I was on my way home last night from Slow Torture and Death, otherwise known as College Algebra, when I got a phone call from Sara, a friend of mine who lives in North Carolina. She wanted to tell me a funny story. I was skeptical about the level of "funny" she was referring to, but that might have just been the cranky pregnant lady inside of me who didn't want to "socialize" with "people" just then. Anyhow, this friend of mine said she had gotten in trouble at her 12-year-old son's school yesterday. That's when my ears perked up. I love it when adults behave badly in the presence of children.
Peter's* school called her earlier in the day and requested a meeting. The teacher said that Peter had said something in class that they needed to discuss, and she felt it would be best to do that in person. So Sara went up to the school and met with the teacher. It turns out that the teacher was in the middle of giving The Talk with the class...you know? The Talk. The one about the pee-pees and the wee-wees and why god gave them to you and how not to go around sticking the pee-pee in the wee-wee and making a wah-wah? So this teacher asks the class of 12-year-olds to please raise their hand if they would like to share what their mom and dad have shared with them on the topic of sex.
(Important info: It turns out that Peter has been having his first wet dreams recently, and he and my friend have discussed what this means and that it's normal, etc. Also, his older friends have told him all about the joys of self-stimulation, but he was worried because when he tried it himself, apparently it hurt. So Sara gave him some advice and they talked it out. End of story, right? Um, no.)
So Peter raised his hand and proceeded to tell the class, "My mother says that lotion is going to be my best friend because I can't get lotion pregnant, I don't have to pay lotion child support, and I don't have to meet lotion's parents." Can you see perhaps where this is going? I bet you can't, just wait.
So the teacher explains this to Sara, and then she actually says, "In this school, we teach abstinence." As in - your son is a dirty whore and will rot forever in the throes of fire and brimstone for touching his happy place when he's alone. Chain him in the basement immediately.
Needless to say, a parent that is open enough with her son to tell him all about the joys of lotion is NOT going to take kindly to this type of moral judgement by a member of the school faculty whose job is to teach the facts, not to shame the adolescents. So Sara tells her, look lady - In my house, we practice realism. There is no boy on earth who doesn't masturbate, and it's not only totally normal and biologically healthy, but it's also one of the great joys of life!
Then this teacher (clearly scandalized at this point) wants to know what Sara would think if it was her DAUGHTER performing this abomination, what would she have to say then? And of course, Sara says she'll do what every other mother would do and go buy her a vibrator. Now, I'm not sure that every other mother would do that, but it certainly seems healthier than super gluing the whole area closed until she's married.
To cap off this lovely conversation, Sara tells the teacher that she needs to go home tonight and ask her very own husband if he has ever masturbated. Because guess what? He has! And based on your feelings about sex, I'd guess he's probably done it at least twice since you left for work today!
What I want to know is, when did it become the teacher's job to teach children that masturbating is wrong? Shouldn't this be a sort of impartial biology lesson? I guess I didn't realize that abstinence pertains not only to sex with another person (or animal, whatever floats your boat), but also to your own 10 digits. That seems a little over the top for me when the benefits of abstinence are a decrease in teenage pregnancy and STDs. And no, this was not a private school. This was a public school, paid for by the great people of North Charlotte.
I'm suddenly very interested to know the sex education policies in my school district!
*Her kid isn't really named Peter, but I thought it would be appropriate to protect the identity of the minor as well as provide a fortunate play on words for the story. But then again, her name isn't really Sara either. I'm clever like that.