A graphic sex education program endorsed by Planned Parenthood continues to be promulgated in some Idaho middle schools, despite outrage expressed by parents, according to the Idaho Freedom Foundation.
The program, entitled "Reducing the Risk," is meant primarily for ninth-graders, according to its website, and it consists of a 16-part curriculum that aims "to help high school students delay the initiation of sex or increase the use of protection against pregnancy and STI/HIV if they choose to have sex." The website later claims, "The major focus is the development of attitudes and skills that will help teens prevent pregnancy and the transmission of STIs, including HIV," hinting that the program subordinates abstinence and prevention education in favor of mitigating the risks associated with promiscuity.
The sexual behaviors the program mentions are laid out in minute detail. One video included in RTR is called "Condom Sense," which was produced by the Trojan Condoms brand ten years ago. The cartoon video features an unmarried man and woman engaging in a series of sexual activities and a disembodied narrator who warns against condom misuse.
"Keep your condom on until you ejaculate," the narrator advises at one point, as a cuckoo bird suggestively shoots out of a nearby wall clock.
The video even shows the fornicating couple engaging in sex underneath bed covers and inside a car with obscured windows. The bed and car are rocking rhythmically to assure all viewers that the two are having sex, in case there was any doubt.
Both "Condom Sense" and RTR in general subtly endorse LGTBQ+ lifestyles. The logo Trojan opts to use for its YouTube account features the silhouette of a trojan helmet colored to match the latest gay and transgender flag, and screenshots of slides included in the fifth edition of the RTR program indicate that it encourages students to participate in "roleplay activities" that may make them uncomfortable, especially for those who are "sensitive" to same-sex relationships or who are gay, "transgender or gender nonconforming."
The program also manipulates language to confuse students and mislead parents. In perhaps the most egregious example, "Reducing the Risk" does not use "abstinence" to refer to refraining from sex until marriage. When used in the program, "abstinence" refers to avoiding pregnancy and guarding against sexually transmitted diseases. The Idaho Freedom Foundation claimed that creators of the program changed the definition of "abstinence" so that RTR would comport with Idaho law and standards, which require schools to teach "abstinence-only" or "until marriage" sex ed curricula.
The Center for American Education, affiliated with IFF, also made other observations about the language used in "Reducing the Risk." According to a slideshow presentation CAE obtained via information request, the word "marriage" was used only once in 120 slides. However, the presentation freely used terms like "vaginal sex," "oral sex," "anal sex," "dental dams," "condoms," and "masturbation." It also suggested that behaviors such as "anal sex using a condom and water-based lubricant" and "having sex while drunk or high" carry only "some risk."
When parents in Potlatch, Idaho, a small town of about 800 people located an hour south of Coeur d'Alene, discovered the contents of RTR, they became outraged and expressed their concerns at a school board meeting last November. That night, the board voted to remove the program for eighth-graders for this semester. It also voted to permit parents to opt their children out of such programs going forward and to have access to all materials that will be taught.
While Potlatch parents scored a small victory in the fight to keep graphic sexual material from their young children, other Idaho districts are still continuing to implement the program. As of last fall, the "Condom Sense" video and other RTR material are still being shown in 14 different Idaho schools, and the program website boasts that it is being taught in other supposedly conservative areas of the country, such as Montana; Duval County, Florida; Wyoming; San Antonio, Texas; Sedgwick County, Kansas; and West Virginia. Idaho is likewise a solidly red state, with a Republican governor, a Republican state legislature, two Republican U.S. congressmen, and two Republican U.S. senators.
IFF did not say whether any of the state or federal officials in Idaho had a comment about RTR. The "Supporting Education" initiative listed on the official website for Gov. Brad Little (R) makes no mention of "Reducing the Risk" or sex education at all. While it does claim that the state has a "moral obligation to our students in Idaho," it did not specify what that "moral obligation" means or what it might look like in practical form.
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