Sex education in Craven may be on wrong path

Four Board of Education seats up for grabs

By Patti Mason | Guest Commentary

Craven County Schools has a sex education class paid for by a grant called Pride. The Board of Education voted to continue the program with an ‘opt-in’ policy. There is also the standard class that a parent must ‘opt-out’ if they don’t want their child to have sex education. In the Pride-funded program, if enough parents do not opt-in, the grant will be taken away.

I have a friend who opted-out for their child, and the child was threatened to receive a ZERO. Mom thought sex education was a family decision, not a school decision. During the Board of Education meeting in June, a couple of the board members stated they wanted to review the Pride-funded program to determine if it should continue at all. Pressure is being put on the board to review the program.

One of the reasons we vote for school board members is to set the policy of the schools; to set the budget (also known as PRIORITIES of what will be done because nothing is done without money); and, to own the curriculum as well as do OVERSIGHT of the school system. In North Carolina, local school boards have broad powers actually established BY LAW (reference: NC § 115C-47). Also a Department of Public Instruction manual (NC Standard Course of Study) clearly states on Page 10 that the local school board should own the curriculum!

As stated, a couple of the board members requested to review the Pride class. I am asking for the board to review BOTH programs (Pride and standard) and to make a curriculum decision as to how much sex education should be in the schools.

I am going too far politically but want to be honest about my end goal: I don’t believe our children need to learn the different positions adults can have sex in, the different sexual preferences, basically how to have sex. I don’t believe our children need to learn about sexuality. They do need to learn about reproductive health – that is just part of biology! I am distinguishing between reproduction and sex – deliberately.

The question is: What is the appropriate age for sex education in the schools?

Of the two programs offered, both briefly mention that the one sure fire way to birth control is abstinence and focus on other means instead. We teach students to encourage them to learn more and experiment with what they learn, right? Well, do we want students to try sex? Seriously???

I certainly understand the sensitivity to alternate lifestyles (let’s take transgender); however, the number of that population is a mere 7 tenths of 1 percent of the population. You cannot teach about these lifestyles WITHOUT teaching about sex – that is the point of the lifestyles. Why am I mentioning this?

Because there is another entire community that is being overlooked all together and is much more important to me – that is sexually abused children.

1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse.” (References: Human Life International Web site and National Center for Victims of Crime website). That means 20 percent of the girls in the U.S. will be sexually abused as children. We teach as a society to those children – do not mention or talk about your abuse – that is bad and we don’t want you to be marked. Essentially, sex abuse is wrong.

However, we have these sex education classes that apparently teach children that sex is good and should be enjoyed!? I don’t know many ADULTS who can handle that dichotomy, much less CHILDREN. I seriously doubt a child can do so without a lot of major counseling.

What is worse, we don’t know who is being sexually abused until it becomes a major problem – so our school system MUST be aware of this and be cautious when picking curriculum – that is why I said reproductive health is a must, but is more than that really needed?

What are the parent responsibilities in this domain? Where is the dividing line between what the school teaches, the parents teach, and the religious organizations teach? That is what we vote for on electing school board members – to make that choice and decision.

This brings me back to my point – the school board needs to review BOTH programs and come up with the policy as to what the curriculum needs to be in this area; issue guidance for the school system to assist with development of the curriculum; and that going outside of the approved curriculum is not allowed. All this would be done in writing so no one can play the telephone game – where the message is lost when it gets to the last person in the communications chain

Four Craven County Board of Education seats are up for election in November. Learn the issues and what you are voting for, or otherwise you may be surprised.

Editor’s note: We thank Ms. Mason for her willingness to accept emails from concerned readers. Reach her at: