By Linda Murphy, Oklahoma Educator
This is updated information from Mandy Callihan, a teacher and mother of a 12-year-old girl who was instructed in a classroom of boys and girls with the 7th and 8th grade using SHAPE –Sexual Health Awareness and Prevention Education curriculum. This was in Jay, OK public school in October 2017. I agree with Mandy 100% as I stated in my interview on KFAQ-1170 Tulsa Radio where host, Pat Campbell, a former teacher, and I discussed this situation and other education concerns. (http://www.1170kfaq.com/shows/pat-campbell/pat-campbell-podcast/linda-murphy-on-sex-ed-crossing-lines-tps-low-test-score
Parents in this school did not give permission or “opt in” to this program and did not know about it in advance. Every public school should have a written “opt in” policy for any sex education or other potentially controversial education programs which includes full disclosure to parents before the class begins.
As you will see in the information and pictures below, this SHAPE curriculum is:
- From a local non-profit – Lghthouse and Abundant Blessings Pregnancy Center
- Reportedly used in several other school districts in the Jay area in NE Oklahoma
- Probably provided by Federal Funding
- Being called “abstinence based”
- Taught by “instructors”, some of whom come from the Youth Ministerial Alliance
- Reportedly a curriculum based on a State Department of Education requirement
- Presented to boys and girls together, due to fear of non-compliance with “transgender” regulations
Mandy Callihan’s original post on Facebook 10-14-2017
“X rated warning”
“I’ve debated for three days about putting this on FB, but finally decided to for one reason: we still haven’t gotten an acceptable answer.
I’m so sick to my stomach over this, and I’m worried that there are a lot of parents that have no idea that this has been taking place in Jay Middle School this week (7th and 8th Grade). If you were aware of the classes, and the material being taught, and you are okay with it—then good for you (that is completely your decision, and I respect that). Jake and I did not know. Before I start, please let me get something straight: I’m taking my teacher hat off for this post (even though it infuriates the teacher in me also). I am after all, a mother first. So the following is a Momma speaking, and a very mad one at that……
Like I said, Jake and I didn’t know. At least not until Wednesday, when our TWELVE year old daughter called (in tears) asking to be checked out. She had just spent her third day in this class, where boys and girls are combined, and male and female instructors take turns “teaching” our kids about sex education. Obviously sex education has taken a huge turn since I was in school. My daughter handed me a workbook that she was supposed to be bringing home each night so that parents can continue the conversation about what was discussed in class. She hadn’t done that….and in her shaky little voice, said “she was too embarrassed.” She begged me not to make her go back to this class. After opening the workbook, I understood why. I was appalled at what someone in our school system had deemed appropriate to talk to my child about. My TWELVE year old child (who still colors in coloring books). In a room where boys and girls are combined. With male instructors (or female, depending on the time of day, I guess) who are not teachers (or Nurses) in our school system.
Her father and I were (and still are) LIVID.
Yes, Jake and I contacted the school immediately (the teacher, the principal, the counselor, and the school nurse) We were told that “pamphlets” were sent home a week ago letting parents know that they were going to be discussing sex education. We never saw a pamphlet….so we didn’t have the opportunity to get her out of the class before it started. Signatures for permission were NOT required, but you could opt out (depending on who you talk to, because we got different answers on the permission part). This “pamphlet” they keep talking about tells me a couple of things…..mainly that we have educators, and administrators, in our school system that need to be educated on how to properly let parents know about such a touchy and personal subject: 1. You simply do NOT trust a child to handle such an important subject on their own (ever), and then simply take the child’s word for it. 2. We have an amazing thing in our school: it’s called an ALL CALL, where parents all receive a call to watch for important information (it’s really awesome, and it’s usable for EVERYthing 👍🏻). Lastly, after visiting with some parents who did see the pamphlets, we learned that those pamphlets did not do justice to what was fixing to be talked about in the class. They most certainly did NOT say, “hey moms and dads we’re gonna be teaching your very young sons and daughters about masturbating by themselves (and mutual masturbation with partners), spend some time talking about oral sex, and anal sex (see picture of worksheet below)……not to mention, we’re going to tell the boys “that when they are going down on a girl, and it looks like cauliflower, you need to just get up out of there.” YES, that was actually a comment used during class (by a male instructor). 😡 That is NOT sex Ed. That is degrading to the little girls sitting in the class, and it’s teaching the boys sitting in the class that it’s okay to talk that way. Not acceptable, my friends…..absolutely not acceptable for twelve-year-old ears. Honestly, it’s not acceptable talk EVER.
The teacher said it was board approved. The school counselor said it was board approved. The school nurse said it was board approved. The Principal said, “HE approved it and there was nothing wrong with it.” Well, Mr. Principal, sorry but that’s not your decision to make about my child….feel free to make it about your own, but I’ll be darned if I’m going to sit by quietly after you made the decision about what was appropriate sexual language to use around my child. What you approved, allowed someone to assault my child’s little mind, and her innocence.
The three board members we talked to took the time to listen to us (which we greatly appreciated), seemed genuinely appalled over the material and language that was being used, and also told us that this was not board approved. They promised to look into the situation, and I believe that they did (or will).
The Superintendent still hasn’t returned our calls (after three days). The Principal also won’t return our calls to let us know if this situation has been addressed. We were told by a board member that the Superintendent was told to “address the situation,” or they would. We don’t know if it has been addressed, or what the decision was, because no one thinks it’s important to call us back. Even if the class has been stopped (as we’ve heard through the rumor mill), you can’t undo what was already done to these kids. Also, a return call (with an apology) to every upset parent seems pretty appropriate in this situation….that’s just basic common sense.
I realize not all children this age are innocent. I realize the statistics in our county, and our schools, concerning teen pregnancy. It’s sad, it truly is. But this?!? This was not the way to go about fixing that problem. THIS was an assault of MY child’s innocence and mind. It is just not okay.
And all we are hearing are crickets.
Crickets piss me off.”
Further information provided by Mandy:
“The name of the program is SHAPE, and it is my understanding that it is a federally funded program and it is run through local Pregnancy Centers. I have no answers in how the instructors are chosen, or what training/experience/certifications that said “instructors” may have. We were told that some of these instructors were through a local Youth Ministerial Alliance, which in my mind makes some of the language, (especially the inappropriate comments) ten times worse (sorry, just my opinion).
I will say, that there are parts of this book (I will send you a cover picture) that are typical “body changing” conversations that are not entirely inappropriate for this age group….it still should be left to certified teachers, school nurses or other trained medical personnel AND in gender segregated classes, and that is ONLY if the parent gives consent for their child to attend).
One new development: we have since found out that our Board DID approve this, last year, without ever looking at any material! They said, “the superintendent at the time recommended it, so they approved it based off of his recommendation.” Said Superintendent retired last year.
Even more, we are being told that while the program was discontinued this school year, it “must continue to be taught in the coming years, as per state requirements.” We were also told that separating genders is no longer allowable due to the new “transgender laws.”
I’m not sure where to turn now. I am saddened at what our public school systems are becoming, and this comment is coming from a teacher who adores teaching!
I have learned, through a lot of research the last few days, that these particular programs claim to be “abstinence based.” They use this term when presenting their program, and it causes most people to think that it sounds good. They are very deceiving at what they “claim” when you start researching all of these programs, aren’t they?! Even the front cover (and first few pages) look harmless enough…..just goes to show that you should never judge a book by its cover. ”
Mandy has a message for parents:
“I just want parents to be aware that this is either already taking place in their child’s school, or from what we are being told it soon will be. Sadly, there are several other schools in our area that recently adopted the same program.
I STRONGLY encourage all parents to reach out to their children’s school district and find out how they handle sex education. Find out what grade it is taught in, when it will be taught, and how the school will be contacting parents. Ask what program the school is using, who the instructors will be, and to see the material yourself. If you have issues, or are unable to get answers then I would encourage you to hand write an OPT OUT note to be given to your child’s teacher, until you are provided all the information, in order to make your own decision. Better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your child’s innocence.”
The following pictures are from the SHAPE materials used in the classroom:
This sex education program may not be new but the push to implement these programs has increased. Every state has submitted “New” state plans for K-12 education following federal “ESSA” Every Student Succeeds Act” which is the newly revised “ESA” Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This is an open door for aligning states to new models under the labels of Mental Health, At-Risk Intervention, Behavior Modification or Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Many new education programs, assessments and tests are being implemented in states nationwide for all students in K-12 grade.
In a growing number of schools this teaching is delivered online and even in “personalized learning” programs. The fact that students sitting at a computer can receive information which parents will never see becomes an added problem when the clearly stated goal of these mental health programs is to change a child’s attitudes, values and beliefs. It has become more important than ever before to learn about the specific education materials and methods your child will be using in their classroom. (Details of some Comprehensive Mental Health Plans for K-12 gr. are found in the links below.)
Mandy posted this two days after her original post, which of course, sent a tremendous amount of attention toward her and her family. I am thankful and grateful to teachers/parents like Mandy who will stand up when there is a problem that needs to be faced and put their children first. Thank you Mandy and Jake Callihan for your courage to do what is right for your child and for the benefit of other children and parents.
Article – All Students to have Goals for Mental Health https://lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/all-students-to-have-goals-for-mental-health-in-alabama-national-model/
Audio – Comprehensive Mental Health Plan for K-12– NAEP National Assessment of Education Progress psychological testing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdwaY8jHcHs
Article – Should the Federal or State Government Determine your Child’s? Mental Health? https://lindamurphyoklahomaeducator.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/should-the-federal-or-state-government-determine-your-childs-mental-health-alabamans-say-no/