HELENA, MONTANA -- An overflow crowd jammed the Helena school board meeting Tuesday night to voice their concerns -- and support -- about a proposal to extend sex education to children as young as kindergarten age.
According to the 62-page draft proposal, beginning in kindergarten, school nurses will teach students proper terms such as "nipple, breast, penis, scrotum and uterus." Once they are promoted to first grade, children will learn that sexual relations could happen between two men or two women. By the time students are 10 years old, instruction will include the various ways people can have intercourse, be it vaginally, orally or through "anal penetration," according to the proposal.
"As educators and as parents and as communities, we need to be more proactive in helping inform our students at an appropriate age what the risk factors are associated with their own behaviors so that they can make better decisions about their well-being," Dr. Bruce Messinger, the Superintendent of Helena Public Schools, told Fox News.
The Montana Family Foundation is fighting the proposed changes, telling Fox News its biggest concern is teaching graphic sexual detail to kids who are not emotionally able to process or comprehend it. If the changes pass, kids as young as 5 will begin to learn medically accurate names for a number of both male and female "private parts."
"The problem is they think it would be age appropriate to teach different sexual positions and different sexual variations to 10 year olds," said Jeff Laszloffy of the Montana Family Foundation.
Messinger said parents will be able to have their kids opt-out, but Laszloffy said teachers want to have the same option.
"I think the reason it is such a concern is it tramples parental rights, it places government squarely between parents and their children," Laszloffy said.
Laszloffy said teachers are calling to seek legal advice about whether they can be forced to teach the information, and parents are threatening to pull children out of the public school system.
“Parents and taxpayers are not for this,” he said.
Tuesday night’s meeting was heated as school board trustees heard from only 64 of the more than 300 people who jammed the auditorium. More than 100 others stood outside the Front Street Learning Center as a sound system broadcast the proceedings.
Melanie Reynolds, a district health officer, defended the proposed curriculum, saying early education and intervention was needed to prevent HIV infection or other sexually transmitted diseases. She cited a report that said 40 percent of reported Chlamydia cases in county were people between the ages of 14 and 18, the Helena Independent Record reported.
Angela Helland-Hansen told the board that she was surprised to see that staff from Planned Parenthood were included in the committee that developed the document.
“Why are we allowing Planned Parenthood to help with this when they stand to profit from these people who will be their future clients?” the Record reported.
Two middle school girls said an abstinence-based program would be more effective to reduce teen pregnancy and disease than what is being proposed, the newspaper reported. There currently is no sexual education being taught in middle school.
Fox News’ Alicia Acuna and the Helena Independent Record contributed to this report. You can read more at http://helenair.com/news/article_e64bbc32-8f0f-11df-acbd-001cc4c002e0.html
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