East Lansing Fixing Sex Ed Problems

You may recall a few months ago when a professor sat in on her son’s sex education class at East Lansing High School and live-tweeted the appalling lies being taught by an outside group of Christian right ideologues hired to help teach the course. The school is now apparently going to change that.

East Lansing schools will suspend the use of an outside contractor who helped teach the district’s sex education curriculum.

The vote Monday came three months after the district came under fire for its sex education curriculum at the high school, which has an abstinence-only component taught by a group called Sexually Mature Aware Responsible Teens, or SMART, which is affiliated with Pregnancy Services of Greater Lansing. The pregnancy center counsels women to avoid abortions…

Breeann Anderson was one of two parents who were appointed Monday to chair the sexual health advisory board, and said she welcomed the change.

“I am glad the board recognized the need to take action and see to the needs of the students,” Anderson said. “We can now move forward and put into the hands of our students and teachers some updated, medically accurate sexual health information which respects and reflects the community’s needs.”

School board President Nell Kuhnmuench said the curriculum will now be handled by trained teachers.

But it’s the content that really matters, not who delivers it. I was shocked that this was going on at East Lansing, of all places. That is a school full of children whose parents are professors at Michigan State University and East Lansing is a very progressive community (first in the nation to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance that included sexual orientation, for example). It sounds like they’re waking up to what was going on and taking the right steps to make sure what is taught in sex education is accurate.

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  • colnago80

    What are they doing about the school board who, presumably, hired these miscreants in the first place?

  • D. C. Sessions

    It’s always important to bear in mind that the process for electing school boards is practically designed to select prudes. Unpaid, low-profile, often inconvenient meeting schedules, etc. You get a lot of people who either have time to spare or obsessive concern for a single issue (or both.) The elections are often held alone, drawing voters who are also fixated on a single issue in a low-turnout election.

    And that single issue is either religion or sex. Usually both.

    I can remember my mother (no liberal) forty years ago ranting about a school board member whose only interest on the Board was her frequent interjection of “No sex education!” Didn’t matter if the subject was mathematics texts; the very mention of “multiplication” was enough to set her off. From friends over the years it seems that every school board has at one like her.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    Alice Dreger, bioethicist at NU Feinberg medical school & 1 of my favorite people. She’s gotten into quite few skirmishes in support of honesty & academic freedom. Need more like her in academia.

    She just published a book worth reading, Gallileo’s Middle Finger.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    which has an abstinence-only component taught by a group called Sexually Mature Aware Responsible Teens, or SMART

    Ironically, the actual acronym is PREGNANT.




  • eric

    But it’s the content that really matters, not who delivers it.

    Yeah exactly. I don’t have a problem with the board hiring some outside expert group to come in and teach sex ed. That’s in theory a better process than, say, just telling the gym teacher to do it as an extra duty. What I have a problem with is the specific group they hired and what that group actually taught. Their vetting process obviously needs to include some close review of the curriculum proposed by the contractor and some in-depth questioning of what approach they intend to take. As well as some legalese that says if the contractor lies about what they plan on teaching, they don’t get paid.

  • NitricAcid

    I was actually expecting you to say that they had fixed it by passing a rule forbidding parents to attend sex ed lessons.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    Actually, Alice Dreger was banned from the school’s campus, though I don’t know if the ban has been lifted.

  • carpenterman

    So now some pinko hippie commie types are gonna come in with their LIBERAL AGENDA and turn all these poor kids gay and hand out condoms and free needles for all the heroin they’re gonna teach these kids to get hooked on and the kids will turn ATHEIST and SATANIST and MUSLIM and they’ll

  • carpenterman

    Hooo… sorry, sorry, got a little exited there.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    7 was response to 6

  • freehand

    For folks who wonder about who hired this group, I suggest that these folks are getter very good at:

    1. Finding the handful of individuals, or single individual, in a city council, school board, company management, etc, who are sympathetic to their cause.

    2. Misrepresenting themselves to reasonable and decent people. For a recent example, look at how Planned Parenthood was recently caught in a heavily edited video of a PP official who didn’t realize that his conversation was with religious fanatics and not the medical group they pretended to be.


    The school board is not necessarily responsible for this.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    What are they doing about the school board who, presumably, hired these miscreants in the first place?

    Nuke ’em!