"It's Perfectly Normal", a book about healthy sexuality geared for children 10 years and older, is the subject of debate at a Missouri school district where parents want the book removed from junior high libraries.
According to a report by Christina Coleman of KSDK-TV, parents in the Frances Howell School District are containing cartoon drawings of naked people who are engaged in sexual acts is available for children to access.
The main topics included in the book, according to the authors, are growing up, changing bodies, and sex and sexual health.
Local parent Tim Schmidt says there are explicit drawings and illustrations of people having sex. School administrators say the book is only available through the library and only in eBook form. They stress that this book is not a part of the regular curriculum.
Schmidt filed a formal complaint requesting that the material be removed from the library.
District officials say "it was determined to keep the ebook available as a resource for check-out in the library. If a parent determines that he/she does not want to their child to have access to certain materials, we honor that request."
Not all parents were upset by the book. June Tiller says she is glad that the students have access to material that will "help keep them safe".
Maressa Brown, reporting for The Stir,writes:
Books like It's Perfectly Normal do have a place on school library shelves. The fact of the matter is that sex ed belongs in schools. In middle school especially, discussing adolescence and hormones and sexuality has often been a part of the curriculum. Plus, comprehensive sex ed – defined as age-appropriate, medically accurate information on a broad set of topics related to sexuality, including human development, relationships, decision-making, abstinence, contraception, and disease prevention – is associated with a lower risk of teen pregnancy.
Brown adds that there are parents who do not want their children to be knowledgeable about making the right decisions concerning their bodies, and ultimately, their futures. Brown feels that schools should advise parents of curriculum and books like this one so that they can sign a consent form or ask that their children not take part in the reading of, or the training included in, this kind of material.
The high and steadily rising, rates of sexually transmitted diseases have provoked much attention to the debate over sex education, reports Molly Masland for NBC News. The solutions to this on-going problem are addressed from two differing points of view. Conservatives argue that abstinence is the single-most important message that should be dispersed to middle and high school students. Liberals disagree and claim that this increase in sexually transmitted diseases is a sure sign that more information needs to be dispensed to students. Masland added:
In the debate over sex education, one thing is undisputed: The average kid today is immersed in sexual imagery. A generation that has grown up on the sordid details of the Starr Report, watched thong-clad teens gyrate on Spring Break cable specials, or read the cover of nearly any women's magazine in the grocery check-out line is familiar with the facts of life.