Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Mom Files Complaint Over Explicit Sex-Ed Book

Jennifer Swedelson told me she was shocked when her 10-year-old daughter, Kaleigh, brought home the book, "What's The Big Secret?" from her Oak Harbor, Washington school.

She said she started flipping through the book and noticed it started talking more and more about sex, until she realized it was completely too graphic for her 10-year-old daughter. She said the book was discussing "different kinds of touching" and "masturbation," something she felt was not appropriate for 10-year-olds.

She said, "I just thought the school was doing a better job monitoring these kinds of things."

I asked if she had any prior concerns. She said, "No, I just wasn't concerned about that kind of problem occurring because I thought they were watching for that kind of thing."

She told me the librarian told her that she tries to avoid checking out the book to young kids, but it is available to all kids.

Jennifer has filed a complaint against the school. She is asking the school provide more information to parents regarding content and availability of this kind of material.

The school district's response has been typical. It is what they most often say when parents become vigilant and active, "We have never had a problem with offering the book to students until now," essentially saying, "you are the only one who has had this problem."

FOX carried this story on their web site. I have linked it here.

Interestingly, I noticed that Denny Casey (or Casey Denny) posted that he grew up and attended school in Oak Harbor and was shocked. "I cannot believe," he posted, "the school would allow such a thing in their libraries to be checked out by kids of all ages. Not just 5th graders mind you but K-5. And they think it's OK?"

The rush to re-educate our kids morally and culturally has created a false sense of "normal" in public education. It is a new "Normal" that is often in direct conflict with what parents believe and what they want their children taught.

Jennifer told me she is certainly going to pay more attention to these kinds of things going forward.

This is why we encourage people to:

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Informed. Be Vocal. Be Active. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.

__________
Gary Randall
President
Faith and Freedom

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21 comments:

  1. When I read these kind of things, it makes me feel even happier I chose to homeschool my children. Sorry can not let my children be taught by the government. I am sad this little girl and other who were exposed to that kind of filth.

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  2. Just some facts:

    The book was published in 2000 and is geared to 4-8 year olds. If you go to Amazon.com you can find the book in its entirety on line for review. As you can see from the book itself, the synopsis, and the reviews it is not explicit but does have a focus in getting children to know the correct words when talking about sexual subjects.

    Although it is a 'sex-ed' book it isn't associated with any class at the schools in question, it was just in the library.

    Again, look at the book - the mother seems to think her child isn't being exposed to far more explicit (and probably wrong) information from her classmates at this age, my guess would be this is an erroneous assumption. Waiting until middle school to even have a discussion about the terms involved with the subject of sex is just leaving an information vacuum that will be filled by her friends and her own natural curiosity totally outside her parents control or input.

    Back in the 60's kids were talking about more explicit things than this in 5th grade, this mother needs to stop wishing her child will remain ignorant indefinitely and step up to the plate - if she won't tell them someone else will.

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  3. Perhaps the book should be flagged for parental approval. It gets pretty good reviews and seems to be an excellent educational tool under the right circumstances.

    Oshtur's right, the kid's interest indicates a natural curiosity and a vacuum to be filled. What a great opportunity for the parent to begin a factual and accurate education on the subject compared to what the kid will 'learn' on the playground.

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  4. Oster. You are an amazing person. I read this blog regularly and have not yet seen a subject on which you are not an authority. Yep, its the mother's fault. As you have diagnosted, the mother is "wishing her child will remain ignorant indefinitely". Stupid mother. What could you possibly know about a mother's heart?

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  5. Thanks Gary for always reminding us to be vigilant. Excellent example. The responses are interesting.

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  6. @10:18 I think Oshtur does his homework, unlike Gary. You don't have to be an expert at anything to look into these matters.

    And anyone who thinks a 10-year-old doesn't already hear about masturbation and sex on "the street" -- much less hasn't already tried it -- is in denial. It's best when this type of information comes from responsible sources, rather than peers. Parents who call this responsible information "filth" and who try to "shield" their children are the ones who do more harm than good.

    Which is why these books are available: Because so many children have questions / fears / etc about sex, and their parents treat it as a dirty secret.

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  7. 11:"27 I would disagree. I think Gary does do his homework. Because he has a different point of view than yours doesn't mean he hasn't done his homework. I read this blog regularly because his comments are so well linked, unlike some other faith articles from others.
    Are you then suggesting that the school is more capable in teaching children moral values than their parents?

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  8. This parent is just engaging in attention-seeking behaviour. I see no indication that Ms Swedelson was prevented by the school from inspecting the library collection for any volumes she found offensive and telling her daughter she wasn't allowed to read those titles, seems Ms Swedelson just couldn't be bothered. Schools, and their libraries, are there to provide information and education - something this book does very well according to reviews- not to enforce each parent's individual reading restrictions.

    Likewise, I find the idea that Ms Swedelson's daughter was too young to be exposed to this material to be laughable. The very fact that she found the book and checked it out shows that Ms Swedelson's daughter was old enough and mature enough to be asking these sort of questions. Given that girls are reaching menses at earlier ages (8-10 is not unheard of), isn't waiting until middle school to inform your daughter about sexuality irresponsible? Too bad for Ms Swedelson's daughter that her mother lacks the maturity to note this and have the "birds and bees" talk with her now, instead she chose to run to the media present herself as a victim and get herself some attention. And folks like Gary are only too happy to give her that attention, who despite thier rhetoric, do not support a parent's right to choose, but instead want to make the choice for ALL parents that this book is unacceptable.

    Hypocrisy.

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  9. mother in california12:29 PM, May 04, 2011

    I think Gary has done his homework, because he talked to the mother, first person. Why try to discredit Gary? He is reporting his conversation with the mother and his opinion.
    Should he try to make the mother feel some other way than the way she actually feels? So you think the book is good for little children and the mother thinks it isn't good for her little child. What's next? Should we have child services take the child away because the mother disagrees and prefers her daughter not read the book yet?

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  10. Donna in Denver12:46 PM, May 04, 2011

    Wow. Where have you been. Great first time read. I seldom see this kind of open dialog on a religious site. Impressed.

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  11. Who has final authority? The school or the parent? Should the school or the parent decide when and what the child should learn about sex?
    Spokane.

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  12. 12:25 When has Gary ever said he does not support a parents right to choose what their child should be taught? I read this blog daily. I have never seen that. Does the fact that Gary is giving this woman and her experience attention make you nervous?

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  13. 12:25 Do you really think this mother or any other parent must review every book in their kid's school library or they "don't care". if you believe parents have time to review thousands of books in school libraries you have too much time on your hands. Rather than saying she just can't be bothered, you could agree maybe she has a job and can't review all the books. Maybe she trusted the school too much. You are rushing to judgement on the mother. Shame.

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  14. @12:55

    Gary supports the right of conservative parents, who's views agree with his, to set the limits for what ALL students are able to learn, read etc. By it's very nature such activity prevents parents, who want their children to have access to age-appropriate material like this, from choosing. You only see the parents Gary stands behind, ignorant or indifferent to the rest. Nothing about this makes me nervous, why would you even ask such a silly unrelated question?

    @1:04,
    If one is truly concerned about your child be exposed to sex-education materials, how much time does it take to do a card catalog search and flip through a few books? My guess is less time than it takes to give interviews to the news media and right-wing political activists, and Ms Swedelson certainly found the time for that. While doing the former is more affective and probably would have taken up less of her time, it wouldn't have garnered her any of the attention she is currently soaking up, trying to make the school responsible for her lack of parenting effort. Shame indeed.

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  15. Should the school or the parent decide when and what the child should learn about sex?
    False choice, you left out the one that made the decision - the child.


    This book is geared for 4-8 year olds, they could go to the public library and check it out at 10, they could go buy it in a store, whatever - shoot many could just have gone to Amazon.com and read it on line. This child decided to check out this book and bring it home just like they could on a book about socialism, communism, cannibalism, Mormanism or whatever other subject some parent somewhere might have an issue with.

    Remember all those Zim Science books, little books designed for kids yonger than that with drawings of reproductive organs and the like in them back in the 60's? How much are we supposed to dumb down the education experience to accommodate the willfully ignorant?

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  16. The rush to re-educate our kids morally and culturally has created a false sense of "normal" in public education.

    The above statement indicates that Gary is more interesting in sharpening his fund raising axe than in genuinely dealing with an issue that may or may not be appropriate, may or may not be limited to this school or this library or whatever. The problem with whatever legitimate issue is being raised - and I don't have a problem with raising the issue - is that political hay is being made on a much grander scale - the desire to destroy public education - a primary agenda of the vast right wing conspiracy that is bent on destroying America and replacing it with a theocracy made in its own malevolent and oppressive image. Gary is certainly doing his part to "move the show along" taking advantage of what I expect are often well-meaning people to fund his own self.

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  17. My mom volunteered at our middle school library and was able to help censer books by reviewing what was on the shelves and making recommendations.

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  18. That's not a false choice, the child is a minor. I don't care who it's geared for, who made that decision? They should have their head examined. It's the parents responsibility to raise the child as they see fit, not the schools, the library or anyone else.

    Craig in Lacey

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  19. 7:50

    Would that be the people that are opposed to the vast left-wing conspiracy that says teaching 4 year olds about masturbation is appropriate, that the murder of the unborn is appropriate, that marriage isn't sacred and it doesn't really matter, that oppose those who would caste aside the values and moral principles on which this country was founded and prospered for 235 years? Count me in!!!

    Craig in Lacey

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  20. Craig, what does the child being a minor have to do with anything? Minors make all kinds of decisions - she decided to check out the book, a book that a 'minor' could buy themselves, check out themselves, and what ever just as they can do all sorts of similar things that their parents might not like (as per my previous examples).

    As you know from reading the book it doesn't explain 'masturbation' it merely gives them the proper word to describe the activity which every 10 year old knows about already.

    Again, if the mother doesn't want her child exposed to such things she should just tell her to not check out any books without her approval - should be simple since you seem to think parents have absolute authority over their children.

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  21. How is it that some people seem to think that as long as something can be found in a playground or on the street that it's good enough to be put in a book?

    If you found a live poisonous creature on the ground you wouldn't put it in a jar in the library for the children to check out and take home would you? Would you say nothing as to whether it is a danger to them or not?

    Doesn't this kind of thing come from people who don't know their right from their left, spiritually speaking?

    Didn't God make a distinction between the clean and the unclean in the Bible, using the creation itself to teach us that there is a difference in things?

    How is it that so many don't seem to know these things anymore? Isn't it that so many need to come to God for healing, restoration, and rehabilitation, so they can be free?

    God loves freedom and so should we. I believe America should be free as freedom is in Jesus.

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