Thursday, October 7, 1999

Experimenting with children

        Here are excerpts from CDC sex education (labeled “Programs that Work”) that the Ohio Department of Education wants to use in middle schools and high schools:

        • “How to Make Condoms Fun and Pleasurable” — “Activity C: Once you and your partner agree to use condoms, do something positive and fun. Go to the store together. Buy lots of different brands and colors. Plan a special day when you can experiment. Just talking about how you'll use all of those condoms can be a turn-on.” (From “Reducing the Risk: Building Skills to Prevent Pregnancy, STD & HIV,” ETR Associates, 1996.)

        • Code of silence: Students make verbal contracts to keep everything said or written in the class confidential (from parents, too). If anyone is reluctant, students and instructors should “ through the disagreements until everyone can reach a level of comfort with the rules (and) ... until all obstacles have been overcome. Rules such as confidentiality are crucial to the success of the program.” (From “Be Proud! Be Responsible,” curriculum manual, Select Media, Inc. 1996).

        • “Practicing” with condoms: From “Becoming a Responsible Teen: An HIV Risk Reduction Program for Adolescents,” (ETR Associates 1998). Class activity, session 3: Participants are divided into teams , given condoms, a penile model, lubricant, spermicide and paper towels. The script suggests the teacher say: “One at a time, I want each of you to practice the condom application and removal steps (demonstrated by the teacher earlier) ... Your teammates ... are going to act like personal trainers. First, they are going to give you a round of applause and praise what you did right. Then they're going to offer some constructive criticism and make suggestions about what you could do differently to improve your condom skills.”

        • Neutralizing critics: Day 3 of “Training for Trainers” workshop, Cin cinnati, August 1998: Participants practice “marketing and advocating” for the programs with suggested responses (on video and printed handouts). To the “faith community,” say, “This is a complete program, we can't take condoms out.” Say, “These would supplement your church (youth) programs ... the more we can provide our young people, the better off they will be.” For those disagreeing with the teachings on homosexuality, say, “We present factual information, just as the church/family teaches religious values.”

        • The goal: Ohio DOE training in these and similar CDC “disease and pregnancy prevention programs” aims to prepare “up to 1,600 adults” to deliver these programs “to more than 2 million school children, plus parents, professionals and other interested adults ... through 612 Ohio school districts.” (Training workshop, Cincinnati, 1998).

        More information: Ohio Board of Education member Diana Fessler, who represents Butler and Montgomery counties, has prepared a 27-page report, on the web:


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