Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Junior Health Class

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where every day's a gnu day! Yak, yak, yak. How are ewe?

Okay, that's enough now, Puck. You can go back to poking the parrot with a stick.

As the veil thins I continue to find myself in this odd state of insouciance where nothing seems to matter anymore. Things that would have bothered me or worried me in times hence are just making me laugh and shrug. I think perhaps that I am edging toward the veil myself, and I realize that the time to be happy is now. Not tomorrow, now.

An addendum to yesterday's post: I do not mind when my students come in to chat me up after school. I'm honored.  The whole reason I'm there is to try to make a difference in peoples' lives. I try to do that by genuinely caring about my students. Ask me if they can tell who cares about them and who doesn't. They have extraordinary sniff-out skills.

But that's beside the point! Today's sermon is entitled JUNIOR HEALTH CLASS AND THE DAUGHTER IN YOUR LIFE!

Last night I came slogging upstairs to go to bed, and I found my daughter The Spare at an online website that sells home pregnancy tests. She was studying the site carefully.

The conversation went something like this:

Anne: Doing a little shopping online?

Spare: He expects me to go into the pharmacy and look at these. And even ask the pharmacist about them.

Anne: Who is HE?????? *anguish*

Spare: The health teacher. The assignment says to go into a pharmacy and compare the cost of home pregnancy test kits. And to read the box and figure out how they work. And then to find out which one is most accurate.

Anne: This is for health class. For real. Like, looking and not buying .... oh pleeeeeeeze!

Spare: Mom. Are you serious? Of course it's for health class! And I'm not going into any pharmacy to look at this stuff. Can you imagine me standing in the Snobville Family Drugstore, looking at these? What if Wanda saw me? What if Celeste saw me? What if the cross-country team saw me? Like, could anything be more embarrassing than that?

Anne: Well, yeah. Does every junior at Snobville High have this assignment?

Spare: Yep. It's online.

Anne: So the boys have to go do this too.

Spare: As if. Get real. No one is going to study home pregnancy tests at a drugstore!

Anne: One would think that the teacher might ask the boys to study the condoms instead of the home pregnancy tests.

Spare: EWWWWWW! Go away! This online health class is making me gag as it is! Don't make it worse!

Readers, it's true. It's true! Spare had to write a report on home pregnancy tests for her junior health class. I went to the school e-board, and the assignment was there. Spare doesn't even have a boyfriend right now, and she has dumped two who tried to get fresh.

But my curiosity was piqued.

The Snobville High School online health class (there are no in-school classes, the course is all done online) has videos about puberty, sexual reproduction, gestation and childbirth, parenting, and relationships.

There is nothing about how to obtain sensible family planning. The word "condom" does not appear anywhere.

There's an assignment for home pregnancy kits, but none about birth control pills or devices.

I have never seen anything more ridiculous in my life. This is New Jersey! This is not Kansas! These are college-bound, high-performance teenagers, brimming with libido! Damn it, I want my kid to know where to get The Pill!

Honestly, this is no joking matter. Spare may not be sexually active, but a number of her friends are -- and who am I kidding, she could be in a matter of weeks, if the right scruffy, guitar-playing skinnyboy came along. Any junior high health class on sexuality, pregnancy, and parenting that does not mention birth control is worse than useless. It's counter-productive. Literally, my kid has been asked to price pregnancy tests rather than to investigate HOW NOT TO BECOME PREGNANT.

Good thing Heir and Spare have me in their corner. I may not be a doctor, but I know how to teach high school health. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

I guess in next week's health class they'll be pricing multi-symptom cough syrups after not having learned to wash their hands before eating. It makes that much sense.


Sarita Rucker said...

Yeah, I would definitely teach about safe sex first, and THEN talk about what happens if you do get pregnant, or suspect that you're pregnant.

Yea, HIM said...

I KNEW you

Spare said...

Wanda? Celest? Where do I live? London. Also you are embellishing. Tisk Tisk.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I agree -- info on birth control and safe sex is much more important than which pregnancy test is cheaper.

Lavanah said...

Well, you have to admit, the large ICK factor that the assignment created may help keep the libidos in check for another 10 or 15 minutes.

sott'Eos said...

Why compare the costs? Is the cost of the home pregnancy test supposed to be a deterrent to having sex?

How they work? Don't they all work pretty much the same way? Pee on it. Look for the specified indicator.

Now the accuracy question is really interesting, and an opportunity to introduce Bayes' Theorem to explain how a 5% false-positive rate and a 5% false-negative rate don't mean that you have a 95% chance that the results of the test are that you are (or are not) pregnant. Maybe that is really the whole point of the exercise!

Wanda said...

Maybe health class is the reason why I found an ept test at the Lizzy playground (negative) and a Clear Blue Easy container (smashed) at the Elm Ave. basketball courts.


we've come a long way since my sophomore class when the teacher in health class showed a film about the sexual organs and when they showed a drawing of a penis the girl in front of me fainted...I think I said something along the lines of 'oh fuck she's dead'..

Sarita Rucker said...

scott'Eos -- I would guess that rather than the price being a deterrent to getting pregnant, the idea is for girls to know how to test for pregnancy so that they can get abortions early on.

CousinLinda said...

I am speechless (well, almost.) The number of things that horrify me here are boggling. (And sometimes funny--thank you, Yellowdog Granny!)

1st--the class has to be online. 2nd--there is no discussion of birth control.
3rd--the waste of time that the assignment is (I can't look these things up if and when I DO get pregnant? Which I most certainly will, because I haven't been taught about birth control.)

Alright. I'll try to stop ranting now.

Lori F - MN said...

Sex ed is online?
the GIRLS have to find out how Much pregnancy test cost? What a useless lesson. I hope she questions the logic of it.

Are you sure they didn't cover condoms and pregnancy prevention earlier in the lessions?

Anne Johnson said...

The entire course is online because the state of New Jersey yanked funding from our district, and they had to RIF the health teacher. Yes, I went through the entire course (to date) looking for the sensible family planning lesson. It's not there.

And BTW, I snuck a peek at the videos. The ones on puberty were meant to be viewed by 12-year-olds. My daughter is 16 ... and looks it.

Lori F - MN said...

Can you ask someone where that information is? If parents don't complane about the class teaches - or doesn't - things will never change.
I went to highschool in the 80's. I remember enough to know we had pregnancy prevention AND use of condoms. Bananas anyone? When did America become so prudish?
Have your brilliant daughter look up the statistics for teen pregnancy. THAT is relevent information. Not the cost of a pregnancy test.

Gaia said...

@yellowdog granny--omg, I cackled

I teach science in HS. Might I recommend proposing that boys research the cost of child support for a minmum of 18 years, with appropriate cost of living increases as their assignment?

We showed a live birth from the doctor's perspective--and if time allowed, I'd run it backwards and put the baby back in--kind of "take the baby out, put the baby back" a few times. Comments after class? "I am never having a baby".

Intense Guy said...

They need to start by getting this course moved back into a classroom...

Gosh, it's no wonder the current crop of kids seem to be nearly hopeless when it comes to basic ordinary "use some sense", the so-call adults setting their classes don't have (or exhibit) any...

p.s., I had a good smile at Spare's comment...