Home/Rod Dreher/The pedagogy of sexualizing children

The pedagogy of sexualizing children

Thank goodness I’m not raising children in New York City public schools. Look:

Imagine you have a 10- or 11-year-old child, just entering a public middle school. How would you feel if, as part of a class ostensibly about the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, he and his classmates were given “risk cards” that graphically named a variety of solitary and mutual sex acts? Or if, in another lesson, he was encouraged to disregard what you told him about sex, and to rely instead on teachers and health clinic staff members?

That prospect would horrify most parents. But such lessons are part of a middle-school curriculum that Dennis M. Walcott, the New York City schools chancellor, has recommended for his system’s newly mandated sex-education classes. There is a parental “opt out,” but it is very limited, covering classes on contraception and birth control.

Observers can quarrel about the extent to which what is being mandated is an effect, or a contributing cause, of the sexualization of children in our society at younger ages. But no one can plausibly claim that teaching middle-schoolers about mutual masturbation is “neutral” between competing views of morality; the idea of “value free” sex education was exploded as a myth long ago. The effect of such lessons is as much to promote a certain sexual ideology among the young as it is to protect their health.

That’s the thing that many liberals simply do not get: that what they imagine is values-neutral is in fact heavily loaded with a particular way of seeing the world. And, as we know, to many on the left today, economics isn’t what’s really important, but promoting a morality of sexual libertinism, where nothing anyone wishes to do short of pederasty is to be stigmatized or judged in any way. If I had Bill Gates’s money, I would give tens of millions to the New York Catholic school system, to pay for extra teachers and scholarships for children whose parents wanted to spring them from the nuthouse, and put them in schools where their values are respected.

Barbarians, we are, doing this to our children. No wonder Muslims overseas think we’re crazy.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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