Sunday, October 26, 2014

Belleville District 118 - Masturbation, Morality, Manipulation, & Malfeasance

On Thursday I sent a strongly worded letter to the administration of my daughter's school regarding a
teacher who instructed her class that "masturbation is a form of self harm."  As my daughter and I continued to discuss the program over the following two days I once asked her, "Has Ms. Tinney (the instructor) said anything else that would concern you?"

"She always uses boyfriend or husband. Not once has she said partner or significant other."

This sent the red flags waiving in my head; not that using boyfriend and husband are wrong to use, just the unwavering hetero-normative language confirmed my suspicion that this teacher had an agenda.

Sure enough, with research and dissection my suspicions were confirmed.  The instructors warnings against masturbation had nothing to do with sex education and everything to do with proselytizing a particular pro-life Christian morality to public school students.

 Meet Rel8. "The ReL8 program exists to influence youth as they pursue a lifestyle of saving sex for marriage. " and "Our core values are a set of unchanging beliefs or principles that guide and govern the decisions of ReL8. Uncompromising Integrity - living right at any cost,  Undeniable Relevance - being who we are in today’s world. Unwavering Excellence - nothing less than our best"

Although the Rel8 page was fairly sanitized, further surfing around the organization's support website made it very clear,  "Mosaic PHC is a Christ-centered organization that shares the Gospel of Jesus Christ and reveals His love through our words and compassionate care."
This group exists to proselytize.  The Rel8 program purpose is to instill their religious morality on adolescents under the guise of sex education.

Please do not mistake what I am saying. I am not opposed the work and ministry of this organization.  Mosaic PHC has every right under the law, and a responsibility under their  faith to provide the ministry and teachings they provide.  I am certain the Rel8 program is a wonderful method to teach adherents, to their faith system, the moral teachings of their understanding of their sacred texts.  Youth programs at church, Bible Studies, youth rallies, and youth camps are ideal settings for the message of the Rel8 program.

I am opposed to evangelism by manipulation.  I am opposed to marketing to schools a sex education class while promoting a mission that is wholly different. If you want to present your core values to students in the public school system then you should promote an opt-in after school program like Child Evangelism Fellowship, Boy Scouts of America, and other similar groups.  I believe the bible mentions lying as part of the ten commandments.

Which brings me to the District 118 school board allowing teaching that is in clear violation of Illinois Public Act 098-0441. Whether this is ignorance or intentional I don't know. However, the malfeasance remains the same; this school board is endorsing the proselytizing of a particular brand of Christianity under the guise of academic instruction and without the informed consent of the student's parents.

Mosaic PHC founder and president in an interview on states, "Condom-centered educators believe promoting birth control and contraceptives addresses all these needs. But schools try to prevent any type of teen risky behavior — drugs, alcohol, smoking. They’re not going to say, “We know you are going to smoke, so here’s a pack.” Sexual activity among teenagers is a risky behavior, but schools take a secondary approach. They say, “We don’t want you to, but if you are, just be safe about it.” Rel8 believes a primary approach is the best whether it’s sex, drugs or alcohol."

To Mosaic, sex is a morally corrupt activity, harmful in the same way drugs, alcohol, and smoking are harmful.  However, I challenge her to present me one peer reviewed study that shows sex damages organs, stunts brain development, or otherwise physically harms it's participants.

Morally speaking she is correct under her religious beliefs, however Illinois state law clarifies
material presented in school sexual education programs must be "Evidence-based and medically accurate." Mosaic fearing this reality writes on their Facebook page that the proselytizing Rel8 program is jeopardized by using science and evidence as the measure for school sexual educational program.

Thankfully, Illinois has laws like this in place, unfortunately The District 118 Board of Education has chosen to ignore both the law and our student's civil rights by allowing Rel8 to continue "ministering" in our schools. Evidence based medically accurate information should not be the standard only because it is the law, but instead our Board of Education should want our children educated not evangelized. I am sorry to learn that the current program ignores the education in favor of the evangelism.

Mosaic PHC must be removed from our schools. Their manipulation and deceit must be called out for what it is. Our classrooms should be places of fact and evidence, not religious beliefs or principles.


AA. said...

Thank you for the information. I recently googled to try to learn more about the program when my 7th grader kept telling me they were having sex ed but basically being told "don't do it," which made no sense to me since I knew Illinois law required medically accurate sex ed that included information about contraception and not just abstinence. I'm beyond furious at this point. This organization is not just abstinence-only but it is also anti-abortion and religion-based. It has no business being in a public school environment.

I understand that many parents are uncomfortable with the idea of sex. But schools and parents both have a responsibility to prepare kids for adulthood, and learning about sex is a part of adulthood. Our kids need proper information about sex -- not shame-based nonsense and idiotic chewing-gum analogies. Parents shouldn't be expecting the schools to instill morals in their kids -- that's their job. I don't appreciate them trying to have my kids indoctrinated in their religion or their morals, and that's why my kids are in public schools in the first place.

I'm beyond angry right now. The BOE is a disgrace.

Kevin J Bowman said...

You are absolutely correct. I had hoped that my efforts had produced results, so I am sad that see nothing has changed. The curriculum is absolutely a violation of IL law.

I attempted to get BND to cover this as well multiple opinion letters to no avail.

I backed off because I was promised by the Vice Superintendent of curriculum that last year was the last year that curriculum was being used and 118 was developing a legal curriculum to be presented by district staff.

Please fight this, it is wrong and our daughters will continue to be shamed till parents break the regressive will of the BOE.

AA. said...

I've sons, actually, and I have already contacted the principal of the school. I await his response and will update you as I hear back. While I have no doubt that we are in the minority, we do have the law and statistics on our side. I hope that we can make a change for the better.

I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home, and I know firsthand how damaging some of these "purity" teachings can be both to girls and boys.

Kevin J Bowman said...

I also grew up in the same environment. I too know how these ideas are so damaging.

The law also guarantees you access to a copy of the curriculum. So make sure you get a copy for your self.

I did so much research last year regarding this, if there is any information you need please let me know.