Last year the dunderheads at Gilbert Public Schools (GPS), a suburb of Phoenix, thought they'd just tear the offending pages out of the biology textbook—pages that discuss human reproduction and the choices couples make when the woman becomes pregnant. One choice, still legal in America, is abortion, but the religious boobs on the GPS Governing Board didn't want that option mentioned as an acceptable alternative, so they were gonna rip out the pages that even referred to the procedure.
When news broke that GPS was tearing pages out of books, that didn't sit well with some parents. What's next, a book burning? So the school board backed away from that cockamamie idea and decided instead to edit the disagreeable pages, but then, oops, they ran into copyright issues. So now they've decided on something a bit less crazy—hence this sticker, which GPS required all students to paste on the cover of their science textbook:
Sure, "we encourage you to speak with your parents." We certainly wouldn't want you to learn about reproduction and reproductive decisions in a biology class about the human body! And we assume all students have supportive and knowledgeable parents to talk to, parents who know about contraception and STDs and new medical procedures and the entire reproductive system. Better the parents than a trained teacher using an authoritative textbook.
One alert reader at Talking Points Memo pointed out the main problem with the sticker's advice:
Textbook Sticker: "If you have questions concerning sexual intercourse, contraceptives, pregnancy, adoption, or abortion, we encourage you to speak with your parents." So do I. But those are the same parents who were ignorant enough to elect the school board. So you see the problem right there.
Gilbert is LDS country and its school board is dominated by god-fearing Republicans who are hell-bent on injecting their personal version of morality into a science class. Next they'll be pasting stickers over passages in geology texts that mention the Grand Canyon is at least six million years old. Truth is, the GPS Governing Board can point to state law
to justify their stupid sticker:
This [sticker's] language was taken almost verbatim from an Arizona law that states that schools can only provide support (financial or instruction) to a sexual education program that presents giving birth and adoption as preferred to abortion.
Arizona does not require schools to teach sex education. It's left to each district, but if a school does
decide to offer a course, parents must opt-in by signing a permission slip that allows their child to view the offensive materials. These crackpot state laws were written by the far-right Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), which pushed its "Parents Bill of Rights" bullshit in 2010 and keeps adding restrictions. CAP would prefer no
sex education anywhere, but if a school district offers a course it must favor abstinence and adoption over abortion, and teachers may not promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.
So we get missing pages and stickers. What's frightening is that it could get worse:
When reached by phone Thursday night, State Rep. John Kavanagh said he is concerned the sticker placement actually may not go far enough in bringing the textbook into compliance with state law.
Left to Krazyman Kavanaugh, textbooks wouldn't even mention man and lady parts because god or something. And he's certainly the "expert" to talk to about sex—a lawmaker who introduced a bill
that would make it a crime to use a public bathroom if the user "is not legally classified on the person's birth certificate as a member of that sex." He thinks about this stuff a lot.
Given that Kavanaugh is representative of the legislative goobers designing sex ed policy, you won't be surprised to learn that Arizona has the second highest rate of teen pregnancy in the nation. Even though Arizona receives a lot of federal funds for abstinence education, and districts are required to privilege abstinence over other choices, nearly half of the state's high school students are sexually active, the same percentage as students nationally. But Arizona students use contraception less than the national average; nor are they as well informed about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
But they can talk with their parents. The sticker says.