Obama’s opponent during his run for the US Senate in 2004, former Ambassador Alan Keyes, charged that Obama was proposing teaching sexually explicit material to kindergartners.
During a Senate debate in October 2004, Obama said, “Actually, that wasn't what I had in mind. We have a existing law that mandates sex education in the schools. We want to make sure that it's medically accurate and age-appropriate. Now, I'll give you an example, because I have a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old daughter, and one of the things my wife and I talked to our daughter about is the possibility of somebody touching them inappropriately, and what that might mean. And that was included specifically in the law, so that kindergarteners are able to exercise some possible protection against abuse, because I have family members as well as friends who suffered abuse at that age. So, that's the kind of stuff that I was talking about in that piece of legislation.”
McDowell says that Obama was correct, and says that the Illinois PTA had been active for a long time in encouraging schools to educate children about improper touching.
“A lot of schools don’t have people trained to explain that kind of thing to students without scaring them,” she says.
The bill said students should learn – in an age-appropriate way -- to not “make unwanted physical and verbal sexual advances and how to say no to unwanted sexual advances and shall include information about verbal, physical, and visual sexual harassment, including without limitation nonconsensual sexual advances, nonconsensual physical sexual contact, and rape by an acquaintance. ...teach male pupils about male accountability for sexual violence and shall teach female students about reducing vulnerability for sexual violence…”
McDowell says this part of the bill would be taught in an “age- and developmentally-appropriate way. Kindergartners need to be taught that there are places – ‘private parts’ - where nobody should touch you. Obviously we’re not going to be talking about rape in kindergarten.”
Brown agrees, saying that part of the bill as applied to young students was “specifically for inappropriate touching and sexual predators. Making sure kids know what’s appropriate and not appropriate. As far as HIV and condoms, you wouldn’t teach that kind of information to students that young.”
McDowell points out that the bill clearly states that no student has to receive the information if his or her parent or guardian objects:
"No pupil shall be required to take or participate in any class or course in comprehensive sex education if the pupil's his parent or guardian submits written objection thereto, and refusal to take or participate in such course or program shall not be reason for suspension or expulsion of such pupil,” the bill says.
“Any parent could opt out,” McDowell says.
Now, I'm going to say this again. Imagine if the kid in the DMN article had received some training or instruction on what to look for re: Child Lures. And how to say no and generally, what is or is not appropriate or inappropriate touching. And what to do about it. Would we be seeing articles like that? Maybe still some but not as many.
My mother taught me to watch out for predators. She told me not to talk to strangers, not to take candy from strangers and never get in a car with a stranger. When my kids were little, I taught them with the help of a booklet that later became a book called Child Lures. That book showed that, for example, if you put a kid's name on a t-shirt, the kid might not know the person talking to them is a stranger.. since that stranger knows his or her name. Also talked about a bunch of experiences including touching and I sure didn't hear anyone tell me that it was stuff I shouldn't teach my kids. Demmit, I was wanting to make sure they were SAFE and had some tools to use if they got into a bad or potentially bad situation. (I remember seeing on Oprah some years back a guy who showed the audience how easy it was to walk into a park, approach a kid on a swing and get that kid to come with... )Obama is a GOOD PARENT and I think it's wonderful that he wanted to put some age-appropriate stuff about that out for kids.
And it's utterly disgusting for McCain, who has clearly sunk to the bottom of the barrel, to suggest that Obama is some kind of predator himself for legislating that in. SHAME ON MCCAIN.