Elementary School Exposes Kids to Depictions of Graphic Sex Acts: School Board and Parents Blindsided
By Lori Porter, Parents Rights in Education.
On April 14, 2016, Portland, Oregon’s KPTV Channel 12 broke a story (later reported nationally) that 9 year-old students at a Rainier, Oregon elementary school were given access to “It’s Perfectly Normal”, a book using graphics to instruct elementary students in sexual intercourse and masturbation. The Rainier School District (RSD) claims that under the supervision of Hudson Park Elementary School (HPES) librarian Allison Dale-Moore, eleven-year-olds “accidentally left the books out” where a 4th grade class found and read them. School officials added that it was “an honest mistake”.
In an April 14, 2016 ‘The Daily News’ (Longview, Washington) report, parent of a fifth grader in the district, Darren Vaughn, said that “several board members were in the dark about the books” even though Superintendent Michael Carter had received multiple complaints as early as March.
The fact that 9 year-olds were able to access “It’s Perfectly Normal” on the school premises and that this book is part of HPES’s instructional materials has left many parents and guardians with the following pressing concerns: what RSD policy allows sexual pleasure to be included in educational instruction and which one sanctions school personnel to direct students to a book which depicts individuals masturbating or engaging in sexual intercourse?
“It’s Perfectly Normal” has, for years, been a contentious book as noted on the American Library Association’s list of America’s “Top Ten Challenged” books. The following are some objections cited: nudity, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group and allegations that it’s child pornography. However, the RSD approved the purchase and use of “It’s Perfectly Normal” books.
The “It’s Perfectly Normal” book is not solely used by the RSD, but has been present, for years, in many Oregon schools, often without the knowledge of parents or school boards. Parents’ Rights in Education contacted RSD Superintendent Michael Carter requesting information around how this book was allowed to be used in the school in the first place. Carter stated that “It’s Perfectly Normal” is on the Oregon Department of Education’s (ODE) state approved list. It should be noted that the Adolescent Sexuality Conference was also approved by the ODE and touted as “in compliance with state standards”. This conference indisputably exposed minors as young as eleven to pornography and other unsafe content. An increasing number of Oregon school boards are now questioning ODE recommended curriculum and training.
School boards have the right and responsibility to serve the parents and guardians of their district and to keep the best interest of their constituents’ children at the forefront (ORS 332.072). Oregon parents have the legal right to know what materials are made available to their children while in the care of the school (ORS 336.035; 336.465; 192.420; 192.440). Parents and guardians can contact their board members and let them know that a book such as “It’s Perfectly Normal” is not perfectly okay as part of their children’s education.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Northwest Connection.)