7th/8th Grade Health and Family Consumer Science Classes
7th/8th Grade Health and Family Consumer Science Classes
JUL 23, 2021 —
Update after the Central DeWitt School Board Meeting on 7/21/21.
First, there were some positive things that came out of the meeting. The district will now allow for children to completely opt out of the course if they feel that it goes against their religious views. To do this, the parent(s) must send a written request to the building principal requesting to opt their child out for religious purposes per Iowa Code 256.11.
Another positive is that we had a significant amount of representation from the community on behalf of the well-being of all children. We also had our State Representative Mommsen and Senator Cournoyer in attendance to support our children. The 282 petition signatures (and counting!) received in such a short time is a true testament to how much our community cares for our children. Thank you to all who support the mission to keep our children safe. Please keep sharing!
An additional win for the cause was that both sides agreed that children absorb information at different rates and agreed that we all understand the need for Sex Education in our schools.
And a final positive outcome is that the petition and school board meeting received attention with an article written in The Iowa Standard in support of our cause.
Some things that need to be cleared up from the school board meeting, as they were misstated and/or inaccurate include:
1. The pictures included via the link in the petition are indeed from the textbook purchased by the district. They have been updated in the link with the entire page captured so anyone questioning can see the page number and chapter title. If anyone would like to independently verify this, one can search for the book and see that they are directly from the book that was used for three semesters in our school district. The title is Human Sexuality, Diversity in a Contemporary Society 10th Edition, by William Yarber.
2. Also, it was not disclosed by the school board or administration that after the book was purchased, two chapters were “cut out with a box cutter” of the books because they were so extreme. Those sections were titled, Sexual Expression and Variations of Sexual Behavior (the table of contents for those chapters have been included in the images for review). Upon cutting those two sections out, the administration made a choice to continue using the rest of the college level-book within the middle school classroom. Many were asking how the book was purchased. Some parents were told there were only a few options. However, when researched with McGraw Hill, there are 158 options for middle school students under Teen Health.
3. Every image and assignment screenshotted included in the Dropbox link within the petition is factual. These images were pulled directly from the book used by these students and from Canvas (the learning platform used by Central DeWitt School District) where the teacher posted assignments for this class. The students were given the book to look through and completed assignments from the book. There is also a picture from the textbook that was photographed and posted by the teacher on Canvas for student access.
4. Another point missed was that the administration was notified 4 years ago (this was BEFORE the book) about concerns with the content and assignments within this particular classroom. They were alerted again 2 years ago with similar concerns. And for a third time, in December 2020. Dr Peterson’s timeline of events was untrue as he stated that the first-time administration was notified of a problem was January 15, 2021.
5. Also, several parents did contact the teacher. These parents followed the chain of command properly.
6. We agree that the teacher is very nice and likable. We know the students have great relationships with this teacher. Being likable doesn’t mean what is being taught is appropriate.
Questions we still have:
1. What specific changes will happen within the classroom?
2. Will the school board and administration take the suggestions presented into consideration?
3. Will the school board and administration look into the other curriculums that were presented?
4. Will abstinence be added as a portion of the curriculum?
5. What is the school board/administration’s plan to alert parents that their children were exposed to this inappropriate material so they can have the proper conversations that they didn’t get to have when their child was in the class?
6. Why is the school board and administration dismissing the fact that there were children affected and even traumatized by this exposure? Why won’t they acknowledge that there were children who had a different experience. Both sides of the room agreed on this.
7. Why was code 279.50 not followed for more than 4 years?
8. Will the filter be looked into in regards to the students getting past it for certain internet searches such “gross pictures.”
Let’s continue to get answers so that we can move forward and make positive changes for the children of our community. Please continue to share and inform!
Link to textbook pictures and assignments. Please be aware and cautious when viewing.
As a community, we are concerned about the education our children are receiving in the 7th and 8th Grade Health and Family Consumer Science classes in the Central DeWitt School District.
The psychological and sexual surveys, instruction, and lessons that include street terms for body parts, internet assignments, group work, sexual advertising, and overly sexualized philosophy, etc. are not age-appropriate for middle school children. For an educator to knowingly show pornographic images over and over to children for several years is a concern for many. While we do support appropriate sexual health education in our schools, the instruction that has been going on in our district is not age-appropriate in the eyes of many parents.
Iowa codes 256.11 and 279.50 mandate that the curriculum uses materials that are age-appropriate, and research-based. It also stated that parents will know what is being taught and be able to view materials prior to the course. This has not happened in our district for over 4 years. This is a violation of the law.
When parents tried to bring these issues to light at the school board meeting on June 21st, their concerns were disregarded. It is truly concerning and disheartening to learn that our elected school board members seem to be unwilling to learn more about the details of our concerns or acknowledge that there are children who were victimized by the messaging they received within this classroom. Instead, parents were told, “Quite frankly, kids are having sex these days, and kids are doing things we don’t want to think about. Let’s not put our heads in the sand and be all defiant about how our kids aren’t doing this and are perfect angels. Let’s be realistic. If they don’t feel comfortable coming home and talking about it, then there needs to be some different conversation about it at home. Maybe we need to look at ourselves in the mirror and not just our kids and not just our teachers."
We believe that what is happening in this classroom is wrong. Many children have shared details with their parents about the graphic and explicit lessons being taught. We need to stand up for our children and do what is right. We will support a Sexual Health Education curriculum that is legally compliant and age-appropriate, but nothing being over-sexualized. And we would also like the opt-out option for the entire class if a parent chooses that this is best for their family. We respectfully request that the Central DeWitt School Board share how they will prevent past philosophies and ideals from entering this class again and to give parents the option to opt-out of the class as a whole. We also ask that they communicate and be completely transparent with all parents of children who were exposed to any pornographic images or ideas that were not part of the Iowa Health Education Standards over the last 4 years.
We are asking that you sign this petition in support as well as attend the school board meeting this Wednesday (7/21) at 6:00 pm. The location is TBA. Also, please share this petition with others and encourage them to attend the meeting. We must stand up for our children!
If you would like to see some of the images that children were exposed to along with some of the assignments, click/copy and paste this link. Please be cautious as the images are very graphic.