and traditional family values and promoting “universal values.” I could see correlations between this research and the disturbing “family influence” section of the proposed curriculum which seems so against the influence of family, and I wondered how much indirect “character education” would be in the final curriculum.
So, slipped in at the last, character education is directly part of our new curriculum. Shouldn’t this have been discussed first? But the board would not allow my voiced concerns even after the vote. Why should huge organizations with their own agenda contribute more to school curricula than parents? Are school boards no longer answerable to parents? We all have the goal of wanting children safe from sexual abuse and risky behavior, but surely there is more than one way to accomplish that. Flexibility from the board on how to reach our united goal could have gone a long way towards appeasing and uniting everyone.
In my opinion, our entire community has lost and children most of all. Thank you very much for allowing my input.
Lori Page is a parent in the Helena School District.