News Story

School Choice Could Reduce Controversy Over Public School's Explicit Sex Ed Pictures

Parent calls 7th grade special ed images ‘stick figure porn’

Some parents at Saline Area Schools are upset with sex ed material the district plans to give to children with developmental disabilities from seventh grade and higher, with one parent calling it “stick-figure porn.”

Parents will be able to opt out of the curriculum, but that isn’t satisfying parents who fear their children will be ostracized for not agreeing to go through the class.

Michigan Capitol Confidential was emailed copies of the visual displays used in the curriculum, which the school district confirmed would be included.

The images display stick figure people in various sexual positions. The “Genderbread Person” image that addresses biological sex in one slide states, “Your body parts ... identify you as a male, female or maybe someone in-between.”

Some of the images are sexually explicit. They may be seen by clicking the links below.

Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4, Image 5, Image 6, Image 7

Saline Superintendent Steve Laatsch confirmed that the curriculum will include the illustrations.

Laatsch said in an email: “This curriculum is evidence-based and medically accurate, designed with the knowledge of the needs of students with significant disabilities; the materials have visual supports to help the impaired students access and understand the concepts and words that are associated with sex education. While typically developed students may be able to understand by just reading the words, these students need evidence-based visual supports.”

Laatsch said there were several opportunities for parents to review the material and opt out.

Laatsch said in an email: “Michigan State Law provides parents the opportunity to view materials in advance, observe the instruction, and opt their child out without penalty. This curriculum is organized in a module fashion to allow parents, teachers, and caregivers to select content customized to meet the needs of each individual student. For every lesson, there are multiple opportunities for parents to sign off and engage in follow-up discussions at home.”

Raelyn Davis is a mother of children who attend the district. She is concerned the district will eventually adopt the curriculum for all students.

Davis is concerned that the curriculum promotes same-sex attraction, same-sex couples and abortion, issues she said should be left to the parents to guide their children.

“It is too graphic. It goes into too much details on some issues, and not enough on others. There are too many reasons to opt kids out instead of the occasional exception,” Davis said in an email.

Ben DeGrow, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said the Saline controversy highlights the importance of school choice in this state.

“Parents should have a right not only to be upset about how important delicate matters are taught, but also to take charge of basic decisions about their children’s academic and moral development,” DeGrow said. “If they don’t like what they see in the classroom and the school can’t resolve it to their satisfaction, they should be able to redirect the funds designated for their child to a different education of their choosing.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.