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Middle School Anti-Bullying Lesson Includes Lesbian Role Play
Apr 18, 2013By Todd Starnes
Young girls at a New York middle school were instructed to ask one another for a lesbian kiss and boys were given guidance on how to tell if women are sluts during an anti-bullying presentation on gender identity and sexual orientation, angry parents allege.
The special health class was held last week at Linden Avenue Middle School in Red Hook, NY. The students were separated by gender – with students from Bard College leading the workshops.
Parents are especially furious after their young daughters were told that it was perfectly normal for 14-year-old girls to have sex and there was nothing their parents could do to intervene.
The boys and girls were also given a sexual vocabulary primer – that included words like “pansexual” and “genderqueer.”
“I am furious,” said Mandy Coon, whose daughter was in the class. “I am her parent. Where does anyone get the right to tell her that it’s okay for her to have sex?”
Coon told Fox News that her daughter was upset by the classroom lecture and was confused about why she had to ask another girl for a kiss.
“She told me, ‘Mom, we all get teased and picked on enough – now I’m going to be called a lesbian because I had to ask another girl if I could kiss her,’” Coon said.
She said the school told her that the purpose of the lesson was to “teach girls boundaries and how to say no.”
“They also picked two girls to stand in front of the class and pretend they were lesbians on a date,” Coons said.
Paul Finch, the superintendent of the Red Hook Central School District, told the Poughkeepsie Journal that the workshop focused on “improving culture, relationships, communication and self-perceptions.”
He told the newspaper those were issues the school was obligated to teach under the state’s "Dignity for All Students Act".
The state law requires schools to create a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying, the newspaper reported.
Parents said they were not notified about the class or the subject matter.
“The school is overstepping its bounds in not notifying parents first and giving us the choice,” parent Tara Burns told Fox News. “I thought it was very inappropriate. That kind of instruction is best left up to the parents.”
Parents of male students were also upset after the college-aged lecturer discussed items like condom usage and whether girls are sluts.
“I was absolutely furious – really furious,” said the parent of a 13-year-old who asked not to be identified. “They were teaching the boys how to decipher if a girl is a slut.”
The parent said the boys were told you could make that determination by how girls dress or how many boys they date.
“We don’t judge people like that in our family,” she said. “We don’t call women names because of what they wear or who they date.”
The parent told Fox News that boys were also instructed to always have a condom in their wallet.
“These are just kids,” she said. “I’m dumbfounded that they found this class was appropriate.”
Coon wondered why the school district allowed college students to lead the workshops without teacher involvement.
“Those student were not licensed, they are not trained professionals,” she said.
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Sarah Bradshaw (845-437-4811)
RED HOOK — Some parents are questioning the appropriateness of an anti-bullying presentation on sexual orientations and gender identities given recently to eighth-graders.
Among their complaints: Bard College students weren’t a suitable choice to speak at Linden Avenue Middle School, and parents should have been notified in advance of Thursday’s health class lesson, according to Journal interviews and dozens of social media posts.
Paul Finch, superintendent of the Red Hook Central School District, told the Journal that the workshop focused on improving culture, relationships, communication and self-perceptions. These are issues schools are obligated to address under New York’s Dignity for All Students Act, he noted. Future workshops of a similar nature “may require more notification to parents,” he said.
Mandy Coon, a mother of an eighth-grade student, said she thought the district was infringing on her role as the parent.
“The whole thing just baffles me,” she said. “If they are required to have this course, why are they bringing in other unlicensed, untrained professionals — college kids — to teach this?”
Bard College spokesman Mark Primoff said the students were volunteers who were invited by the middle school to give a workshop on communication.
Effective in July, the Dignity for All Students Act represents the state’s effort to create a safe and supportive environment, free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying.
Finch said that Linden Avenue Principal Katie Zahedi and guidance counselors worked with a group of Bard students to develop the workshop, including role-playing on how to say no to unwanted social pressures.
In addition to learning vocabulary such as “pansexual” and “genderqueer,” the girls were told to request a kiss from a female peer, Coon said. Her 14-year-old daughter told her it was awkward and uncomfortable, she said.
On a Facebook forum for parents, Zahedi said the exercise was “not to pretend to be gay” but to practice saying “no” to unwarranted advances.
“In planning the discussion, we made it clear that absolutely no discussion of any sexual acts is appropriate to middle school, and they used the examples of a kiss,” she wrote. “It was a separate activity for boys and girls and ultimately about respect and safety.”
A public meeting was held Tuesday night at the school to address parents’ concerns.
(Poughkeepsie Journal )