refuse sex ed-- a legal right? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 09-03-2004, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hi there--

I have so far been a homeschooling mom but will had a kindergartener in public school this year and I feel absolutely clueless. Do I have the right to refuse "sex ed" for my child? Believe it or not they start "AIDS education" in Kindergarten in my state.

Do I just say when I enroll her, "I do not want my child present in a classroom when there is discussion of sex or sexually trasmitted diseases."
??

Or should I put it in writing, and hand it to them when I enroll her?

I also do not want her watching TV/ videos unless I've been informed beforehand. Again, do I just tell them at registration or put it in writing?

I feel so intimidated by the "school officials" that I want to have a careful plan beforehand.

TIA!
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#2 of 15 Old 09-03-2004, 09:45 PM
 
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Wow, this hasn't happened for my kids yet (we must be slow up here in VT on this topic!). I think schools usually send something home beforehand don't they, to give you the option? It seems like lots of parents would share the opinion that you do. I'm sure you must be legally allowed to skip it on philosophical/moral grounds.

 
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#3 of 15 Old 09-03-2004, 10:00 PM
 
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Oooh. Good question. Now you have me wondering.
As for the TV, I know our school lets them watch a video if it's raining and they can't have PE/recess. So far it's happened once and they watched a Zaboomafoo video. That's the only time, though.
I am curious about the sex-ed. I didn't think I'd have to worry about it until Jr. high or something.
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#4 of 15 Old 09-03-2004, 10:06 PM
 
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I guess I would ask to see the curriculum before it will be offered to determine whether it is age appropriate, and I felt comfortable with it. If I did, I would let it go. If I didn't, I would send a note asking for my child's exclusion from the lessons. Also, is it a whole year curriculum, or a set lesson for short period?

I am one of those open about sex people though, so I don't imagine that my child would hear anything new...

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#5 of 15 Old 09-03-2004, 10:22 PM
 
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IMO, you should put *anything* like that in writing. Each teacher has 20-30 kids worth of stuff to remember and if you are concerned about something specific, you need it in writing.

Good luck,
Kay

 

 

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#6 of 15 Old 09-04-2004, 07:47 PM
 
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All I can share is what happens in our school district: a few weeks before sex ed is introduced, parents are given an information letter and pamphlet that describes the curriculum. We are also invited to view the teaching materials which are available at the central office. Parents are advised that if they do not with their child to participate in sex ed, to send in a note and the child is given an alternate activity.

I have found, btw, that the described curriculum tends to differ somewhat from what the teacher actually teaches. For example, for ds's sixth grade sex ed, the pamplet described all sorts of innocuous or important concepts--love, respect, protection from STDs, etc. But I sure was alarmed when ds told me that the teacher encouraged the boys to practice putting on condoms--these were 11 year old boys--and when talking about masturbation, (encouraging masturbation in order to facilitate the donning of the said condoms) said, "Practice makes perfect!" Yikes! Not that I think masturbation is a bad thing--but this type of instruction went a bit outside of my comfort level and there was *nothing* mentioned about it in the pamphlet that was sent home.
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#7 of 15 Old 09-04-2004, 10:47 PM
 
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T

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#8 of 15 Old 09-04-2004, 11:16 PM
 
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When my son was in elementary school, every year he brought home a permission slip a few weeks before the "sex" education was to begin. You had the right to opt your child in or out. I believe this continues through the middle and high school grades. I don't know if it's a federal mandate but I'm pretty sure all school districts follow similar procedures. They cannot teach your child "sex" ed unless they have explicit permission from you. If you are concerned, by all means ask an administrator at the beginning of the school year. Whatever you do, make sure that your decision is in writing and you have a dated copy.

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#9 of 15 Old 09-05-2004, 04:21 PM
 
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Why, thank you, TiredX2!
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#10 of 15 Old 09-05-2004, 05:36 PM
 
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What's wrong with AIDS education?

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#11 of 15 Old 09-05-2004, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apricot
What's wrong with AIDS education?
For a five year old? Are you serious?
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#12 of 15 Old 09-05-2004, 07:29 PM
 
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I second taking a peek at the curriculum. AIDS education for 5 year olds usually involves discussion of how you can't catch HIV: casual contact, swimming pools, mosquitos. Sometimes covers not sharing toothbrushes, etc. This discussion is especially helpful if any of the kids in the class have HIV or a relative does. I'd check before I got worried that they would be discussing sex and needles with little ones.
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#13 of 15 Old 09-06-2004, 01:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meowee
For a five year old? Are you serious?
I am. I can't imagine it involves intricate discussions of the proper use of dental dams.
I'd sure as heck check out the lesson plan, but I don't see the problem. That's why I asked.
I just don't assume AIDS ed would have anything in common with sex ed.

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#14 of 15 Old 09-06-2004, 01:52 AM
 
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Hmm, I'm imagining my dd at five having lessons about any aspects of diseases like AIDS. I know she's hyper-sensitive, but that sort of discussion woudl throw her over the edge. Not something that I feel is either necessary or useful to a five year old. Unless my child fears getting aids from a shared toothbrush, I'd rather the subject wasnt even approached with her. And I don't see much reason why at five that concept would have entered her head.

I feel that if children are actually misinformed or have a real need to know, then it needs to be dealt with and they need educating, but for the majority of five year olds, issues like these do not need to be broached at all. I say this havng worked with children who have lost parents to aids, and we certainly didnt go into details with the rest of the class. We focused on support for the family and the other children regarding the loss, not the disease itself. Even amongst these classes, at the age of five, the children really did not have the concept of these diseases. That came much later, towards the top of the primary years, not to five year olds.

I also think that some of the emphasis is OTT here on drugs etc. My friend's kids at the age of five and six were freaking at their parents over a glass of wine and even over a cup of coffee and the harm they were doing to themselves. I personally remember being terrified by a lesson on tabacco as a kid when we were shown a chart giving the odds of dying from lung cancer from smoking, even after giving up. I worked out that my dad only had a 50-50 chance of seeing me grow up, and had nightmares over it for months.

Now, of course, I want my kids to understand facts and dangers, but there is a balance to be kept between educating with facts, and frightening children with information that they do not have the intellectual or emotional capacity to cope with.
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#15 of 15 Old 09-06-2004, 06:41 AM
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I think it makes perfect sense to start talking to children about AIDS at age 5. By that age, many of them will know at least one person who has AIDS or HIV, and will probably have heard anxious adults talking about AIDS and AIDS transmission. Covering the issue in an age-appropriate way (can't get AIDS by by sharing toys, playing together, swimming together, etc.) may help a number of kids feel more comfortable about the issue.

However, in my opinion, the most important function of AIDS education in the early elementary grades is to help HIV positive kids - it's easier on them if their friends know that they can't get HIV from sneezing, or sharing toys, or from other casual contact.

If that's an issue in your district or in other districts nearby, they probably want to make sure all the kids know a little about AIDS transmission so they kids can handle the information better if they find out that one of their friends is positive or has gotten sick.
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