Miami School Board Wants Sex In Schools After All. Uh, Middle And High School Sex-Ed, That Is.
The Miami-Dade School Board last night approved sex education textbooks for use in middle and high schools, a week after it had voted to reject the very same books after some parents complained they were inappropriate under the state's new "Parental Rights in Education" law, aka the "Don't Say Gay" law, aka the Parents Fuck Up Everything In Schools Act of 2022. Last week's vote, in turn, reversed the Board's decision to approve the books back in April, right around when everyone on the political Right decided the existence of LGBTQ people was cause for an ongoing national freakout, sometimes complete with firearms being brandished at libraries.
Why yes, that's a double reversal, not that members of the Miami Dade School Board should expect to be added to the US figure skating team.
The Miami Herald reports the vote
came about four hours into a special meeting that Chairwoman Perla Tabares Hantman called to discuss the implications of the board’s July 20 decision that left the district without a comprehensive health education curriculum and out of compliance with state statute.
See, that's how they get you. States go and require that history be taught, but then if teachers teach history too accurately, they run the risk of getting sued by parents who worry that the Civil Rights Movement made white Southerners look like the baddies. Get rid of sex ed textbooks to keep rightwing parents happy, and suddenly you're in trouble for not having a sex ed curriculum as required by law.
As it turns out, Tabares Hantman was the board member who reversed her two previous votes against approving the textbooks. The approval passed on a 5-4 vote. The Herald helpfully notes that Tabares Hantman has "been on the board for nearly three decades but isn’t seeking reelection this year," which seems like a pretty sound decision.
“I must make sure that the district is in compliance with state standards and curriculum requirements,” she said prior to the vote. “We always say we must abide by the law and comply with rules and requirements. If in the future the standards change, I’m sure ... the board will act appropriately and make sure our district complies accordingly.”
The Herald points out — pointedly, even — that district officials had warned at last week's board meeting that not having any sex-ed textbooks would violate state requirements. Apparently it took a little while for Tabares Hantman to realize that meant the district might actually face penalties for being out of compliance.
The textbooks, middle school and high school versions of Comprehensive Health Skills, don't deal solely with sexual education, but address a range of health information, including substance use, nutrition, physical activity, and family structures. It also has the sex stuff, and if you would like to snicker like an eighth-grader yourself, feel free to click on this e-flash card from the middle school edition's chapter on "Sexual Feelings and Behavior," which features computer voices saying the words "arousal," "growth spurt," "masturbation," "sexual intercourse," and "wet dreams" as flatly and unsexily as possible. It would be much better with a music video, perhaps.
Update/clarification, because of confusion in the comments, which we do not allow:Now see here, you sillies, that is not the real flash card, it is a boring old screenshot with a still from Heart's "These Dreams" video added, and if you didn't watch enough VH-1 in the 90s to recognize it, then I don't know what to do with you.
Back in April, the board had voted to remove the entire "Understanding Sexuality" chapter from the textbooks, which from the table of contents we found online would have removed all the "'what is sex" stuff, not just mentions of gender identity and sexual orientation. We're not sure whether that would have removed the next chapter, which discusses birth control and why teenagers should not be parents, although all that could easily be replaced by the scene from Mean Girls where the gym teacher explains that if you have sex, you will die.
WPLG-TV reports that at Thursday's board meeting, the overwhelming majority of speakers from the public called on the board to approve the textbooks, although there were the mandatory Moms Against Everything and Junior Anti-Sex League reps too. One speaker very humorously complained, "This week, it’s nine genders. Next week, it’s 11 [...] So we really have to think about the financial burden it’s going to cost us to be replacing these books every time they add genders to the list."
We'll grant the wingnuts this much: With only three jokes, they certainly won't strain their "humor" budget.
It would appear that with last night's vote, the textbook question is finally settled, at least for the 2022-23 school year. At least until some ambitious rightwing Florida politician accidentally stumbles across the image above and demands that the schools stop using nekkid CGI statues from old "Heart" videos where any innocent child can see them.
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