Public School District Wants to Teach 8-Year-Olds about the 'Birds and the Bees'

As local school board elections across the country head into the final week, it may be difficult for those with no school-age children to totally relate to the passion, anxiety, and dedication on the part of parents in the midst of the struggle.

It may seem outrageous  to consider  that school districts charged with the functioning of a public school system are as seriously deceitful  or shady  as angry moms  portray them to be or that those moms who believe they are defending their children from a Marxist agenda are so contentious as to  be regarded as "domestic extremists" and a danger to American society.

From the Puritans' earliest days in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630, education of citizens was a priority, with establishment of the country's first educational system committed to public and Latin education in order to read the Bible.  It was no coincidence that Harvard College became the country's first institution of higher learning in 1636.

Before the American Revolution, Virginia and Massachusetts required towns to teach the basics as well as Latin grammar in preparation for higher education.  Not surprisingly, it was Thomas Jefferson, after the Revolution,  who suggested the creation of a centralized educational system and that tax dollars should be used in its creation.

By 1867, President Andrew Johnson created the first Department of Education with a budget of $15,000 and four employees for the sole purpose of collecting and analyzing statistics about the nation's schools.  The department was almost immediately demoted in 1868 to an "office" due to concerns of exercising too much control over local schools.

With the launch of the USSR's Sputnik in the 1950s questioning America's lack of science education, followed by LBJ's War on Poverty (1965), education funding increased to $1.5 billion along with more than 2,100 federal employees.  By 1979, the head of the U.S. Department of Education was elevated to a Cabinet-level role incorporating multiple agencies spread across the federal bureaucracy. 

By 2010, the DOE had 4,300 employees with a budget of $60 billion.  Today,  $1.15 trillion is spent nationally on the U.S. educational system, 92% from non-federal sources.  

While federal government responsibility in education has mostly been limited to Title I and special ed students, the states and local school districts have always made the day-to-day decisions about instruction and curricula.

In recent years, there has been more political support to extend federal ed programs into areas that were once the sole discretion of the states, like adding new classroom technology, after-school programs, Common Core Standards, new textbooks, new teacher qualifications, and how to teach reading.

As school board races across Colorado are down to the wire, the thirteen-page Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS) for middle school students in Colorado's 9-R District surfaced, to the panic of many unsuspecting parents.  Those parents were already questioning the district's previously unknown policy on diversity, which was adopted in January with no public hearing.  There is also a comparable survey for high school students.

Widely administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) every other year, the survey targets 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-grade students (ages 11–14) as voluntary and promises to be "completely anonymous" with its answers "kept private."  There appears to be no requirement for parental permission, so presumably, the parents may remain unaware that the student has taken the survey, with no knowledge of the invasion of their child's privacy (and constitutional) rights that have been violated.

Questions range from the mother's (but not the father's) highest level of education, identifying any long-term emotional problems, weapon and violence experience, details of consensual or non-consensual sex, all manner of bullying, threatening or "teasing," dealing with stress in all its manifestations, such as suicide and depression, all potentially addictive behavior including drugs/alcohol/cigarette/vaping use, healthy/unhealthy eating habits and physical activity, and whether the parents are providing adequate and nurturing parental care. 

Clearly, if there was any intent to prove a parent insufficient or neglectful for a Child Protection Services agency to step in or to cajole an innocent student to blindly follow authority, here is the blueprint. 

At about the same time, a brochure from Birds and the Bees for Youths offering "positive sexuality education" workshops for fourth- and fifth- graders was emailed from Escalante Middle School to its parents.  It should be shocking that a school district would consider it appropriate to offer a sex workshop for an 8- to 10-year-old child or allow such material to be circulated from an online stranger with no credentials or references.  The parent who contacted BnB was told that the organization was founded by the Unitarian Universalists Church.  How  9-R came to solicit BnB's brochure remains a mystery, even though there was a disclaimer that "The following materials are neither supported nor endorsed by 9R School District."

It is understandable when a parent's red flags are hoisted, as it is the children who are always the vulnerable — our most fragile and precious assets, who are threatened as they may be sought as participants of very questionable, very intimate, and personal attention under the guise of legitimate school related activities.  It is our children who may in reality be prey for a pedophilia network or exploitation by human-traffickers or a greedy Big Pharma industry, as Biden now plans to force vaccinations on the most defenseless of all: our very young children.

As the National School Boards Association has backed off its overreach when it requested an investigation into rowdy parents who dare defy a board that is more committed to being politically aligned than in protecting every child from every possible threat  — it is those school  board members who must be removed from office.

Renee Parsons served on the ACLU's Florida State Board of Directors and as president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter.  She has been an elected public official in Colorado, staff in the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender, an environmental lobbyist for Friends of the Earth, and a staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.  She can be found at reneedove3@yahoo.com.

Image: Chris Bede via Flickr, CC BY 2.0 (cropped).

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