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Intentional Parents

Yesterday I posted about wanting parents to assume a more intentional role as their children’s catechists. Today I may expand my wish to include parents taking a more intentional role as parents. Our school district has a curriculum euphemistically called Family Life Education (FLE) to cover all those topics that parents should be covering at home but are probably not. This is where children are given formal lessons on being nice to others, avoiding drugs and alcohol, avoiding gangs, and everything the school district thinks they need to know about sex. Tonight my child’s school held a preview session where parents can preview the materials that will be taught and elect whether or not to opt their child out of these lessons. My child attends one of the largest schools in the county. There are close to 2500 students in grades seven through ten. These are the years the curriculum delves more deeply into the sex education aspects of the curriculum. How many parents do you think were there to preview what the school district is teaching their child about sex? Six! Roughly 0.24% of the students had a parent there to see for themselves what the school is teaching about sex. I would like to know where the other 99.76% of the parents are.

After reviewing the material, I opted to keep my ninth grader in the FLE lessons. They are taught in the biology class and deal with the scientific facts about reproduction. However, I will definitely supplement the lesson on contraception. This is a great teachable moment to discuss the Church’s teaching about marital love, contraception as well as Humanae Vitae. As I have said many times, it is my job to teach my children about sex. The tenth grade curriculum is another matter. This is all about the cultural and social aspects of sexual relationships. They pay lip service to abstinence but then go on to present all sorts of sexual behaviors as viable and reasonable alternatives if one rejects the virtue of chastity. I will definitely opt my child out of that one. He will spend that quarter in a study hall doing a couple of alternative lessons. Rest assured I will give him the same facts the school wants to give him but I will present them in the context of our Catholic faith.

I appreciate that the school respects the role of parents and offers parents the opportunity to review the FLE curriculum. I am sorry more parents did not take advantage of this.


Lynne said…
To be honest with you, if my child was in a public school, I probably wouldn't have gone to the meeting either but just opted her out of their indoctrination classes. I'm betting your high school has a GSA club and possibly the middle school does too.
Judy M. said…
I had a similar experience last spring with my daughter's fifth grade curriculum. The parent meeting to discuss the content was attended by only 6-7 parents out of about 50 families. We have a very diverse student population and I was very surprised that none of the Muslim families were in attendance. I doubt they would have approved of what their daughters were being taught in the co-ed classrooms.
When I questioned why the boys and girls were not being separated to view very graphic and descriptive material, too far advanced, in my opinion for their ages (and even embarassing for me, a physician, to see in a room of mostly strangers), one other mother turned to me and stated "This is just a fact of life."
True, but let me, her mother, decide when and under what circumstances she will hear these facts.
I decided to pull her out of the course and she was grateful I did from what her friends told her about it.
As her mother and a doctor, I am fully capable of teaching her the facts of life according to the teachings of the Catholic Church. As she advances in her education, I know I have to be more vigilant in what is taught in these classes. When I informed other parents what is being taught to our 5th graders, they were shocked. Of course they never bothered to attend the meeting and now regret that they did not go.

Judy M.

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