More Details on That Horrible Sex Ed Class

Alice Dreger, the sex researcher and professor who attended her son’s sex-ed class at East Lansing High School and live tweeted the whole disastrous thing, has now written up the whole story for Dan Savage’s website. And it just gets worse and worse the more you read.

The visiting sex-ed presenter—let’s call her Ms. Thomas—started class by asking if there were any questions from last time. My son’s hand shot up. He asked her if her teaching of sexual practices was evidence-based.

Looking startled, she said yes.

“Then why are you teaching abstinence when it doesn’t decrease the amount of premarital sex and increases dangerous practices, including sex without contraception?” he said. He gave his teacher a copy of what he had brought.

“That’s not true,” she said. “You can look up anything on the internet.”

Seriously, that was her answer? Is she a teacher or some ignorant dolt in a Facebook argument? She isn’t a teacher, actually, she’s someone from one of the many abstinence organizations brought in to present on that subject because…well why, exactly? Can the regular sex-ed teachers not teach about that? In what other class does this happen in school?

But Ms. Thomas didn’t want to discuss evidence. She wanted to move on, and move on she did. The kids were told they were going to continue to talk about “stories of abstinence” and “non-abstinence stories that led to consequences.”

This is, of course, how people present a position when they can’t back it up with evidence. They replace evidence with frightening anecdotes.

And so we were presented with a visiting guy I’m going to call Jerry. Jerry told us a genuinely sad story of how he was raised by an alcoholic father and how Jerry got into alcohol and drugs at a young age. He hooked up with a girl “whose mother had put her on birth control.” But it failed, and she got pregnant. Jerry said that he and his girl didn’t tell their parents as the pregnancy progressed.

Hold on a second: Her mother gave her birth control but would be shocked that she had sex? Clearly Jerry’s lesson here—the reason he needed to drop that the girl had been on birth control but that when she got pregnant, they didn’t tell her mother—was supposed to be this: Birth control fails. It fails all the time. And sex is so shameful that if you get pregnant, you can’t get prenatal care. You have to hide the pregnancy. In shame…

But then—then!—Jerry met a beautiful girl he liked so much. And she had been raised in “the abstinence lifestyle.” He decided to put it back in his pants and woo her. He told us he “put her on a pedestal.” After two long, chaste years, he married her. And then he fucked her. And they now have two kids.

The lesson Jerry wanted to impart? This: “You’ll find a good girl. If you find one who says ‘no,’ that’s the one you want.”

He actually said that. If a girl says no, “that’s the one you want.”

Silly me! I have been teaching my son that if a girl says no, you exit politely and get the hell out of her space.

In another article about it, the two outside presenters complained that her son had “ambushed” them by bringing in studies that disputed what they were teaching. Ambushed. By evidence. That tells you pretty much everything you need to know about their mindset, doesn’t it? More lies:

Condoms fail 18 percent of the time, according to this woman. She said stats on that vary, but she went with that big number anyway. She told the story of a couple of teens who came across a box of condoms in which every condom had a pinhole leak. They knew this because they filled them all with water first. (They must have been super turned on!) According to Ms. Thomas, the FDA allows condom manufacturers to have a failure rate of 1 box in 400. You, son—you might be the buyer of box 400.

(Condoms do have a high failure rate—18 percent—when used improperly, according to the CDC, which is why a sex education class should cover how to use a condom correctly! Correct usage of condoms brings failure rate down to 2 percent, a lower failure rate than most hormonal birth control methods.)

At this point, it became clear to me that while this was not technically abstinence-only sex education, it was terror-based sex education. By now, we had learned that sex is associated with drug abuse, drug overdose, disease, unwanted pregnancy—pretty much every horror you can name except shingles and Lawrence Welk.

And that good girls say “no,” and you don’t want you no slut who says “yes.”

Lies, slut-shaming, ignoring evidence. That’s all this is. And it not only should not be allowed, it should be illegal to commit such educational malpractice in public schools.

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  • John Pieret

    the two outside presenters complained that her son had “ambushed” them by bringing in studies that disputed what they were teaching

    They already had been there at least twice. If they were scheduled to have another class, they should have taken the material and addressed the issue at the next class. If not, they should have given the kids the source of their claims and let them look it up.

    But, of course, they aren’t teachers but ideologues, so reason and honest teaching hasn’t anything to do with what they were therefor.

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    “More Details on That Horrible Sex Ed Class”

    I could teach a horrible sex ed class. I am horrible at sex. I could teach others to be just as horrible.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kevin.long.9887 Kevin Long

    So the moral of Jerry’s story appears to be that if you get a girl pregnant it’s OK to ditch her and the kid once you find a another girl, provided the new girl is both beautiful and abstinent until marriage?

  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka

    “Ambushed”, huh? I’ve done a fair bit of teaching. I don’t remember ever being “ambushed”. Constantly questioned and second-guessed? Sure, most every day. That’s the job.

    But these people aren’t about teaching. Playing the victim is a dead giveaway they are cheap, two-bit bullies.

    Where the fuck are the adults who are supposed to protect children from such abuse?

  • mithrandir

    There does seem to be a school of thought that we should indoctrinate kids by telling them tales that are so horrifying that it short-circuits their reasoning process and conditions them to do what the Wise Adults deem appropriate. The original version of this, of course, is the story of Hell, but this here is basically the same thing on the specific subject of sex with the Jehovah filed off, and DARE provides an entirely secular version for drugs.

    Apart from the toxicity of encouraging a non-rational approach to problem-solving, this pedagogical technique has a serious problem even from the perspective of its advocates: when it fails, it fails catastrophically. If anyone indoctrinated under this approach overcomes their fear long enough to learn their teachers were full of shit, they discard everything, including any bits that were actually worthwhile on their own merits.

  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka

    @ mithrandir

    Overheard at checkout: “Remember, Santa and Jesus are watching you.”

  • Phillip Hallam-Baker

    According to Wikipedia, the school mascot is Troy the Trojan.

    I really don’t understand why US educational institutions are so fond of telling kids obvious lies. It is the same problem with drug education. And of course there is the continuous attempt to revise the history of the civil war to eliminate the fact that it was all about slavery.

    Of course the result of this approach is to make kids distrust authority which I guess the folk using the schools to fight the culture wars consider a win-win. We really need to make it clear that these are lies that are being mandated by the right.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Apart from the toxicity of encouraging a non-rational approach to problem-solving, this pedagogical technique has a serious problem even from the perspective of its advocates: when it fails, it fails catastrophically. If anyone indoctrinated under this approach overcomes their fear long enough to learn their teachers were full of shit, they discard everything, including any bits that were actually worthwhile on their own merits.

    They don’t even have to overcome their own fear first: all they have to do is hear from ONE person who had sex and didn’t have his/her life totally ruined according to the script.

    The same problem arises in “drug-ed:” once the kids meet someone who’s tried the allegedly-horribly-dangerous thing in question, and got away with it, all the scare-stories start to quickly evaporate — followed by the “teachers'” credibility.

  • D. C. Sessions

    So what do we call the sex version of Reefer Madness?

  • conway

    I had my first sex-ed classes when I was a freshman in high school. We learned about birth control, condoms and STD. In a Catholic school. In 1973. From nuns.

    Of course they lectured that sex was a sacrament reserved for marriage , but none of the nuns were stupid enough to stop there.

    What the hell is wrong with public schools today?

  • colnago80

    Re conway @ #10

    Don’t blame it on the schools, blame it on the politicians who call the shots.

  • pixiedust

    DC @ 9

    Fucking Madness?