Bozell Column: Parents vs. 'Public Health'

Why does it seem at times that our government and “public health” advocates think parents are a social problem? Parents at Hardy Middle School in the affluent Glover Park neighborhood in Washington, DC were shocked to discover that a sex-and-drug-use survey had been distributed to 12-year-olds in their physical education classes without any warnings or consent forms sent to parents.

The first words the children read were these: “This questionnaire asks you about sex and drugs (like cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, ecstasy, and marijuana).” Of course, they promised, “Your answers will not be told to anyone in your school or family.”

The mindset of these popsicle psychiatrists was evident right off the bat. The very first question was “What is your gender?” Two possibilities, you think? Try four boxes: Male and female, plus – “transgender (M to F)” and “transgender (F to M).” This was handed out to 12-year-olds.

The first report from the website Georgetown Dish relayed that the Hardy students were, unsurprisingly, “bewildered.” But the questions grew worse. How sure are you, the test asked, that you can “name all four body fluids that can transmit HIV” or “Know the difference between oral, vaginal, and anal sex”? The children at Hardy didn’t know about what body parts go where in these various kinds of sex, so the instructor apparently explained them in a way their P.R. materials insist makes every child feel “comfortable and respected.” 

Then it assumed these 12-year-olds were sexually active or soon would become active. They were asked how sure they were that they “Would know where to get condoms if/when you or a friend need them....Can correctly put a condom on yourself or your partner...Can convince a reluctant partner to use barrier protection (i.e. condoms, dental dams) during sex”? They also asked the children how many times in the last 30 days they’d used drugs like cocaine, PCP, ecstasy, and heroin.

Twelve-year-olds.

Welcome to the nation’s capital, where the D.C. Public Schools signed a contract with the activist group Metro TeenAIDS to engage in what they call “capacity building” to fight the spread of HIV and AIDS. They enter schools hoping to empower each child to “develop and practice life skills that he/she might not have otherwise learned.” (You can be sure they are succeeding!)  The survey and the program are titled “Making Proud Choices!” It’s funded by the federal government – to be specific, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

In the Georgetown Dish report, “Susan” (the pseudonymous parent at the center of the story) insisted neither she nor her husband had offered any consent for a program that went far beyond how they would have handled instruction in the “life skills” of their 12-year-old. Parents were not given the choice of opting out (as the Metro TeenAIDS forms suggest). When they demanded an explanation, the parents “were at first brushed off by school administrators, who told them that the survey had been administered following normal procedures.”

Apparently, the AIDS advocates and school administrators consider it one of their “proud choices” to go behind the backs of parents and promote “safer” sex activities before children have even made it through puberty.

What of parents’ moral objections? The Hardy Middle School response was simple: Drop dead.

Defenders of sneaky “comprehensive” programs like this would insist that in the nation’s capital where the HIV and AIDS infection rates are among the highest in the country, it’s important to determine whether pre-teens are developing habits that spread a sexually transmitted (or needle-transmitted) disease. Apparently it’s so important that they must go behind the backs of parents to accomplish it.

The D.C. Public Schools issued a statement expressing regret that Hardy didn’t send out its opt-out forms to parents until the day of the sex-and-drugs questionnaire, but the bureaucrats shamelessly declared in Bureaucratese that this test is part of an “evidence-based curriculum” to discover “students’ baseline knowledge” about sex and drugs to get students “all of the information and skills they need to protect themselves.”

In other words, they approve.

This isn’t just a big-city problem. In Helena, Montana, the school board just approved a new “comprehensive” sex education curriculum, but only after the most controversial provisions were axed this summer in the wake of national outrage. They included teaching first graders that people of the same gender can love each other sexually, and informing fifth-graders that sexual intercourse includes "vaginal, oral, or anal penetration."

Parents in America simply cannot trust that their government officials aren’t trying to circumvent what they teach at home. When it comes to controversial topics like sex and drugs, they’re designed to circumvent parental authority before they even plan to teach it at home.
 

Brent Bozell
Brent Bozell
Brent Bozell is the Founder and President of the Media Research Center