Blogger for James Dobson’s Family Research Counsel can’t tell the difference between shop class and sex ed class

I’ve mentioned before the problem with abstinence-only sex education is that it really doesn’t teach anything about sex other than students should be “against it”. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when one of James Dobson’s crew gets sex education mixed up with shop class.

The big story going around right now is about two sixth-graders at the Warren Township's Raymond Park Middle School who had sex while in shop class, with a teacher present. I can understand how a shop teacher might miss such a thing, not only are class sizes too large but as I recall from my 7th grade wood shop class it was a very noisy environment, with big bench desks and lots of equipment to hide behind. If the instructor is busy cutting up pieces of wood on a table saw, wearing goggles and ear protection, it would be easy to miss other “activity” in the class.

Of course, the school district’s biggest mistake was trying to cover it up. From the news article:
Middle school students having sex in a busy classroom while a teacher is present? Warren Township Associate Superintendent Jeff Swensson confirmed it's true. It's been kept under wraps since November.

"Two students were involved in inappropriate conduct in a lab class last semester. We have investigated the matter and taken appropriate action. The school corporation considers the matter closed and will have no further comment."

Associate Superintendent Jeff Swensson told Eyewitness News off camera the teacher didn't know what was going on because another student acted as a "look-out." But once the teacher discovered the behavior, immediate action was taken. Swensson says the students involved were recommended for expulsion. But he did not say whether the board followed that recommendation.
And now we come to Dobson’s FRC errand-boy, Jordan Flournoy, who says:
In Indianapolis, Indiana, middle school "sex education" has reached an entirely new plateau. What for months remained a jealously guarded secret at Warren Township’s Raymond Park Middle School has now been shockingly exposed: Two 6th grade students engaged in sexual intercourse during class – under the nose of an oblivious teacher.

At the middle school, so-called “shop class” afforded the students the opportunity of learning through experience. Apparently books simply aren’t realistic enough for certain subjects.
Oh my – of course, it is all the problem of that darned “Liberal” sex education classes! Why didn’t I see this before? If they had been taught “Religious” sex education then sex would have never occurred in this classroom because the dear children would have never realized that “Tab A” goes into “Slot B”. Ignorance is Power!

Flournoy continues:
We have a serious problem on our hands when the instructors of America’s next generation are sanctioning public “educational” sexual intercourse. Have our moral sensibilities been desensitized to the point that we no longer assent to even the most basic codes of ethics?
First, speaking as an Atheist, I find it highly immoral that the school district kept a lid on this. I have to wonder if the parents knew? Did the district inform them? The teacher's failure to notice isn't nearly as damning (metaphorically speaking) as the resulting cover up by school and district.

Second, speaking as an ex sixth-grader, and as someone who had wood shop in Junior High and in High School; teachers who pay attention to the students while doing several cuts on a table saw soon end up with fewer fingers. Speaking as a geeky nerd, I can assure you that students in a wood shop class would take this sort of opportunity to pick on the geeky nerds in the class. If my wood shop classes had girls in them it might have distracted the students who picked on the geeky nerds.

I think this problem could be solved with an extra teacher in the class. It only makes sense anyway – the equipment can be life-threatening, and an extra teacher trained in first aid and CPR might make all the difference. High schools have assistant coaches, why not assistant shop teachers?

I also think that Floumoy is demonstrating the inherent dishonesty of Christian fundamentalism with his condemnation of sex education. By conflating an out-of-control classroom situation with (non-religious) sex education he gets a lot of mileage from innuendo and hand waving. And he doesn’t even consider that his premise may be incorrect - perhaps Raymond Park Middle School uses abstinence only sex education, perhaps not. I don’t know for sure.

And I’m fairly certain that Floumoy doesn’t know either.


Anonymous said...

"...the instructors of America’s next generation are sanctioning public “educational” sexual intercourse." To me, this misrepresentation of what happened is about as low as a person can go.

Anonymous said...

Honesty has never been a requirement of James Dobson or of anyone connected with his organizations.

John Jansen said...

And now we come to Dobson’s FRC errand-boy, Jordan Flournoy...

While Dobson is the founder of FRC, my understanding is that he hasn't been directly involved with it since 1992, per the Wikipedia article you link to.

It seems odd, then, to refer to a current FRC employee as "Dobson's errand-boy".

Anonymous said...

John, my uncle once bought a sizable ranch in New Mexico as an IRS tax shelter - and he hired someone to run it for him. But that never really made my uncle a cattle man. He was still busy with his primary business, and spent the weekends riding horses and drinking beer out on the ranch.

The IRS forced Dobson to back away from FRC because he was using it to lobby from the pulpit, and endangering his "Focus on the Family" baby. So Dobson created a little tax dodge - and put Perkins in charge. I'm sure Dobson wouldn't have a problem getting Perkins out of that position if he wanted to do so. I also think that if Dobson told Perkins to shit, Perkins would say, "How much and what color?"

Dobson is in the business of making Christian political structures, which he uses to stay in power while advancing his personal set of morals. He doesn't mind forming power coalitions with other like minded people, such as the Arlington Group.

I'll admit that Flournoy probably isn't important enough to even appear on Dobson's radar - so 'errand boy' probably doesn't cover his status very well. I think of him as a happy cog in the machine that is Dobson's religious power structure. Being Dobson's "errand boy" would be a huge, delightful, step up for Flournoy.

As for FRC being separate from Dobson, I'll believe it when FRC successfully opposes Dobson on one of his core values. Until then the supposed separation is merely technical.