You Won’t Believe What Sex Ed Class Asked 8th Grade Girls To Reveal

Sex Ed isn’t what it used to be, at least in one middle school in San Diego, California, where 8th grade girls are being asked to publicly declare – in front of the teacher and other students – exactly how far they are willing to go on a date.

It gets worse. The students were asked to stand under signs that declared for everyone to see exactly how far they would go. The signs read “Smiled At,” “Hugged,” “Kissed,” “Above the Waist,” “Below the Waist,” and “All the Way.”

It isn’t immediately clear why the signs are in the past tense – seeming to indicate how far the students have already gone with a date – instead of in the present or future tense, which would make more sense for a poll on how far the 8th grade boys and girls “are prepared to go” on a date. Then again, in all fairness, the class is a “Family Life and Health” class rather than an English class, so I suppose it’s plausible that correct tense usage of the English language is not within the teacher’s competencies.

Most of us have seen these kinds of questions asked in slam books and similar unsanctioned, student initiated queries into how far their classmates are willing to go. Most of us have probably written in them, trying to be secretive lest a teacher, parent or other adult get their hands on them. Until very recently, however, very few would expect to be asked by a teacher in an 8th grade class how far we were willing to go – and especially for 8th grade boys and girls to be asked in front of other students.

Maybe it’s old fashioned to suggest that middle schools ought to devote their time and taxpayer money to teaching things like math, science and reading – areas in which American students have fallen behind the rest of the world – but is it too much to ask that they not use class time to run a dating service that advertises how far 8th grade students are willing to go?

ABC News, who reported on the 8th grade sex ed incident, did not mention whether the class informs the 8th grade students who are asked how far they are prepared to go on a date that the age of consent for sexual contact in California is 18. While it’s plausible that a few exceptionally poor or disadvantaged 18 year olds might be in the 8th grade class, it’s more likely that most of those being asked to tell whether they’re willing to allow “below the waist” or to “go all the way” are closer to 14 or 15 years old – young enough that allowing someone to go all the way with them likely constitutes criminal sexual behavior for one or both partners.

The practice of asking 8th graders how far they’ll go while students are watching (and, for that matter, in an age in which teacher-student sexual crimes make the news regularly) was brought to the media’s attention when an 8th grade girl’s parents complained. The parents asked not to be identified – it appears they didn’t want to embarrass their daughter any more than having to answer how far she would go sexually in front of the class already had – but they had this to say:

“To put them up in front of their friends to be humiliated or to be asked questions that I believe are personal, it’s really none of the school’s business.”

The school district responded by saying:

“The parents sign permission slips for the class and can look at the curriculum prior. The purpose of the lesson was to open the lines of communication between parents and students about dating expectations.”

I for one would be curious to see whether the curriculum actually states that the teacher will ask the students to declare for all their classmates (and in an era of easy cell phone photography, the whole world) to know exactly how far they’re willing to go sexually. It would appear a lot of parents who don’t object to 8th graders taking Sex Ed just didn’t realize that what their 8th grade girls and boys would be taught in today’s classroom is different from the Sex Ed we all grew up with and hated – you know, the kind that encouraged waiting and showed lots of VD pictures.

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