Sex Education Firestorm in NE Oklahoma
By: Linda Murphy
Friday October 20th, I was scheduled for an interview on KFAQ Tulsa radio station. We were planning to discuss the extremely low Tulsa Public Schools test scores and the very high salary of the Tulsa Superintendent. Just a couple of days earlier another education story had caused me great concern. A mom, who is also a teacher, in Jay, Delaware County, Oklahoma had posted on Facebook a picture of a page from the curriculum her 12-year-old daughter had been given in a sexual awareness class. She was rightfully very concerned about the material.
The radio host requested that we spend the first part of his show discussing this controversial curriculum. The program is called SHAPE - Sexual Health, Awareness and Prevention Education. It was used in 7th and 8th grades with mixed classes of 12 to14-year-old boys and girls. The disturbing material covered 4-types of sex, in this order:
1. Mutual masturbation
Does that bother you? I hope so.
The brave and very well spoken mom, Mandy Callihan said: “I was furious and heartbroken. Heartbroken because I knew my child had not been ready to hear what she heard and furious because someone in our school system made the decision that she was.”
That really hits the point clearly that should be learned from this. Schools, administrators, school boards and as you will see “Christian” community leaders should NOT override the authority of parents. NO ONE should decide for a parent when their child “needs to” or “should” be educated about sex and how that should be done.
Mandy Callihan said, “I caution parents to contact schools, ask when the classes will be taught and how they will be notifying parents. Ask to see the material. If you don’t get answers, handwrite an ‘OPT OUT’ note to be given to your child’s teachers until you see said material and approve. Better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your child. Don’t let someone force statistics on you. It’s your child and your choice.”
A disturbing element of this story is that a local Christian organization, the Lighthouse (and Abundant Blessings) Pregnancy Center, which also provides Bible study, provided this curriculum to a mixed classroom of 12-14 year old boys and girls. The director said in an interview following our broadcast that they use statistics straight from the federal government’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) as she tried to justify the curriculum, which she still deems “appropriate.”
I found that the source of planning and community approval for SHAPE came from the Delaware County Health Improvement Plan. SHAPE curriculum came through the approval of a coalition of people in both Public (local, state and federal government) and Private (non-profit, community based groups and corporations) during their county-wide Vision Planning Process where they set future goals for 2020. Page 11 from the Plan shows the SHAPE curriculum was endorsed by the coalition:
“Objective: By December 31, 2020, offer sexual health programs in each of the 10 school districts in Delaware County.
Increase the number of schools offering sexual health programs. (National Prevention Strategy-Reproductive and Sexual Health) (Healthy People 2020: Family Planning)
Inform higher risk population of availability of evidence based sex education curriculum (public schools, alternative schools, substance abuse facilities). (National Prevention Strategy-Reproductive and Sexual Health) (Healthy People 2020: Family Planning)
Support and expand the S.H.A.P.E. Program and other coalition supported sexual health programs. (National Prevention Strategy-Reproductive and Sexual Health) (Healthy People 2020: Family Planning)
Inform community of services provided by the Delaware County Health Department. (National Prevention Strategy-Reproductive and Sexual Health) (Healthy People 2020: Family Planning)”
The National Prevention Strategy-Reproductive and Sexual Health is identified as a source for each of the above objectives. That program is from the office of the federal Surgeon General. Healthy People 2020: Family Planning is the other source for each of the objectives and it comes from a federal government inter-agency group.
These are the coalition members listed in the Plan:
Abundant Blessing Center
Bridges of Hope
Christian Medical Clinic
Community Crisis Center
Delaware County Community Health Impact Organization
Delaware County Community Partnership
Delaware County Department of Human Services
Delaware County Health Department
Ebenezer Lutheran Church
Good Shepherd Hospice
Grand Gateway Area Agency on Aging
Grand Lake Mental Health Center
Grove Public Schools
Integris Grove Hospital
Northeast Oklahoma Community Action Agency
Northeast Technology Center
Oklahoma Health Care Authority
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Oklahoma State University Extension Office
ROCMND Area Prevention Resource Center
University of Oklahoma Sooner Success
The Lighthouse and Abundant Blessing Center provided SHAPE, which was based on curriculum developed by and trainers taught by the Connection Institute of Life Choices Medical Clinic in Joplin, Missouri. The Delaware County Health Improvement Plan, which included SHAPE, was developed as part of the service of the Delaware County Health Department and Oklahoma Department of Health.
The CDC is another agency which is heavily involved in this area of “sexual disease prevention” and works hand-in-hand with government agencies on the local, state and federal level including health departments. The Lighthouse Pregnancy Center stated that they use CDC statistics in the SHAPE program.
Federal, state and some local governments have agencies dedicated to pushing and supporting this type of curriculum and some local community leaders even in “Christian” organizations have the same mind-set. We must make absolutely sure that parents’ rights and their children’s rights are protected from forced education about matters that are personal and private. Whether it is sex education, psychological testing and training or behavior modification of any type, schools should have a written policy.
The policy should guarantee that school officials will fully inform parents of every aspect of a program before they seek to obtain the parents’ signed consent to “Opt in” to these classes, presentations or programs. Clearly school board members, principals and superintendents should look at all of the material and methods in advance of approving them for use in the school. We elect our local school boards who hire and fire administrators. They must listen to the public or they should be replaced, as Franklin Graham wrote following the national coverage that picked up the story from our discussion on KFAQ.
For links to pictures of the SHAPE curriculum; a copy of the Delaware County Health Improvement Plan from the County Health Department; along with10-20-17 and 10-23-17 interviews, you can go to my website and find the articles below which contain links:
Update: Sex Education SHAPE Curriculum in NE Oklahoma Schools 10-21-17
Where did NE Oklahoma Schools get the disturbing “SHAPE” Sexual Awareness Curriculum? 10-24-17
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