An online health class assignment has prompted anger from some parents in Eugene, Oregon, where some high school students were prompted to make up and write out a sexual scenario.
The writing exercise was assigned back in January to some students at Churchill High School (Eugene 4J School District) who had been absent from a health class, The Christian Post reported.
This makeup assignment was posted online for the students to complete. The prompt read:
“For those students who were absent, you will write a short story of a paragraph or two. This story is a sexual fantasy that will have NO penetration of any kind or oral sex (no way of passing an STI). You will choose 3 items (romantic music, candles, massage oil, feather, feather boa, flavored syrup, etc.) to use in your story. Your story should show that you can show and receive loving physical affection without having sex.”
As word of the assignment circulated, some parents and community members sounded off.
“The district reviews these curriculums before they get approved, right? Did they actually read this? If this was reviewed, how did it slip through the cracks? I could see this easily becoming a national scandal,” said Churchill High School parent Katherine Rogers, speaking with Oregon Live.
The teacher who posted the assignment was identified as health teacher and football coach Kirk Miller. He has since been placed on administrative leave pending a third-party investigation, NBC 16 reported.
Lane County resident Sheena Bean posted on Facebook, “Why a teacher and coach feels entitled to the sexual fantasies of minor aged male and female students is beyond my understanding. This is completely inappropriate and sickening. Can you imaging [sic] having to look your teacher or coach in the eye knowing he has knowledge of your most intimate imaginations [sic].”
Eugene 4J officials informed parents that the assignment was pulled from the syllabus and would not count towards students’ grades, Fox News reported.
Angry parents and community members attended a school board meeting last Wednesday, where some board members and officials voiced their disapproval of the assignment.
“To require students to write down and share sexual fantasies as a requirement of a course is inappropriate and, I believe, an abuse of authority and invasion of students’ privacy,” said school board member Gordon Lafer, NBC 16 reported.
Following the growing controversy around the assignment, the district said it was moving to replace the curriculum from which it was derived.
“[T]he district has begun the process of reviewing and selecting a new health curriculum to replace the OWL [Our Whole Lives] content that will be completed by the end of the school year,” said Churchill High School Principal Missy Cole, according to Fox News.
The OWL curriculum was developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the United Church of Christ (UCC).
In an online statement, the UUA claimed that the makeup assignment was based on a misunderstanding of an out-of-print version of the curriculum and was not approved by either the UUA or the UCC:
“The OWL curriculum is developmentally appropriate when implemented as designed, by trained OWL facilitators. According to our records, the teacher in question was not trained by certified OWL trainers. … Overall, at-home readings and activities support parents as their children’s primary sexuality educators, preparing parents to continue this role as their children grow.”
Parents around the country have been voicing concern in recent years over the appropriateness of some sex education curricula and library books that allegedly contain sexually explicit content.
As previously reported in The Dallas Express, the Fort Worth Independent School District’s Board of Trustees caught some flak from parents and community members over potential updates to its sex education curriculum. The fiasco resulted in the district canceling its programming for the current academic year.
The Dallas Independent School District also courted controversy when it was revealed that it was maintaining dozens of allegedly obscene and sexually-explicit books in its libraries after some parents and community members repeatedly called on the district’s trustees to pull the titles and adopt guidelines for screening library books laid out by the Texas Education Agency.
The Dallas Express reached out to Churchill High School’s administrators for comment but did not hear back by press time.