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Old 02-02-2006, 11:59 AM   #1
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Sex Ed Raises Eyebrows

Quote:
Kings Park sex ed raises eyebrows

Many parents object to program's graphic nature, kids' ages, and fact it was taught to boys, girls together

BY CHRISTINE ARMARIO
STAFF WRITER

February 1, 2006

KINGS PARK, NY - A demonstration of an opened tampon held up against a model of the female anatomy to show Kings Park fifth-grade boys and girls how feminine hygiene products work as part of their lesson on puberty has angered a number of parents and sparked a debate within the community.

The presentation, given to some 350 students - boys and girls seated together - at the RJO Intermediate School last week, has divided parents on an ideology the school district inherently adopted with the program: that at 10 years old, students should be explained things they hear about on the playground anyway.

Rosemary Molaro, whose son attended the program, said she was flabbergasted when her son came home and told her, "I know exactly what you do with that thing in the bathroom with the string attached to it."

"I was caught off guard," said Molaro, who was unaware that the assembly was taking place. "I just turned completely red."

Molaro was among a number of parents who have expressed concerns about the presentation. They cite its graphic nature, the age of the students and the fact that boys and girls watched it together.

But the Kings Park Central School District is defending its choice for the program, saying it is a better option than the video shown to children in previous years and that presenter Andy Rosenberg's mother, Ellen Rosenberg, developed the program over 20 years and has gotten many good reviews.

"It develops some real respect," Superintendent Mary DeRose said of the presentation. "We're both dealing with issues about maturing. Let's not make fun of one another. There was a really good message, I thought."

Many of the parents agree with the district. "We don't live in a vacuum," said Michelle Stein, parent of a son at the school. "He needed to know this is scientific information, not just what he hears."

But others, who plan to raise their concerns at the upcoming Board of Education meeting, say they were misinformed about the program's content, and object to Rosenberg's qualifications. Though he has taught children for 18 years, he does not hold any degrees in education or health.

DeRose said there are no district guidelines for a presenter's qualifications, or for the content of the fifth-grade program. The state has no requirement for public schools to teach sex education.

"We don't know who he is," said Gina Sicoli, whose son was only allowed to attend the first part of the two-day program last Wednesday and Thursday.

Rosenberg, a ski instructor during the winter, and who last night was in Inwood briefing parents about his upcoming presentation to students there, said the information is basic enough. "What really makes the program so effective and unique is the way the material is presented - the atmosphere created, the trust that's created and making kids comfortable."

The school district sent out a questionnaire to parents on Monday, asking them things like whether boys and girls should be taught together and if the program should be offered after school instead. If the district finds many objections, officials said they may readjust the program.
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/lo...tory?track=rss
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Old 02-02-2006, 12:07 PM   #2
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boys should know nothing about how the female anatomy works. it's better to remain ignorant.
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Old 02-02-2006, 12:14 PM   #3
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Originally posted by Irvine511
boys should know nothing about how the female anatomy works. it's better to remain ignorant.
I'm not sure this is about what is taught, but how it is taught.

The maturity levels of boys and girls at this age does not lend itself to optimal teaching situations when both are present for such classes.

The program should be tweaked so the children get the best possible educational experience.
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Old 02-02-2006, 12:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
The maturity levels of boys and girls at this age does not lend itself to optimal teaching situations when both are present for such classes.
I'm not saying I necessarily disagree with that, but that was also a pre-coed statement made about math and English.
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Old 02-02-2006, 12:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


I'm not sure this is about what is taught, but how it is taught.

The maturity levels of boys and girls at this age does not lend itself to optimal teaching situations when both are present for such classes.

The program should be tweaked so the children get the best possible educational experience.


i do take the point that girls at 10 or 11 are more mature than boys, but i think dividing up the sexes for sex education is a huge, huge mistake, no matter the age. kids need knowledge, of both how their bodies work and how the bodies of the opposite sex work. this really is nothing more than an anatomy lesson, and why deny access to 50% of the material on the basis of gender?
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Old 02-02-2006, 12:47 PM   #6
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I can not see any reason why 5th grade boys need this information?


I can understand parents being upset.
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Old 02-02-2006, 12:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by deep
I can not see any reason why 5th grade boys need this information?


I can understand parents being upset.


these days, girls get their periods in 5th and 6th grade.

why should boys be kept in the dark?

to my mind, this is the beginning of misogyny. ignorance, starting with the female body.
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Old 02-02-2006, 12:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by deep
I can not see any reason why 5th grade boys need this information?


I can understand parents being upset.
Because that's what 5th grade girls are experiencing.

The basis of mutual respect is mutual understanding.
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Old 02-02-2006, 12:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
i do take the point that girls at 10 or 11 are more mature than boys, but i think dividing up the sexes for sex education is a huge, huge mistake, no matter the age. kids need knowledge, of both how their bodies work and how the bodies of the opposite sex work. this really is nothing more than an anatomy lesson, and why deny access to 50% of the material on the basis of gender?
Again, separation of the genders does not mean a division of the material. Both should learn all the material.

If it can be shown that children learn this subject better when done as two separate classes, is it reasonable to teach it in that format?
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Old 02-02-2006, 12:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


Again, separation of the genders does not mean a division of the material. Both should learn all the material.

If it can be shown that children learn this subject better when done as two separate classes, is it reasonable to teach it in that format?


i suppose i'm wary of separating genders at any point, especially when it comes to sex ed. you're already creating barriers between the genders that will only be exacerbated throughout puberty. i remember when i was in 5th and 6th grade in 1988-1990 the teacher saying that they used to divide up the genders for sex ed -- the boys would go with the male teacher and talk about taking showers and using deodorant on a regular basis and some talk about nocturnal emissions, and the girls would go with the school nurse and get books and pamphlets, and then at recess the boys would chace after the girls and try to steal the books.

once you start the division, you're creating the perception that the other class is learning something that you are not, for why else separate them?
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Old 02-02-2006, 01:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by AliEnvy


Because that's what 5th grade girls are experiencing.

The basis of mutual respect is mutual understanding.
I can accept your answer.



The fact you would be fine with it
does not mean parents should not be notifed first.
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Old 02-02-2006, 01:07 PM   #12
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I think parents should have the ultimate determination regarding how and what their kids are taught about bodily functions and sex. But I also agree that boys need to learn that a period is a natural function and how that all works-then maybe you wouldn't have some grown men who have no respect for it and can't deal with it (these men exist, I know/have known them). And starting w/ kids so they don't get uncomfortable or "giggly" or whatever about it might help. It's a tampon, it goes there. As long as that is combined with teaching respect and it is taught in a respectful manner, what is the problem?

I wonder how many girls are never talked to by their mothers and fathers about menstruation before it starts. And how many ever discuss it with boys?

Knowledge IS power and can create respect. I do agree that parents should be told everything that is going on in these classes.
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Old 02-02-2006, 01:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
i suppose i'm wary of separating genders at any point, especially when it comes to sex ed. you're already creating barriers between the genders that will only be exacerbated throughout puberty. i remember when i was in 5th and 6th grade in 1988-1990 the teacher saying that they used to divide up the genders for sex ed -- the boys would go with the male teacher and talk about taking showers and using deodorant on a regular basis and some talk about nocturnal emissions, and the girls would go with the school nurse and get books and pamphlets, and then at recess the boys would chace after the girls and try to steal the books.

once you start the division, you're creating the perception that the other class is learning something that you are not, for why else separate them?
I guess we need to balance the fear of a perception against any measured improvement in education. As alluded to earlier, there are studies which show that both boys and girls learn some subjects better when in non-mixed classes.

Does this mean full separation? No. But if one subject (here, sex education) is worth teaching, is it worth teaching well?
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Old 02-02-2006, 01:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader

If it can be shown that children learn this subject better when done as two separate classes, is it reasonable to teach it in that format?
Absolutely.

I just have my doubts whether that can be shown to be true.

If the assumption that they will learn better separately is based on their anxiety or discomfort or shyness at exploring and questioning the material in front of the opposite sex, then perhaps a learning environment that is fostered in the class that addresses those discomforts/barriers and creates a level playing field would be ideal.
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Old 02-02-2006, 01:18 PM   #15
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I was raised by my grandparents. The only thing they ever taught me about sex was that I'd better not be doing it. If it wasn't for the cheesy sex ed class we had in our school I would have never learned anything. Our class was segregated.
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Old 02-02-2006, 01:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


I guess we need to balance the fear of a perception against any measured improvement in education. As alluded to earlier, there are studies which show that both boys and girls learn some subjects better when in non-mixed classes.

Does this mean full separation? No. But if one subject (here, sex education) is worth teaching, is it worth teaching well?


there's a whole ot of "what if" statements above. and it's really a stretch to take "studies" and then apply those findings to this specific situation.

as a rule, i am not a fan of gender segregation. in my mind, it brings out the absolute worst traits in both genders, and it turns the opposite gender into potential dates instead of actual people. of course it can be good for some people, and i have no problems with private schools being gender-segregated, but it is not something i would advocate unless on a case-by-case basis.

however, as pertains to this subject, i think that, due to it being about gender and sexuality and, more importantly at this age, biology and anatomy, that separation of the genders will do much more to increase ignorance and ... the word isn't quite "fetishize" but more like create more barriers and mysteries between boys and girls that, down the line, will have negative consequences.
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Old 02-02-2006, 01:54 PM   #17
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i always thought sex-ed should actually teach people how to have sex. it's obvious that we can't prevent these younglings from "doing it", so we might as well give them some tips.
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Old 02-02-2006, 01:57 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
as a rule, i am not a fan of gender segregation. in my mind, it brings out the absolute worst traits in both genders, and it turns the opposite gender into potential dates instead of actual people. of course it can be good for some people, and i have no problems with private schools being gender-segregated, but it is not something i would advocate unless on a case-by-case basis.

however, as pertains to this subject, i think that, due to it being about gender and sexuality and, more importantly at this age, biology and anatomy, that separation of the genders will do much more to increase ignorance and ... the word isn't quite "fetishize" but more like create more barriers and mysteries between boys and girls that, down the line, will have negative consequences.
Are there studies that show these consequences of gender separation?
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Old 02-02-2006, 02:04 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by mikal
i always thought sex-ed should actually teach people how to have sex. it's obvious that we can't prevent these younglings from "doing it", so we might as well give them some tips.
we are already behind in math and science

do we want Americans to
get behind
in sex
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Old 02-02-2006, 02:05 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


Are there studies that show these consequences of gender separation?
not particular to sex ed, but there are studies that show that girls learn more and perform better on tests when seperated.

thank god my school at least taught me about menstration because all my mother told me was that i'd have to stay away from boys once "that" started

why can't they learn about the other gender in a seperate room where they might be more comfortable asking questions.
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