Are you kidding me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? A high school biology teacher in Idaho is under fire for teaching, straight out of the textbook, a lesson in human reproduction that included the word “vagina.” According to local news report, four parents were “offended” that veteran science teacher Tim McDaniel explained the biology of orgasm and used the word “vagina” in a tenth-grade biology class.
“I teach straight out of the textbook, I don’t include anything that the textbook doesn’t mention,” Mr. McDaniel told a reporter for southern Idaho’s Times-News. “But I give every student the option not attend this class when I teach on the reproductive system if they don’t feel comfortable with the material.”
Mr. McDaniel, who has taught high school science at Dietrich School, in Dietrich, Idaho, for 18 years, is now under investigation by both his local school board and Idaho’s professional standards commission.
Mr. McDaniel said the commission is also investigating a complaint that he used school property “to promote a political candidate,” because he showed his class the film An Inconvenient Truth, which is about climate change. Mr. McDaniel said he uses the film to spark discussion and debate among his students, who are asked to write a response paper explaining their thoughts on climate change.
“I’m not looking for one answer, I just want them to be able to explain what they believe,” he told the News-Times.
First of all, if your tenth-grade child doesn’t already know what a vagina is, you really have some ‘splaining to do. Also, I’m really not sure how you could possibly teach human reproduction, or for that matter, reproduction of almost anything other than plants, and not use the word vagina.
Further, he explained the biology of orgasm, he didn’t instruct these kids on how to enjoy foreplay or something. He taught it out of a textbook, which presumably these parents could have skimmed through at the start of the school year if they really cared about what their kids were learning. Really, if you’re going to get your panties in a wad about your kid’s curriculum, you should take the time to find out what the curriculum is before your kid is exposed to the horror of scientific facts. It’s clear that the students had the opportunity to opt out of the class if the material was an issue. Presumably, any parent could have notified the school ahead of time that they wanted their child to sit out that class.
Dietrich, Idaho is 125 miles southeast of Boise. According to the 2010 US Census, Dietrich has a population of 332. The town has one school, Dietrich School, which covers pre-K through 12th grade. Dietrich is predominantly LDS (Morman), but before you go assuming that’s why this is going on, I have to tell you, it’s not. In fact, the Church of Latter Day Saints says that:
“Parents have primary responsibility for the sex education of their children. Teaching this subject honestly and plainly in the home will help young people avoid serious moral transgressions. To help parents teach this sensitive and important information, the Church has published A Parent’s Guide.
“Where schools have undertaken sex education, parents should seek to ensure that the instructions given to their children are consistent with sound moral and ethical values.”
Not only that, but A Parent’s Guide, does, in fact use the word vagina. It clearly explains the biology of adolescence in order for parents to be able to explain things like menstruation and wet dreams to their teens. The Guide advocates abstinence but doesn’t ignore teens’ sexual feelings.
The LDS church asks parents to teach the subject of sex education “honestly and plainly.” The Mormon parents I know have all taught their kids the proper words for body parts, and their kids know what sex is. Also, considering that the town is predominantly LDS and this guy’s been teaching this class for 18 years, if this was an issue of religious doctrine, it would have come up before.
This is not a religious issue, it’s a parenting issue. And it’s worth noting that a 2011 report showed that the region had the highest teen pregnancy rate in Idaho. Perhaps a biology lesson is exactly what’s needed in Dietrich, Idaho.
(Photo Credit: YouTube, Thomas Dolby “She Blinded Me With Science” / added nonsense by Joslyn Gray for Babble)
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