A poster that is part of a sex ed program aimed at 8th-graders, but uses such graphic sexual terms as "anal sex," "vaginal intercourse" and "oral sex," ignited a firestorm of controversy at a Kansas middle school when one parent took his complaints about the poster to the local media — and to Fox News.
"I looked at my wife, we looked at each other and I was hoping it was a prank a student had pulled," parent Mark Ellis told conservative Fox News online columnist Todd Starnes. "I got furious. And I'm still worked up about it."
Ellis's 13-year-old daughter, who attends Hocker Grove Middle School in Shawnee, Kansas, snapped a photo of the sex ed poster which was hanging in plain view on a classroom door.
But not every parent at the school shares Ellis's outrage, even though the school superintendent responded by taking down the poster, which was part of a health and sex ed program approved by the Shawnee Mission School District, according to Kansas City's Fox 4 News.
So what was so offensive about this particular sex ed poster? The headline on the all-text poster posed the question, "How do people express their sexual feelings?" Below were two columns of text providing a variety of answers.
Some of the answers were innocent enough. "Dancing." "Talking." "Saying 'I Like You.'" "Holding Hands."
But those innocuous ways that "people express their sexual feelings" were interspersed with such racier answers as, "vaginal intercourse," "grinding," "masturbation," "touching each other's genitals," "oral sex," and "anal sex."
'I'm for it, I'm for the sex education course," said Jennifer Watland, mother of an 8th-grade daughter at the school. She said that she had received a notice from the school about the sex ed course, but it did not warn that terms such as those seen on the poster would be discussed.
"That is alarming, I`m not going to lie, absolutely alarming," she told Fox 4.
Her daughter, Lyssa, however, takes a realistic approach to the poster.
"It's just a poster, eye-popping, but it's better they show us now than later on," Lyssa Watland said. "There are kids honestly that are my age who are sexually active and they don`t know the consequences."
School Superintendent Jim Hinson sent a message to parents Friday saying that use of the poster, and the sex ed course that goes along with it, would be "suspended" for the time being, pending "a detailed review of the material."