In most areas of the world our children have put on their backpacks and headed out the door as schools begin another year. The time when we could give our kids a hug and kiss and send them off without a worry regarding what they would be taught is long gone. The hug and kiss still works, but the worry is more legitimate than it’s ever been. We have to ask ourselves the question: What’s happening in my child’s school? Blindly trusting that the school is making good decisions regarding what your children are being exposed to is not simply a foolish mistake, but a serious danger. What we don’t know could hurt our children.
For example, do you know what books are in your school library regarding sexual issues? The following quote from a news article told what a mother in Arkansas did when she discovered inappropriate books in her children’s school library. “[She] succeeded in getting three sexually explicit books removed from the Fayetteville school libraries [and] says she has found there are more than a hundred books of that nature in the school district. Now a mental health counselor is recommending a parental audit of all the books in the city’s school libraries.
“According to a search conducted by Fayetteville mom Laurie Taylor, out of 502 books listed under ‘sex’ in the city’s middle, junior high, and high school libraries, there are 66 books on sex instruction, and 32 of those are on child sex instruction. Another 75 of the books deal with homosexuality, 23 fall under that category of lesbian fiction, 16 are on rape, 9 on incest, and there are even some books on bestiality.”
“Taylor and other concerned mothers and fathers are calling area school officials on the carpet for allowing books filled with profanity and gratuitous sex to remain on the shelves in the city’s schools. The group has asked Superintendent Bobby New and school board members to restrict students’ access to the materials.” [i]
Shocking Student Survey
According to Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman of American Family Association, “Parents in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, are upset because the local school administered an explicit sex survey to sixth-graders. The survey solicits answers to such questions as ‘How old were you when you had sexual intercourse for the first time?’ and ‘The last time you had sexual intercourse, did you or your partner use a condom?’ Other questions had direct reference to oral sex and how many different people they had engaged in this act. A similar sex survey being administered to eighth-graders asks students to identify themselves as heterosexual, gay or lesbian, or bisexual.
“The school committee would not allow parents to view copies of the survey because they felt parents would ‘misinterpret’ the questions.” [ii]
It’s unconscionable that these kinds of questions would ever be asked of children. It could make them feel abnormal for not having had sexual relations, stimulating them toward such dangerous behavior. Parents need to know when things like this are in the works and put a stop to it before it happens. The only way to prevent such incidents is to be actively involved in the planning of your school’s curriculum.
Taking Control of Curriculum
Chris King, a Latter-day Saint mother in Juneau, Alaska, has taken the curriculum-committee-bull-by-the-horns in her children’s school, and is making a difference. She said, “I happened to be at a PTO meeting where the counselor told what she was supposed to teach according to the new curriculum. I was appalled.” The new curriculum would teach her children that the homosexual lifestyle is normal and every bit as acceptable and happy as heterosexual relationships. To further damage the thinking of children, it would teach that they need to experiment with both life-tyles to decides which one fits them best.
After that meeting, Chris and her bishop-husband James, rallied other concerned parents and went to the school board, insisting that parent representation must be part of the curriculum committee. Through a little research of school policy she discovered that parents were supposed to be on the curriculum committee! None were. The school board and counselors felt that most parents are not well enough informed to make curriculum decisions. Changing their minds meant regularly attending and intelligently speaking out on the subject at school board meetings. Chris was respectful and relentless in her pursuit, making sure that she and three other parents with similar family values were appointed to that committee. In order to be convincing, Chris armed herself with research that showed the sad results of homosexual relationships.
As a result, the language has been softened and, as of this date, the parents have gone through the entire curriculum and identified sensitive topics, highlighting them, insisting that these topics cannot be taught without parents being notified. They are also working on a guideline as to how far a counselor can go in discussing these sensitive issues when problems arise requiring immediate action when a parent cannot be notified. The counselors are fighting this action and want free rein. Chris said, “We have to continually remind these school employees that they would have no job if they didn’t have our children in their schools, and, like it or not, they must respond to parental participation.”
She said the counselors and teachers are defining the meaning of homosexuality, which they tell the children “is a relationship of love between two individuals of the same gender.” Thus when two young girls like each other and hold hands, as little girls naturally do with friends, that means they must be homosexual. This becomes very confusing to children. Chris said, “To counteract this problem we have told them they may not define homosexuality to these young children. They may not go into what it means to be gay or lesbian. These children do not need to hear this. If they cannot define it the way we approve of, they may not define it at all.” She went on to say, “We’re pretty tough – respectful, but tough. When we tell them these are important moral issues that parents have every right to control, they have rebuttled with, ‘Shame on you for making this a moral issue.’ They seem to think it’s not about morality but about tolerance.” Chris’s response to them was, “The majority of this community will back us up on this because they believe it is definitely a moral issue, not a tolerance issue.”
She said it matters very much that they actually see the community backing. At the next meeting Chris and the other three parents on the committee motivated sixty other caring parents to be there. It was a visual demonstration that this community did indeed believe it was a moral issue and they would not allow these ideas to be taught to their children.
She said, “There are times I think I hate this battle and I’m not going back. But I do. We’ve hung on long enough that they are making changes. The problem is,” she said, “the people wanting these immoral additions to the curriculum are relentless in their determination. Some research on her part has shown that the counselors who want to teach this alternative life style are living it, have relatives who live it, or have an ax to grind because of something that happened to them.” Chris concluded our interview with her by saying, “We’re sad for them and the problems they encounter because of their choices, but we will absolutely not allow them to inflict this upon our children. We’ve stopped this harmful curriculum from being taught this year, and we will not give up in making sure it’s never taught to our children!”
It’s Not About Tolerance
It’s important to understand the truth about the use of the word tolerance when it comes to these moral issues. In his article, “Intolerable Tolerance: When Tolerance Turns Against the Family,” Bryce Christensen, Ph.D., wrote: “Tolerance once meant an attitude of patience and forbearance toward those who failed to live up to social ideals; the new Tolerance means denying the existence of such ideals. For those who now fly its banner, the new Tolerance no longer means simply granting public space for others’ moral and religious convictions; the new Tolerance now means actually endorsing all beliefs as equally (un)true. In place of the tolerance that required discretion and humility in affirming moral absolutes, the new tolerance demands that Americans jettison the very notion of moral absolutes in favor of an undiscriminating acceptance of every option on the moral smorgasbord.
“Thus, educators who say they are ‘bringing tolerance and diversity into the classroom’ actually aim to ‘help all students develop more positive attitudes’ toward those who differ from them in race, culture, family structure, or sexual orientation. Such educators explain that adoption of a curriculum focused on ‘teaching diversity’ means children must be taught ‘the positive aspects’ of different households and must be led in ‘discussions on accepting different family structures.’ Some of the more candid evangelists for Tolerance even admit that they want ‘people [to] move beyond tolerance to embrace and rejoice in diversity.’
“Of course, those who would move their fellow Americans ‘beyond tolerance’ also aim to move them beyond good and evil, beyond truth and falsehood … [W]hen the new Tolerance requires those who profess it to accept every family form and all types of sexual behavior, it also requires acceptance of radically incommensurable moral premises.” [iii]
We have to recognize what is at stake here and take appropriate action.
Another Destructive Family Form
To delve even further, we need explore this question: What is your school teaching children about marriage and cohabitation? Are they teaching that living together without marriage is an acceptable family form? Some educators seem to forget that education is about teaching truth and the consequences of behavior. Older students need to be taught the truth about cohabitation. Harry Benson, author of the research and director of the Bristol Community Family Trust, an independent relationship education and research body, based his findings on Office for National Statistics data on divorce and jointly registered births, together with ONS research on the ratio between breakdown rates for married and unmarried families.
The findings show that it is no longer plausible to argue that all relationship types were equal, he said. “The evidence is irrefutable. Unmarried parents are five times more likely to break up than married parents. Divorce is not the major problem any more.” [iv]
The number of children affected by these breakups is becoming astronomical, and the negative results on these innocent lives and communities is alarming. (For statistics see “Why Marriage Matters,” https://www.americanvalues.org/html/r-wmm.html.)
What About Abstinence?
Safe sex, not abstinence, seems to be the preferred concept taught in school sex education classes. The results are devastating. If educating is about teaching truth then students need to know that condoms are not safe and that sexual relations outside of marriage are destructive. A report, by Melissa G. Pardue on The Heritage Foundation site, stated:.
A December 2003 Zogby poll found that the overwhelming majority of parents – 91 percent – want schools to teach that adolescents should be expected to abstain from sexual activity during high school years.[xi] Only 7 percent of parents believe that it is okay for teens in high school to engage in sexual intercourse as long as they use condoms, which is the predominant theme of “comprehensive” sex education.
Teens themselves welcome the abstinence message and appear to be heeding it. A December 2004 poll by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy found that a clear majority of adolescents – 69 percent – agree that it is not okay for high school teens to engage in sexual intercourse.[xii] Data from the CDC confirms this, as the YRBS survey shows that the number of teens who have ever had sexual intercourse has fallen seven percent in the past 12 years, from 54 percent in 1991 to 46 percent in 2003.[xiii]
Regrettably, groups like the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) and Advocates for Youth would like to see abstinence programs eliminated and replaced with “comprehensive” sex education. These “comprehensive” programs are often misleadingly labeled “abstinence-plus” and falsely claim to be the middle ground between abstinence and safe sex education. This is not true. These programs are virtually all “plus” and almost no abstinence.
Analysis of ‘comprehensive’ sex-ed programs reveals that these curricula contain little if any meaningful abstinence message. On average, these curricula devote about 4 percent of their content to abstinence. Out of 942 total pages of curriculum text reviewed from 9 different ‘comprehensive’ sex ed curricula, not a single sentence was found urging teens to abstain from sexual activity through high school. The overwhelming focus of these curricula (28 percent of the curriculum content) is devoted to promoting contraception among teens.[xiv]
‘The [U.S.] government already spends far more promoting contraception than it does on abstinence education. In 2002 alone, federal and state governments spent $12 on safe sex and contraception promotion programs for every $1 spent on abstinence education.[xv] Yet some members of Congress would like to eliminate even this small amount of funding that encourages teen abstinence through programs like Best Friends. [v]
Regarding the Best Friends school program, Pardue reported:
According to the study, released in April 2005, junior-high and middle school-aged girls who participated in the Best Friends program, when compared to their peers who did not participate, were:Six-and-a-half times more likely to remain sexually abstinent;Nearly two times more likely to abstain from drinking alcohol;Eight times more likely to abstain from drug use; andMore than two times more likely to refrain from smoking.[iv]
The Best Friends program began in 1987 and currently operates in more than 100 schools across the United States. Its curriculum consists of a character-building program for girls in the fifth or sixth grade, including at least 110 hours of instruction, mentoring, and group activities throughout the year. Discussion topics include friendship, love and dating, self-respect, decision-making, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, physical fitness and nutrition, and AIDS/STDs. The predominant theme of the curriculum is encouragement to abstain from high-risk behavior, including sexual activity.[v] A companion program for boys, Best Men, began in 2000. [vi]
To find out more about the Best Friends program and how you can bring it into your school, visit https://www.bestfriendsfoundation.org/BFWhatisBF.html. Regarding this program, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “I always present the Best Friends program as one of the answers to the problems we have in our society … it is a winner, and I know that many more communities will be embracing it.” [vii]
It’s Up to Us
It all boils down to the fact that good things will happen in your school if you become involved and make them happen. Most important of all, we as Latter-day Saint parents and grandparents need to teach our children and grandchildren the words of Christ and the teachings of our prophets regarding these important issues. Let’s be the first to arm our children with the facts. Let’s arm them with firm testimonies of Jesus Christ, “that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon [them], it shall no power over [them] to drag [them] down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which [they] are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” (Hel. 5:12)
As our children go off to school once again, let’s be sure to give them that hug and kiss and arm them with the guidance of the Holy Spirit by having family prayer before they leave. Let’s also remember these words of Elder John H. Groberg, “Family prayer is fully effective … only as we rise from our knees and, with increased love and understanding, take better care of each other.” [viii] Is visiting our schools and making sure our children are being taught moral principles a form of “taking better care of each other”? We think so.
[Gary and Joy Lundberg are the authors of the pocket-size guide for youth and parents, On Guard! Seven Safeguards to Protect Your Sexual Purity. For more information on the Lundbergs and their books and marriage/parenting seminars visit https://www.garyjoylundberg.com.]
[i] . Jim Brown, Arkansas Parents Uncover Volumes of Vile Literature in School Libraries, Agape Press, July 22, 2005
[ii] . Donald E. Wildmon, School Refuses to Allow Parent to See Explicit Sex-Ed Material, American Family Association, email letter dated 13 June 2005
[iii] . Bryce Christensen, Ph.D., Intolerable Tolerance: When Tolerance Turns Against the Family, The Family in America, June 2005, A publication of The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society, Rockford, IL
[iv] . Alexandra Frean, Unmarried Families Are More Likely to Fall Apart, The Sunday Times, Britain TimesOnLine, Feb. 5, 2005, https://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1471297,00.html
[v] . Melissa G. Pardue, More Evidence of the Effectiveness of Abstinence Education Programs
WebMemo #738, May 5, 2005, https://www.heritage.org/Research/Welfare/wm738.cfm
[vi] . Ibid, Melissa G. Pardue
[vii] . Colin Powell, https://www.bestfriendsfoundation.org/BFWhatisBF.html
[viii] . John H. Groberg, The Power of Family Prayer, Ensign, May 1982, 50
2005 Meridian Magazine. All Rights Reserved.