NANAIMO, B.C. - A Vancouver Island mom says she's outraged by a graphic flip book her Grade 8 son brought home from school that creatively shows a woman placing a condom on a man and then having sex.
The booklet, "Put on Something Sexy," depicts the sexual act when the pages are flipped rapidly and was given to the boy Jan. 31 as a prize in a sexual-health class, one of three sessions that also covered Internet safety and anti-bullying.
Cathy Sanders said her son showed her the book when he returned home from Nanaimo, B.C.'s, Wellington Secondary School.
"I was disgusted that he would be given something like that," she said.
School officials say they took steps to ensure materials used in the classes are age appropriate, but somehow unsuitable materials slipped through onto display tables used by students.
"There was at least one outside presenter on sexual health," said Donna Reimer, spokeswoman for the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District.
"AIDS Vancouver Island had material they put on the table that students could pick up, if they wish."
Reimer said when an administrator spotted oral sex pamphlets, they were ordered removed from the display.
The school district wrote a letter of apology to parents, specifically in reference to the pamphlet that explained what oral sex is and how it's performed, which the vice-principal noticed.
But Sanders said the pamphlet, which appeared similar to a medical publication, was less offensive than the flip book.
"I want to know what the (school district) guidelines are and I want materials checked before it goes into classrooms by principals and the school district," Sanders said.
That message appears to have reached educators.
Since then, the school has contacted AIDS Vancouver Island with a request to review all material to be given to students.
Reimer said it's "too soon to say" whether the school district will continue to use AIDS Vancouver Island for future sex education.
"The district will be reviewing what happened before making a decision about future steps," Reimer said by email.
"We will also take a look at any implications this may have for procedures district wide regarding outside presenters and the materials they distribute to students."
AIDS Vancouver Island defends its use of materials for teaching purposes.
"We believe straightforward, non-judgmental information provided to youth, in a context with a facilitator, in a context that speaks to abstinence, is important," said Eric Brendt, AIDS Vancouver Island spokesman.
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Nearly <strong>2-in-3</strong> districts <a href="http://www.nyclu.org/publications/report-birds-bees-and-bias-2012">avoided any mention or depiction of external female genitalia</a>. One district used material that defined the vagina as a "sperm deposit."
Negative Gender Stereotypes
A worksheet used in the Yorkshire-Pioneer District in northern New York <a href="http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120912/OPINION/120919696/1074">describes women as "hazardous material"</a> while another instructs students that "woman = problem."
Several districts only reference gay people in the context of HIV instruction. Materials used in the Lake Shore School District teach students that "most [HIV] infected people <a href="http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120912/OPINION/120919696/1074">are homosexual men</a> and drug users who used unsterile needles."
Failure To Address Harassment
Most districts did not teach information about bullying (<strong>63 percent</strong>), and many <a href="http://www.nyclu.org/publications/report-birds-bees-and-bias-2012">did not teach about sexual harassment</a> (<strong>42 percent</strong>), sexual assault or rape (<strong>28 percent</strong>).
One "commonly used textbook" teaches only "traditional marriage," which is defined as "an emotional, spiritual and legal commitment <a href="http://www.nyclu.org/publications/report-birds-bees-and-bias-2012">a man and woman</a> make to one another."