California Parents Irate Over Graphic High School Health Book

California parents are upset over a ninth grade textbook which includes references to sexual anatomy, vibrators, oral sex, bondage, and where to buy and how to use condoms, to name just a few delicate subjects. The UK's Daily Mail reports that "Your Health Today", the health textbook in question does cover fitness and nutrition, but has sections concerning sex which have caused 1,200 parents to sign a petition calling for the Fremont school board to stop using this text.

"I feel that it's not age appropriate for these kids, mother Asfia Ahmed told SF Gate. "I have read the book from first page to last, and most pages talk about college kids. It doesn't relate to these kids at all."

Ahmed has contacted the Pacific Justice Institute, a faith-based parents' rights organization, in regard to bringing a legal action into play to keep students from being exposed to the textbook. Ahmed said she had contacted the book's author, who agreed that ninth grade was too young for the contents of this text.

"She said the target audience was college freshman," Ahmed told CBS San Francisco.

Some parents believe that the information is fine for their children.

"The information in there is factual," Becky Bruno, the mother of a 13-year-old-boy about to start ninth grade, told NBC Bay Area. "There's nothing in there that's going to make him go exploring more than they have access to on their smartphones or Internet. Nothing made me feel that it was inappropriate."

The school board, health teachers, and district officials are standing by their guns. Not only do they think the book is appropriate for ninth graders, but they believe that the information in the book is much more relevant than that in the decade-plus textbook it is replacing.

One parent stated that using this book is like letting a ninth-grader into an NC-17 or R-rated movie instead of a PG-13 movie, according to a report by Marianne Favro of NBC Bay Area. Parents can opt-out of health class based on their religious beliefs if they are upset over the book's content.

Chris Filippi, reporting for CBS San Francisco, says that even students are not sure they are ready for this kind of information.

I don't think we really need to know about that at this age," said Judy Le, a senior at Kennedy High School. "I feel like it's more of like, adults."

Other students said that the Internet and social media are making kids grow up faster, so it is better if they learn these things early. Yet another student comment was that high schoolers are going to find these things out anyway, and it is better to learn from a responsible adult.

Biographies of the authors on their textbook's web page on Amazon state that Michael L. Teague received the Outstanding Teacher Award from the University of Iowa in 1994, teaches health courses for Department of Health and Human Physiology, and directed a health video that received 22 national and international video awards, and is entitled Healthy Living: Road to Wellness.

Sara L. C. Mackenzie, M.D., M.P.H. received a medical degree from the University of California-Davis and did her residency at the University of Washington in Seattle. She received a master's degree in public health from the University of Washington. She also held the position of the University of Washington School of Public Health Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education.

David M. Rosenthal received his Ph.D. in counselor education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. At the University of Iowa, he received the Teacher of the Year by residents in the Department of Family Medicine and was given the College of Medicine Service Award. He is now a faculty member at Columbia University, working with Family Medicine Residents and graduate students at the Mailman School of Public Health in the Department of Health Policy and Management.

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