Game Over for Parental Consent?

A new sex-ed program being implemented in Houston-area schools for 7th and 8th graders has parents concerned that their children will be given potentially dangerous, age-inappropriate lessons geared to break down communication between children and their parents. 

Tara, a mom to a 7th grader, called Texas Right to Life looking for answers when her daughter came home with information about the new “abstinence-plus” program starting in her school this month. The rumor among parents was that Planned Parenthood was somehow involved in the “abstinence-plus” program.

The program — comprising a total of almost 24 classroom hours — will be presented to children through interactive computer games and videos, as well as class discussions, and role play.

This virtual curriculum, called “It’s Your Game: Keep it Real,” was developed by UT Health Systems with help from a $15 million federal grant. The head researcher, Dr. Susan Tortolero, denies that Planned Parenthood was involved in the creation of the curriculum. She also denies that Planned Parenthood is involved in disseminating the program to local schools.

Planned Parenthood has sent instructors to schools in New York to teach this very curriculum, however, we have yet to see the same thing here in Texas.

Even so, parents do have cause for concern, said Mayte Weitzman, a mother also with a daughter in 7th grade. Mayte is worried about a particular piece of advice given by the program, which says, If you think you have an STD, go to a clinic. Mayte wonders why the program doesn’t recommend the student go to his or her parents with the problem.

This piece of advice is potentially dangerous. In Texas, minors can go to Planned Parenthood for STD testing and treatment without their parents’ knowledge or consent. Children can also secretly receive contraceptives — and even abortions — at Planned Parenthood through wide loopholes.

The sex-ed program also lists the abortive Plan B pill as a contraceptive.

Parents are troubled, too, by the fact that there is no way to opt their children out of this indoctrination. While children are not forced to participate in the class at school, they must still be taught the same information from provided materials at home.  All students, even those whose parents try to opt them out from this material, are required to take and pass the exact same tests during the program.

Fortunately, due to the efforts of concerned parents and citizens, including Senator Dan Patrick, the Cy-Fair School district has decided to postpone teaching this dangerous curriculum so it can evaluate the program further.  Unfortunately, Houston ISD still plans on launching this program this semester.   

Photograph from University of Texas School of Public Health:

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