The materials taught in the sex-ed classes of some New York schools look more like they belong in rap lyrics or on the pages of Maxim magazine than in school curriculum.
The New York Civil Liberties Union released an analysis Tuesday of sex-education materials taught at schools throughout the state.
And some of the teaching material is hardly scientific.
One handout given to students identifies “Woman” as a “Hazardous Material” discovered by Adam and “found in various grades ranging from virgin material to common ore.” That worksheet was given out in the Yorkshire Pioneer school district in northern New York, just south of Buffalo.
The study examined sex-ed materials used in 82 school districts across the state in the past two years.
The New York City school district was excluded from the study due to a citywide sex-education mandate adopted in January of this year.
But the NYCLU said they want to review New York City’s sex-ed materials in the future.
And questionable content was not the NYCLU’s only concern. Some of the material was nearly 20 years out of date: Most, if not all, of the Yorkshire sex education materials referenced studies done in 1994.
When called by Metro yesterday, the athletic director at the Yorkshire Pioneer school district did not comment.
Closer to home, the NYCLU reports materials used in the Sewanhaka school district, on Long Island, said that being gay is “a preference.”
A spokeswoman for the NYCLU said these types of lessons are harmful to LGBTQ youth. Instead the NYCLU advocates a curriculum that deconstructs gender stereotypes and teaches about sexual orientation and gender identity to promote acceptance and prevent bullying.
Male brains vs. female brains?
Another set of handouts highlighted in the study were two pages describing “The Male Brain” and “The Female Brain.” The former has large sections labeled “SEX,” as well as a section for “Ball Sports” and a “Crotch Scanning Area”, while the latter has a large “Need for Commitment Hemisphere” and sections for “Shoe/Handbag Co-ordination” and “Shopping.”
These came from the Owego school district, a town west of Binghampton on the New York-Pennsylvania border. When called by Metro, Principal Heath Georgia of Owego Free Academy said that the sheets were tongue in cheek and were meant to open a discussion about sex-based stereotypes.
Georgia said that the NYCLU never called to verify the intent of the handouts, and that they were taken completely out of context.
“It’s really egregious to put it in there out of all of the hundreds of documents we gave them,” he said.