The teaching of sexually-explicit language by an Oregon school district to its 10th grade students in the name of combatting pornography has prompted outrage on social media.
According to a report by parents, the students were confronted with phrases relating to pornographic content.
A post shared by the Oregon Moms Union Facebook page detailed how students were subjected to slides in a lesson with explicit language informing them of different types of pornography.
In an interview with Fox News, Oregon Moms Union co-founder MacKensey Pulliam said the content would likely make “a lot of grown-ups blush.”
“The way that they went about teaching it, and some of the content that was on the slides was really explicit,” Pulliam stated in the interview.
According to a spokesperson for the Hillsboro School District, the series of slides about pornography are part of a state mandate. The mandate specifies a requirement for students to receive age-appropriate instruction to facilitate recognizing and responding to unsafe situations and to increase awareness of child sexual abuse, Fox News reported.
“Pornography is not promoted in these lessons. Similar to how we approach suicide prevention lessons, we utilize research-based materials and clear language as we teach students these sensitive topics,” according to a statement written by Hillsboro School District communications officer Beth Graser to Fox News.
This view, however, was not shared by parents of Oregon Moms Union.
According to Pulliam, one parent parent shared photos of the slides with the group after being granted permission to view the curriculum in person at a school. Conversely, there also was criticism towards the concerned parents by some online commenters, who accused them of being “out of touch.”
“You’re all getting triggered by the explicit words, but the message is obviously a warning that they should not believe the situations depicted in porn are normal. These kids live on the internet. Your teen children have all discovered porn, and they will not tell you that,” one commenter wrote.
Pulliam, along with other upset parents, however, say the language in the slides goes too far, despite the good intentions.
“This has no place in a school whatsoever, I don’t [care] what grade, it’s not appropriate. And I don’t think most high schoolers, middle, or most upper elementary kids are naive,” one commenter said in discussion about the teaching content on Facebook.
Different emojis were used in the slides to describe several types of porn. These included emojis such as a peach, an eggplant, an octopus, a slice of cake, and a tongue to illustrate graphic categories.
Further examples detailed in another slide included terms such as “Child-Like Porn & Power Dynamics,” followed by teen, barely legal, step-brother, and “Daddy’s Little Girl” as categories.
In a different slide labeled “Small Groups,” students were asked to read a scene, discuss, rewrite the scene, and share it with the class. Students are then prompted to reflect on the influence of “mainstream porn” on the situation.
“Pornography is highly addictive and to teach it that there’s any type of normalcy about it is completely out of line and inappropriate,” a mom who goes by Coco, who said she was sent photos of the teaching materials anonymously in a direct message on social media, told Fox News.
“The fact that they are teaching porn as normal at all is absolutely the very definition of grooming,” she posted on Twitter. “This is absolutely insane. Parents in Hillsboro schools need to get loud immediately.”
According to Graser, families receive a letter notifying them of the topics discussed in the slides prior to the start of the sexual education lessons. She added that parents are given the option to opt out of individual lessons or the entire curriculum.
However, this did not make it ok with parents, according to Pulliam, who stated that many parents were clueless about such content being in the curriculum.
The district’s website makes no mention of the slides about pornography. According to Graser, as much as possible is shared online to inform parents. However, due to some issues pertaining to copyright concerns, there are some cases where this is not possible.
She added that in such cases parents are encouraged to make an appointment and view the content at the school themselves.
“I think there just needs to be more transparency in the curriculum and we just need to make sure that it’s age-appropriate,” Pulliam added.
In 2015, lawmakers in Oregon passed Senate Bill 856, also known as Erin’s Law. The bill stipulates that schools are to offer age-appropriate sexual abuse prevention programs for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
According to the school district, the sexually explicit media lessons meet all standards and requirements. The lessons reportedly serve to help children analyze media influence on health and social behaviors.