How Not To Teach Sex Education
Not Your Abuser's Sex Education
As an adult, I was eventually required to design, write, and present a course for sex education to two group homes of individuals with MR/DD, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. The course was moderately effective for these men and women -- Our clients understood the majority of what we presented and asked some pretty good questions; no one made inappropriate remarks or laughed out of embarrassment.
I had been careful not to use a single element of the course my high school class was forced to endure.
The content and presentation of the "sex ed" material we received in high school was so abusive that it resulted in physical violence against the older female member of the teaching team, crying, vomiting, running from the room and receiving a detention, simply ignoring the presentation, laughter and chiming in with language even more profane than that which was used to us, increased student absenteeism in subsequent weeks, a few drop-outs, and a couple of parents withdrawing their youth and enrolling them in private schools.
Parental permission was required for the class, but had not been sought by staff; and a few parents had caught wind of the proceedings to come, informed the school that their children were to not be subjected to it, and were ignored.
In a cafeteria of 600+ students, chaos exploded. I sat there, stunned and numb and unable to move when I saw and heard the 2-hour presentation.
The federal government now spends $75 million a year promoting abstinence to kids, and fewer than half of the 50 States require any sort of sex ed be taught in public school. Meanwhile, every sex act known to man is three screens away on your kid’s phone.— Yahoo Parenting; 11-4-2015
As a prelude to my description, think about this - the administration was bigoted. They forced a light-skinned African American teacher to "pass" as white in order to keep her job. Think also about the talk that my class received at our "baccalaureate reception" on Sunday preceding graduation. We were told flatly and without alternative that we "would not make it in life." Unfortunately, by the 25th Year Class Reunion, not enough of us were left alive to hold the celebration.
We would "all fail, without an exception" - or so 600+ of us were angrily told. An abusive sex education class was part of that anger. It was a preemptive strike against anyone who planned to become a "hippie" during those end years of the Viet Nam Conflict.
The speaker was an older man and angry and we did not know why. Only in retrospect did we realize how unjustly we had been treated. Meanwhile, all of the mishandling of students was remedied for the next graduating class -- But for us, the damage was done.
On with the show in the Roman Colosseum --
Suddenly, we heard several loud voices of young men blaring over the intercom system.
Abusive Lies and Propaganda
We had never received a syllabus for Health Class and never knew what to expect.
I knew little about the human body and had never had pain or complications with menses (since age 10), or PMS, or any of the more usual experiences. I was told that menses is "just something that happens" and I still did not know what it was at age 16. We did not have the Internet or cable TV in that era, were not permitted to speak without raising a hand, our text books were ancient; and I was not permitted to date, to go to movies, or actually to go anywhere with friends or to have them at my house except twice to study. We did not visit the doctor unless it was an emergency. I knew very little except the profane teminology my mother used about other women - and she would not tell me what it meant. Totally in the dark.
I remember the first health class. We were asked one by one how we took a bath, in detail. Anyone that took a shower was cut off with the comment that showers were inadequate and the implication that only bad people took them. Several students refused to answer at all.
One week, our health teacher took us to the cafeteria and we saw that all the other junior/senior health classes were walking in as well. After the large group was assembled, the doors were closed, with teachers stationed near each one, and we were told to not speak.
Suddenly, we heard several loud voices of young men blaring over the intercom system. The voices laughingly and sarcastically shared with one another that high school and college girls are useful only for sex and should be discarded afterward, after one "date."
One voice shouted what he had accomplished sexually with various body parts of one particular girl, using profane slang terminology for most of these parts -- only the F-word was not used. Some of the phrases, I did not understand. Years later, they were made clear to me in better-made presentations in a college psychology course visited by the former leader of Hell's Angels motorcycle gang in Los Angeles and his wife. I was glad I had not understood those phrases earlier.
Regardless of the future, the shouting and sneering voices of male youth ended after 10 minutes. They were so loud that no one could be heard above them and afterward, we were again admonished to not speak.
The female team teacher next gave a discourse that hat we had heard was true for all boys, despite some protests from young men in the audience. They were told to be quiet and the male team teacher enforced that directive. Not much was said about girls.
I recall that the woman was between 50-60 years old and wore an expensive light wool suit with the jacket being a short-sleeved cardigan style without buttons. Midway through the class, she removed the jacket and took it to her office. During the rest of the class after several students left, she retrieved the jacket and found it sliced in half with heavy office shears from her desk. The woman was later accosted by a student from the class, but as far as I know, not permanently harmed.
Ancient Films Terrorize Students
Next, poster diagrams of male and female reproductive systems were presented and short descriptions given. The monthly menses was described, but the pregnancy timeline and features were not discussed. Some of the audience knew all about it and ignored it. Others were embarrassed and looked away. Some just said, "Eewwww." A few of the clueless shrugged. or looked bored. Some girls and one boy cried, but I think that might happen in any properly managed sex ed class as well.
Finally, the lights dimmed, a film screen was set up on one long side of the room, and a projector began running an old color film with no title I can recall.
I thought, "Well, it can't be worse than Signal 30."
Signal 30was shown in health and driver's ed classes until about 1980 in order to illustrate one result of unsafe driving. It showed complete carbonization (4th degree burning) of a careless driver that had thought he could drive over a railroad crossing as a high-speed train approached. He was struck and he and his car burned to a crisp. At least the corpse was dry.
By the time I watched the film with no name, I felt like that corpse.
The old early Cold War film began with a male's narrative that a young woman had gone to a bomb shelter and, while waiting for an "all clear" signal from authories, had gone into labor. The bomb shelter was a concrete block enclosure underground without light, except candles and flashlights and the film director's glaring lamp. The room had dark corners and looked dusty and dingy.
The pregnant woman was on her back with her legs spread and dangling in the air right in front of the lens, her unshaved and matted pubic area facing the camera. She had been having her first contractions before mounting the table, but I can't recall how far apart the narrator said contractions were. Suddenly, her water broke, with blood and other fluids flooding the lens, and partial scenes of the bowels loosing.
Girls and boys screamed and gasped, while others laughed. Some ran out of the room. Some had to vomit and one did not get to the exit door before doing so.
The entire delivery was shown in the film with the lens pretty close and aimed straight on to the action. I could not believe the slicing of the area between anus and vagina in the episiotomy. No anesthetics or other drugs were administered at any time in this documentary, at least that we saw. Perhaps the film makers wanted only that we think that none were used.
The baby was delivered and looked disgusting to me and I can't remember the rest of the film. All of the chaos and repercussions from student reactions mentioned earlier continued and finally died down. I emotionally withdrew and rejected the team teachers' admonitions that if the students had sex, the film's content would happen to the girls and the boys would get off scot-free. Actually, I became digusted with human beings altogether for 2 years. I just wanted everyone to leave me alone.
This "Sex Education Class" attempted to teach females to behave as victims and treated males as dangerous, criminal and perverted across the board.
I believe that schools should teach some type of sex education, but not any of the material or abuse to which I was subjected.
Comic Relief - Better Sex Ed Curricula
- Mr. Know-It-All Answers Your Sex Questions
Mr. Know-It-All is not a licensed Psychiatrist, Psychologist, or Sex Therapist. Instead, he has studied heavily at the School of Life and Hard Knock-Ups. Since 1999, unencumbered by University degrees or...
© 2009 Patty Inglish
More by this Author
Many teachers quit because the job is becoming too difficult. Some school principals and school district administrators practice micromanagement and insist on restrictive obstacles. Can we change?
Which phrase is correct in proper English grammar–"in person" or "in-person"? Is it an adjective or an adverb? The answer depends on context.
If you watch CSI and CSI Miami on television, you are watching criminology at work. Criminology is an important science in the field of sociology that can help prevent future crimes and help prisons become...