On Our Children Continues
One Mother's Report
By Virginia Dolajak
(The subtitles are added by the editor of The Fatima Crusader)
We hear so much about the terrible sex education programs that are in the nation's public schools. Many people put their children in Catholic schools to escape this tragedy. But wait. I will let you be the judge. Much of what you read here you will not believe.
About two years ago the parents of our children's Catholic school were invited to take part on a committee to discuss a Human Sexuality Program. My husband and I signed up. We were told it was a mandate to put it in all the Catholic schools and CCD programs in our diocese. Soon we were told if we didn't like it we could pull our children from the program but we had better not do anything to stop the parents who wanted sex education in the school. (For clarification purposes I will use the term sex education instead of Human Sexuality Program). We have done research over the years and have found many terms are used to teach sex education. Some examples: Family Life, health class, home economics, human sexuality, comprehensive health, etc., etc.
Sex Ed Director Has "Backing of Bishop"
At our first meeting we met the Director, sent by our bishop, who would sit in on all the meetings with us. She asked our names and what we thought of a Human Sexuality Program in our school. We later discussed this privately and felt it was a sure way to find out who was for the program and who was against it.
We were invited to take home the student and teacher manuals and examine them. A month later we would meet again and exchange the books with parents on the committee and take home a new group of books again and examine them. It never happened! After we were only home three weeks with the first group, we met and it was decided that night we would go with Benzinger Family Life.1 The only other books offered were "The New Creation Series."
We were told if you start the program in the younger grades with mixed classes (boys and girls together) it teaches them to have such respect for each other. This remark can be disputed and has been for years. Many argue it breaks down the modesty and desensitizes the young children.
"New Creation" did not come without any controversy! Of course this was not reported to the parents on the committee until we questioned it. It caused quite a stir in another school here in our city several years earlier. We were told it had been revised and was now OKAY to use. The director reminded us she came with full backing of our bishop. We were also reminded over and over we are the prime educators of our children! Little good it did us while sitting on the committee.
Corruption of Our Youth
One of the things we found objectionable with "New Creation" was Judy Blume, a novelist, is listed on the suggested reading list (teachers manual) starting in the third grade. "How many of you parents know who Judy Blume is?" I asked. No one moved. So I told them about one of her books I checked out of the city library. It is filled with explicit sexual matters between two unmarried teenagers.
I had a hard time finding any of her books in the library. I asked the librarian to help me. She told me I was looking in the wrong section. They are in the "young adults" section. She went on to tell me these books are so popular they are always checked out of the library as the author is very popular among the young girls. "Really" I said. She wasn't kidding me.
The book was very tattered and torn. In the particular book the young girl goes to a Planned Parenthood Clinic to get birth control pills so she could have sex with her boyfriend on his birthday as a present. I told this to the entire committee. I challenged them with the question, "How many of you did your homework and looked through the references to see what kind of materials are available to the teachers? Please understand this particular book is not in the reading list in "New Creation".
My objection is the author is introduced to a Catholic school audience and her books are not the lifestyle we want our children to imitate. A few days later our neighbor's girl was over to visit. I asked her if she knew who Judy Blume was? She smiled and said, "They have her books in our public school library and the girls check them out and read about all the sex and then we sit in class and laugh about it."
The Director did admit to our committee she had heard of Judy Blume and reported she is in trouble with school boards all across the country because of the "controversial" books she writes." I rest my case!
Now Birth Control Methods to be Taught
in Catholic Schools?
In the eighth grade teachers manual it recommends having a medical person (with approval of the parents) come in and discuss all methods of birth control and their reliability. I sternly objected to this. I asked "What does the Catholic Church teach us about artificial birth control?" A group of parents loudly disagreed with me. Many things were yelled at me all at once. I heard only one mother in the back. She said, "Mrs. Dolajak, when your girls are old enough, wouldn't you rather have them on birth control so they don't get pregnant or worse yet get AIDS and die?" I replied, "No, I want them to be taught how to keep themselves pure as our Church teaches. Besides birth control will not prevent AIDS."
A National Catholic paper had a story from a mother in California and the heartbreak they went through with New Creation in their Catholic school. They were denied access to the microphone when they went to voice their opinion. Then they put their child in a public school.
Some of the reasons given for sex education were:
1) kids need to know for health reasons, 2) it's all over TV and the movies, kids need to know, 3) parents don't do their job and tell the facts because parents are "uncomfortable" with their own sexuality. (We were never sent a survey and asked if we did our job.) It's also none of the school's business how or when we tell our children. It's our God-given responsibility to decide when they are ready to handle this delicate topic.
I suggested parents could easily handle this matter at home and could buy many good books on the market and teach their children in private as our parents did. I was swiftly told many of these books do not have an imprimatur. This is not true. We have a good selection in our home and find them quite adequate.
Later on in the fall, the principal told me over the phone if we were not going to put our children in the program we should not come back for any more of the committee meetings. When I finally pressed her and wanted to know who said we should not come back, she said it was a decision between the parish priest, herself and the Director. We showed up at the meeting anyway and I asked the question in front of the committee and the Director why we were "asked off this volunteer committee". The director knew nothing about the conversation. At this point, the principal's face turned red. The parents never questioned this tactic of eliminating us from the committee. No other members were asked to leave the committee.
Parents' Meetings are Manipulated
We continued to come to more meetings. At one we were particularly sorry to see the lack of Catholic teaching within the group itself. One parent wanted to address the changes the Church has made. His example was, the Catholic Church used to be against divorce, but now they allow it. Again an uproar in the room. We were stunned.
At one particular meeting some parents wanted to know if there were any visual aids we could use or possibly buy. The Benzinger books just would not be enough. (We anticipated that some parents would feel that the texts weren't explicit enough.)
Later on we were invited to another town where the Director would be presenting sex education to a group of parents. After a lengthy program she opened the floor to questions from the parents. One man sitting in the front row asked, "What are the names of the books you are bringing to put in our school?" The Director got upset and yelled at him, "We cannot talk about this tonight — it will take a committee to decide this — are you going to go against Rome? — this is what the HOLY FATHER wants for your children"!!!!! The poor gentleman slithered back down in his chair. The group was stunned. Here was a parent who obviously cares about his children and asked a simple question. He was brave enough to raise his hand and asked pretty much the same question again only to be shouted down again. The whole group of parents witnessed this. Remember we are reminded that we are the PRIME EDUCATORS of our children (or so they say)!! Many times the parish priest was not present to see how parents were treated when they asked questions.
The meetings and the debates continued. A parent was threatened with libel from the Director in reference to the exit of 24 students from another school over the "New Creation" series.
Another surprise came from our Director. She told us parents, we (North Dakota) citizens should not have referred to a Comprehensive Health bill passed by our legislature. The guidelines for this Comprehensive Health program contained in its reference list, organizations such as Planned Parenthood, Center for Population Options and SIECUS. The guidelines also discuss condoms for safer sex and one of the prescribed objectives is that Kindergarten students will be able to define the word "CHOICE" and much more. Why she was advocating this program in a Catholic school, we cannot imagine.
When we met a few weeks later in our school, I posed this question to the Director, "Does the Holy Father have a timetable when he wants sex education put in all the Catholic schools and CCD programs?" She sarcastically answered, "The Holy Father!!! This has nothing to do with the Holy Father! This is from the U.S. Catholic bishops!" She also corrected me from time to time when I used the term "sex education". She preferred to call what she was promoting, a Human Sexuality Program.
We Here Must Avoid Even "Catholic" Schools
to Save Our Children
We wrote our Bishop and asked to meet with him. He did answer us but avoided addressing the issue of a meeting. We wanted to meet with the Director. She told us she was too busy. This program caused a division among the parents of our committee. One mother left a meeting in tears vowing never to return to another meeting.
In a conversation with the principal, I was told I can not take the teachers' manuals from the school building. If I want to see them, I am welcome to come to the office any time and look at them. We had a new baby in the midst of this and she is very colic and there is no way I could possibly do this. So I, as a parent on the volunteer committee, was not allowed to see the books at my leisure. Remember this the next time you hear someone say what schools need is more parent involvement. As you see, it only works one way.
As a Catholic taught in a good Catholic school, I am proud of my faith. My parents never had to come to a lot of meetings only to be told if you don't like things, you can take your children out. I really doubt for one minute this is what the Holy Father wants. He wants to help build families, not pit the parents against each other.
It will be our duty to keep our children out and teach them ourselves. We are using authentic Catholic books and will do the best we can. We have established a library in our home and will move forward. We pray that just one bishop or one priest will take the time and research the materials as we have and see exactly what they are exposing young, innocent minds and souls to. I write this to alert other parents, and if one family keeps their children out of a sex education class and safe from the evil they are filled with, maybe all the suffering we have been through will be worth it. Please pray for us.
Bismarck, North Dakota
April 7, 1993