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Teaching about sex isn’t same as promoting sex

2010-08-17T00:00:00Z Teaching about sex isn’t same as promoting sexJohn Mott, Letter to the editor Helena Independent Record
August 17, 2010 12:00 am  • 

Why do we sometimes confuse providing information about a subject with promotion of undesirable behavior?

Surely it is obvious that educating children and adolescents appropriately about guns, drugs, finance, alcohol, driving or family dynamics is not advocacy for gun violence, illicit drug use, indebtedness, intoxication, reckless driving or divorce. Ignorance about these subjects can certainly contribute to those undesirable consequences, however.

Unfortunately, some in our community continue to believe that education about sexuality will promote undesirable outcomes. Sex education has been so confused with sex advocacy that some parents believe any formal education on this subject will produce socially unacceptable, illegal, anti-religious or disease-promoting personal behaviors.

In reality, information about human sexuality (including reproductive physiology, sexually transmitted diseases and psychological issues related to sexual behavior) can dispel dangerous myths, reduce abuse and prevent illnesses. Human sexuality education is the basis for decreasing, not causing, pernicious sex-related behaviors.

John Mott

Helena

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(29) Comments

  1. helenros
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    helenros - August 25, 2010 8:09 am
    The district is NOT proposing teaching kindergarteners about anal sex! Has anyone who objects to the curriculum actually bothered to read it? Kindergarteners will be taught appropriate names for their parts and good touch/bad touch. 5th graders are hitting puberty shortly, if they haven't already, and begin learning about their body changes. Children of all ages will be taught that it isn't ok to mock or discriminate against others... the horrors! (please note sarcasm) There is nothing in the sex ed curriculum that is not age-appropriate or is more explicit than what I currently teach my child. I want the reinforcement he'll get from hearing it from other sources. I also want the other kids he will be interacting with to have the same accurate information.
  2. Marcellab
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    Marcellab - August 24, 2010 2:39 pm
    Marine0311 said: "Personally, I can not believe that we are even in a place where we are talking about teaching children 5 and older about sex, gay or otherwise. A 5 year old and even a 10 year old is not mentally capable of processing what they would be hearing. Most 5 year old's have only been potty trained for a couple years, a little more if the parents were on the job full time. So now we want to teach a child who has just learned that poop comes from their butt/bumb/anus, whatever term parents use, and try to tell them that the anus is a way to have sexual intercourse without getting pregnant. OMG. Are people completely insane? Then, we can fill up more contract prisons with children who are sexually assaulting other children because they were taught things without the capability of understanding the whole concept, and/or the repercussions of these actions.If you really want to help kids, start teaching at 5 years old, that your credit history can ruin your life, stop you from getting good jobs or purchasing "anything".Seventh and Eighth grades are the right time to start talking to kids about sex education. My son is going into Eighth grade this year, and this summer we had the "sex" talk. So Seventh would be the perfect time to start sex education. Right now we are doing it in 4th and 5th grades and kids are becoming active in 7th and 8th grades. Why can't we let kids be kids a little bit longer than the 5th grade? Sure, teen pregnancy is a concern, but it is also not the norm. Two or three girls in high school might get pregnant, not two or three girls in high school do not get pregnant. So teaching things like that at even earlier ages is just going to make them active at earlier ages, it is only common sense. Whomever came up with the Idea of teaching this stuff to 5 year olds needs to be evaluated mentally. I know one thing for sure, if this passes in Helena, I will be moving my family out of here. Here is a nice piece of trivia, why is it that the Helena School district wants to teach 5 year olds about anal sex, but will not let military recruiters into the schools? Sounds to me like we have a very liberal, non-military school district. Lets not teach our kids about the cost of freedom, but instead, teach them it is good to be homosexual and go against god. Or, maybe we should teach that there is no god... By the way, I am not a religious finatic, I believe that people find God in their own ways, and not by going to church every sunday.I promise this, if you start teaching sex at that early of an age, you will see a decrease in the age at which kids have kids. "

    I think you need to read the proposed curriculum again. No where does it say that they are teaching 5 year olds about anal sex. That happens in 5th grade,along with the urinary/excretory system, which I beleive is the appropriate age since some children are already sexually active. They also do not teach that it is good to be homosexual but that humans sometimes love someone of the same gender and that it is hurtful and disrespectful to call them names. Most of the human sexuality portion is taught in grades 9-12.

  3. remybon
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    remybon - August 20, 2010 9:45 am
    if you all are so worried about your kids learning about safe sex techiniques in school you better also ban television and also dont allow them to ever be alone with friends. mtv and even the news stations blare sex all over the place. Yes there are the solid group of parents who will actually have an appropriate sex talk with your kids (do you really think kids listen to advice from their parents?) They get mad at you once and they will do the opposite of what you say out of spite. but what about the rest of the kids who have the alcoholic gambling parents that wont get the talk and advice? I believe kids should get the talk from parents, but also they should learn about it in schools. after all isn't school suppose to be a place where people learn how to live in life? it isn't all about math and english. sex ed and human reproduction is science to any of you who forgot.
  4. helenros
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    helenros - August 20, 2010 8:56 am
    Teaching kids the biology is not going to encourage them to have sex. The only thing keeping them ignorant does is ensure that when their bodies do drive them to try it, they are far less likely to use protection. Too many teen girls think nice girls don't plan to have sex, so when they are "swept away" in the moment they end up having it unprotected. Far more than "two or three" girls are ending up pregnant every year right here in Helena.
  5. Lewistownian
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    Lewistownian - August 19, 2010 5:24 pm
    Marine0311, please show me where in the proposed curriculum there is any mention of teaching five-year-olds anal sex. Having a discussion about this new curriculum is great and should be done, but at least use facts and not hyperbole.
    And this nugget of wisdom, "My son is going into Eighth grade this year, and this summer we had the "sex" talk. So Seventh would be the perfect time to start sex education." So just because you do something at a certain age means I have to as well? Isn't that what your side is protesting against? Then you throw out the "if you start teaching sex at that early of an age, you will see a decrease in the age at which kids have kids," line when you clearly state that "a 5 year old and even a 10 year old is not mentally capable of processing what they would be hearing." If they don't understand, how will that "make" them have sex earlier?
  6. justme59601
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    justme59601 - August 19, 2010 2:33 pm
    lulzysoslow,

    please remember sex education isn't about politics, it's about kids. the reason people from "my party" are "constantly trying to tell others what they can or can't do" is because of nitwits from the "other party" forcing their agendas on everyone. Someone has to stand up for the kids and since the "other party" isn't, then "my party" has to. Do adults from the "other party" ever think about the kids instead of themselves?
  7. Marine0311
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    Marine0311 - August 19, 2010 12:11 pm
    Personally, I can not believe that we are even in a place where we are talking about teaching children 5 and older about sex, gay or otherwise. A 5 year old and even a 10 year old is not mentally capable of processing what they would be hearing. Most 5 year old's have only been potty trained for a couple years, a little more if the parents were on the job full time. So now we want to teach a child who has just learned that poop comes from their butt/bumb/anus, whatever term parents use, and try to tell them that the anus is a way to have sexual intercourse without getting pregnant. OMG. Are people completely insane? Then, we can fill up more contract prisons with children who are sexually assaulting other children because they were taught things without the capability of understanding the whole concept, and/or the repercussions of these actions.

    If you really want to help kids, start teaching at 5 years old, that your credit history can ruin your life, stop you from getting good jobs or purchasing "anything".

    Seventh and Eighth grades are the right time to start talking to kids about sex education. My son is going into Eighth grade this year, and this summer we had the "sex" talk. So Seventh would be the perfect time to start sex education. Right now we are doing it in 4th and 5th grades and kids are becoming active in 7th and 8th grades. Why can't we let kids be kids a little bit longer than the 5th grade? Sure, teen pregnancy is a concern, but it is also not the norm. Two or three girls in high school might get pregnant, not two or three girls in high school do not get pregnant. So teaching things like that at even earlier ages is just going to make them active at earlier ages, it is only common sense. Whomever came up with the Idea of teaching this stuff to 5 year olds needs to be evaluated mentally. I know one thing for sure, if this passes in Helena, I will be moving my family out of here. Here is a nice piece of trivia, why is it that the Helena School district wants to teach 5 year olds about anal sex, but will not let military recruiters into the schools? Sounds to me like we have a very liberal, non-military school district. Lets not teach our kids about the cost of freedom, but instead, teach them it is good to be homosexual and go against god. Or, maybe we should teach that there is no god... By the way, I am not a religious finatic, I believe that people find God in their own ways, and not by going to church every sunday.

    I promise this, if you start teaching sex at that early of an age, you will see a decrease in the age at which kids have kids.
  8. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - August 19, 2010 11:35 am
    Gun; you said that they basically called you a name, I pointed out that you never beat around the bush, you flat out just come out and call the name. You were not called a name, people are just fed up with your ways of handling things. Your right about one thing though. This is an opinion blog and you have the right to your opinion, everyone else has the right to disagree with you and they usually do. Have a nice day.
  9. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - August 19, 2010 11:30 am
    Gun; thank you for mocking my abilities, I hope it makes you feel better, the truth is I have had a couple severe head injuries and by the end of the day I have alot of trouble with my fine motor skills including typing. I did not call just me out because they did not call you a name but merely pointed out what you were ranting on about. Your arrogance is offensive I will not stoop to your level by telling you to move on or leave me alone. I will say that everytime you do these things that it only demeans you and no one else. For such an educated person you really lack in the skills to convey a point without becoming hostile.
  10. gun961960
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    gun961960 - August 19, 2010 10:04 am
    Well "Matts wife" (who is Matt??) "Gun, I am not focused on you" REALLY, you have now devoted two blogs just on me!! "you just seem to be the main person that calls name" REALLY Justme called me a child abuser...why not call him out??? ..."and when you do it there is basically about it so I will not move on" WHAT kind of sentence is that?? "When are you going to realize that people don't want or need your help raising their kids" What are you babbling about...I don't want to raise anyones kids, I am raising my own kids, where did I say I wanted to raise your kids?? "Even well informed kids and adults make poor decisions"...oh really, thanks for the tip!! "Kust like you thinking that everyone needs your help" WHAT, you are making no sense and your sentence structure/lack of spelling isn't helping either?? Like I have said before you don't have to read or like what I say, I DO NOT CARE WHAT YOU THINK. And if you think I have no credability, FINE!! This is an opinion blog and I will have my own opinion if you do not mind (and I couldn't care less if you do mind). Find someone or something else to fixate on please. I think we all know now that you don't like my opinion..point taken...thanks tho! LOLzz
  11. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - August 18, 2010 11:38 pm
    From Matt's Wife: Gun, I am not focused on you, you just seem to be the main person that calls name and when you do it there is no basically about it so I will not move on, you lose all crediblity when you use these tactics. You know in the past that I call you out on alot of things and I did comment on the article but you apparently missed that too. I like how you have to search and try and take the meaning out of what everyone says. When are you going to realize that people don't want or need your help raising their kids. Even well informed kids and adults make poor decisions. Kust like you thinking that everyone needs your help.
  12. gun961960
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    gun961960 - August 18, 2010 1:00 pm
    Hey dolphin....Justme basically called me a child abuser, who isn't being "civil" here? ...so mind your own beeswax. Why are you always so hyperfocused on me?? Should I be flattered...LOL You don't even post ANYTHING on what I actually write, just mad that I am not your version of "being nice". Move on dude...
  13. dolphind3
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    dolphind3 - August 18, 2010 12:24 pm
    It is good to see that Gun has not learned to be civil and is still calling names and belittling anyone who doesn't agree with her.
    Why do you people want to compare sex ed to drug education? Ok the dare program is in the 5th grade which is where the current sex ed program is. I am fine with that. I am not fine with people that think it is ok to try to desensitize our children at such a young age.
  14. crush728
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    crush728 - August 18, 2010 11:09 am
    One little point that I don't think anyone has addressed yet (to my knowledge)-- It can be very damaging for an at risk kid (one who may have been sexually abused) to be put in a situation that is uncomfortable, i.e. discussing sex in a mixed classroom at a young age and with only one adult supervising (who is not an accredited psychologist).

    The schools seem to think they will be helping these kids, but they do not have the qualifications or the proper environment to do so. Ask any Ph.D. psychologist.

  15. helenros
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    helenros - August 18, 2010 8:26 am
    The letter writer is correct. Education is not promotion. A 40+ year trend in reduced numbers of teen births has been reversed by abstinence-only "education." Kids have the drive and the ability. Denying them the knowledge doesn't keep them chaste; it only helps ensure that when they do act on their drive, they are less likely to use protection.
  16. lulzysoslow
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    lulzysoslow - August 18, 2010 12:35 am
    Justme59601 said Were just curious what teaching "alternative" forms of sex has to do with sex education. As yet, no one has provided an answer to that question. Mostly because there is no answer to that question because the "alternative" forms of sex the district wants to teach has nothing to do with sex education.

    Did I mention anything in my post about how i felt about anal or oral sex? go ahead, scroll down and reread it. I didn't say anything about anal, oral or any other kind of sex did I?

    What "alternative" kind of sex are you talking about then? To be honest I have not heard of any beyond vaginal, oral or anal... Gun answered your question. People straight or gay participate in this kind of activity, many do not know the risk that is involved do to poor information being passed along.

    Justme59601 said notice I didn't tell yo my views about any kind of sex since it's no one's business but we all know your views. are you seeing the problem yet? or do I need to spell it out more clearly for you? we don't give a rats rear end what your views are or anyone elses are. we just want the sex education in the helena school district to be age appropriate


    No you did not tell us your views but you made them quite apparent. If you do not care what any ones views are then why does your "party" constantly try to tell others that they can not get married, can not have abortions etc. If you do not care about others views, why do you constantly try to force them on others?

    For the education being age appropriate, what age do you think kids start engaging in sex? Middle school, and that is when I was going to middle school in 1996. What age do you want to start teaching them? It is easier to educate a child then to fix a broken man.

    Justme59601 said if we teach kids how to avoid getting pregnant, how to avoid getting someone pregnant and how to avoid getting an std, that should suffice

    How do you want to teach them this if you will not give them all of the information? You do not even want to talk about oral or anal, yet STD's can be spread through these means.

    Justme59601 said it doesn't really matter what's defined as sex or how teenagers are having sex.

    Really, it doesn't? Are you serious... Yes it matters, there is miss information out there that is being passed around that miss informs people and makes them believe that these are "safer" then vaginal intercourse.

    Justme59601 said well gun it's too bad you have to be so sarcastic towards anyone that doesn't share your views

    but i'm sure you want to teach the kids your views and all about anal and oral sex and anything else about sex you can think of so you can get off talking about sex with kids and anyone else that will listen.

    Pot I would like you to meet kettle.



    Dietz1963 said in the off chance teen pregancies get reduced some day (LMAO)

    Actually they were until the introduction of Abstinence only education.

    Dietz1963 said And back some 30 years ago, teen girls were looking like they were 25 years old. Now a days I've seen girls as young as 9 looking like their in their late teens. Yea, the education has really been working LMAO. No the real problem is we now live in a society where practically everything is acceptable and/or fashionable.

    This is the fault of the schools how again? I thought that parents were supposed to be the ones that monitored how their children looked... Or was that one of the responsibility that parents gave up the the schools?

    Dietz1963 said According to the Health and Public Welfare its something in the home that is the largest contributor of teenage pregancies. Teach all ya want but we all have seen it doesn't get better, seems to be getting worse and as long as there are "broken families" out there nothing is going to change.

    So family's are not getting fixed, so rather then educate children, being that even you admit the patents will not do it. You would rather give them no hope and throw them under a bus? Wow nice compassion for others.
  17. gun961960
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    gun961960 - August 17, 2010 6:06 pm
    Oh Dietz...please take a field trip to the Florence Crit Center...you need to get out more...most pregnant teen live with their parents...LOL
  18. gun961960
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    gun961960 - August 17, 2010 6:04 pm
    Justme...WHAT? If you weren't referring to anal and oral sex by using the word "alternative" than what may I ask are you even talking about?? I am assuming you are opposed to any form of sex besides vaginal sex...hence your term "alternative" sex? THIS IS AN OPINION SECTION Dude...I don't care either if you agree with me...that is just fine. I DONT SEE THE PROBLEM!!!! Your going to have to spell it out for me as clearly I must be reading you wrong. Why not just say what you mean anyway, its anonymous...quit beating around the bush.
    LOL..."if we teach kids how to avoid getting pregnant, how to avoid getting someone pregnant and how to avoid getting an std, that should suffice." Ummmmm well isn't that what they want to do? And the proof that you really have no clue what you are talking about Justme, "it doesn't really matter whats defined as sex or how teenagers are having sex." REALLY...it doesn't matter...REALLY? I have to strongly disagree and say that not only does it matter, its one of the MAIN REASONS we are needing to update our curriculum. It doesn't matter...that is funny. AND HELENAIR...of all the crap that you delete from posts I would say the following sentence should qualify, "but im sure you want to teach the kids your views and all about anal and oral sex and anything else about sex you can think of so you can get off talking about sex with kids"...seriously...GROW UP JERK!! (and considering what was posted toward me, that better get posted!!)
  19. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - August 17, 2010 4:22 pm
    Gun, and just how many pregnant teens are living off our tax dollars? Most I know live with their parents. Or work. And oh by the way, in the off chance teen pregancies get reduced some day (LMAO) do you think the government is going to give the tax dollars back to you? LMAO.

    For all you that "think" more sex education is going to do something, think again. According to the Health and Public Welfare its something in the home that is the largest contributor of teenage pregancies. Teach all ya want but we all have seen it doesn't get better, seems to be getting worse and as long as there are "broken families" out there nothing is going to change.
  20. justme59601
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    justme59601 - August 17, 2010 3:16 pm
    well gun it's too bad you have to be so sarcastic towards anyone that doesn't share your views. Did I mention anything in my post about how i felt about anal or oral sex? go ahead, scroll down and reread it. I didn't say anything about anal, oral or any other kind of sex did I? are you just assuming I oppose any form of sex besides vaginal sex? notice I didn't tell yo my views about any kind of sex since it's no one's business but we all know your views. are you seeing the problem yet? or do I need to spell it out more clearly for you? we don't give a rats rear end what your views are or anyone elses are. we just want the sex education in the helena school district to be age appropriate. if we teach kids how to avoid getting pregnant, how to avoid getting someone pregnant and how to avoid getting an std, that should suffice. it doesn't really matter what's defined as sex or how teenagers are having sex. but i'm sure you want to teach the kids your views and all about anal and oral sex and anything else about sex you can think of so you can get off talking about sex with kids and anyone else that will listen. November will just not come soon enough.
  21. dadltc
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    dadltc - August 17, 2010 2:16 pm
    Gun, I did raise 5 children, none of them were pregnant as teenagers, or got teenage girls pregnant. Your tax dollars aren't supporting any of them or their offspring, they all have good jobs and are contributing to society. I taught them appropriately about the topics noted, just as all parents should. We are doing a disservice if we absolve parents of their responsibilities, we need to hold them accountable.
  22. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - August 17, 2010 1:48 pm
    Yea its apples and oranges. His title is really off the mark. Thats like saying teaching 12 year olds gun safety doesn't promote hunting. Or teaching 16 year olds how to drive doesn't promote buying a car. Or just teaching in school as a whole doesn't promote kids to get a job.

    No one has been against sex education in school, just age appropriate. On the other hand, what has all the previous sex education really done? They started teaching it just after I got out of high school and with all the education since we are MORE teenage pregnancies? MORE sexually transmitted diseases? And back some 30 years ago, teen girls were looking like they were 25 years old. Now a days I've seen girls as young as 9 looking like their in their late teens. Yea, the education has really been working LMAO. No the real problem is we now live in a society where practically everything is acceptable and/or fashionable. And as long as thats the case, ain't no amount of sex education in school going to change squat.
  23. gun961960
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    gun961960 - August 17, 2010 1:11 pm
    Ok TRChange and dadltch...when your kids stop getting pregnant (because you refuse to teach them anything) and using my tax dollars to support themselves as teenage parents than I will get on your "boat". Until then I am tired of paying for teenage parents and teenage diseases so as I see it Public Problem meet Public Solution. OHHHH Justme provides some insight into this debate. So you know your kids are going to have sex, your just afraid that if we teach them that anal and oral sex are in fact sex they are going to start "doing it" that way instead. Ha...some peoples lack of knowledge about the sexual world we live in is kind of funny. Here is your answer Justme..... Q) what is teaching "alternative forms of sex have to do with sex education.
    A) Well if by "alternative" you mean anal and oral sex than those two forms of sex need to be explained to our students because
    1. Contrary to popular beliefe amongst the 14-18 yr olds these two forms of sex are considered to be sexual intercourse.
    2. While you cannot impregnant a female through these forms of sex you can easily spread sexually transmitted disease, some of which there is no cure for and can be terminal.
    3. Our own county health department has let us know that more and more teenagers are coming to them with these diseases and are sharing many stories of mis information about what they understand sex to be defined as.

    So Justme I hope I have answered your question for you. Just because you live in a sheltered world of what you consider sex to be, doesn't mean the rest of the world is living in your similar reality. We know the kids are having anal and oral sex, its a FACT. So get over your ewwwww or gross or whatever snarled up yucky face I'm sure you have just reading my answers and FACE THE REALITY of our situation please.
    Purple...I think by now we all know how you feel about the July 4th poll, I wish you would get half as upset of the reality of our teenage birth rate (333 from 06-08) or our sexually transmitted disease rate in Lewis and Clark County. You know...the world we live in TODAY vs US History. Teachers are not our problem people...crappy parenting should be what you are all really mad about. Our teachers are as great as they have ever been...probably better, but if the kids have no motivation from home to do the learning, what can the teachers do about it??
  24. montana1
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    montana1 - August 17, 2010 12:18 pm
    It cannot be the responsibility of the schools to provide children with the moral and ethical value's of our human sexuality. Part of teaching health and P.E is so that we understand our bodies in all aspects including emotional, physical and mental aspects. It is of personal opinion and one's up bringing that teaching children sexual education is wrong. It would be imperative that schools offered a sort of syllabus for parents to show the genre of material that will be gone over. Perhaps it should be optional for parents to decide whether or not their children is ready for lessons. Anything can "tempt" or "put ideas" into children’s heads, and possible everything influences children from T.V to books or even conversations amongst adults.
  25. Purple
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    Purple - August 17, 2010 10:38 am
    How far apart are the two concepts? Does not one lead to the other?

    On this nation's birthday this year, a poll was conducted with the question - which country did the U.S. gain it's independence from. Sadly, over 25 percent of those asked the question gave the WRONG answer.

    How accurate is the information teachers are going to provide in the classroom going to be given they are failing to accurately teach U.S. History?
  26. justme59601
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    justme59601 - August 17, 2010 8:18 am
    Mr. Mott does a good job of comparing apples to oranges in the second paragraph in his attempt to throw us off the trail. But he completely missed the boat. Those of us opposing the proposed sex education curriculum aren't worried in the slightest about promoting sex in the schools. We know it's going to happen anyway. Were just curious what teaching "alternative" forms of sex has to do with sex education. As yet, no one has provided an answer to that question. Mostly because there is no answer to that question because the "alternative" forms of sex the district wants to teach has nothing to do with sex education.
  27. dadltc
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    dadltc - August 17, 2010 8:10 am
    All those topics should be taught by parents, the same as it's the parents responsibility to teach about sex. We shouldn't absolve parents of their responsibilities and hand those responsibilities to the schools.
  28. Auntie Lib
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    Auntie Lib - August 17, 2010 6:16 am
    I would be more inclined to accept this position if it weren't for the fact that the same people who are currently teaching our kids about math, science, reading, writing, etc., will be teaching sex-ed. If you've recently read anything written by the average middle-school student, you'd have to wonder if the species will die out after they get all this "edumacation".
  29. Therightchange
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    Therightchange - August 17, 2010 4:29 am
    To bad the author misses the point. It is the job of the parents not the so called school system to teach their children about life. Bruce Messinger is not your children's father. Sex education for 5 year olds is not what they need ever. Perhaps the Helena School District under the direction of Bruce Messinger needs to reduce the drop out rate to a point where the future of this community is not in danger and get out of the sex business completely.

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