Empty elementary classroom during recess. (iStock)
A move to change Arizona’s sex education guidelines crashed and burned earlier this week after an irate group of parents, advocates and lawmakers descended en masse on an Arizona Board of Education meeting to argue against what they say is the “sexualization” of children, according to local media reports.
During the meeting, which was so large that officials had to open up three overflow rooms for those wishing to speak, opponents of the changes to the sex ed curriculum ran down a litany of complaints from pornography’s influence on children to demands that anal sex, oral sex and homosexuality be left out of the classroom.
The proposed changes to Arizona’s sexual education instructions were prompted by the repeal in April of a decades-old law in the state that prohibited sexual education in public schools that promotes a "homosexual lifestyle."
The changes suggested by a group including board officials and LGBT activists included removing the language from sex ed that bans the “teaching of abnormal, deviate, or unusual sexual acts and practices" and, instead, adds language that states sex education should "be medically and scientifically accurate."
The other changes included teaching children about sexually transmitted diseases and how best to prevent them and permitting schools to teach sexual education to boys and girls together, with the option of teaching the two genders separately still being permitted.
Despite the uproar, sexual education in Arizona is optional and parents choose whether or not they want their child attending the classes. Also, the Arizona State Board of Education is not responsible for creating a sex ed curriculum, it just governs the rules about what should and should not be included. Individual school districts and charter schools are responsible for setting their own curriculum.