After a New York Times Op-Ed ignited controversy about the NYC Department of Education’s new middle school sex ed curriculum last week, local pols are speaking out against it and demanding an alternative.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore/Brooklyn) joined Representatives Bob Turner (R-Queens/Brooklyn) and Michael Grimm (R-Brooklyn/Staten Island) today in calling the program “explicit and graphic” and demanding the school system provide an abstinence-based alternative.
In a written statement, Malliotakis acknowledged the need for sex ed but argued that this particular curriculum is being forced on children by the New York Department of Education. Turner added that parents had no say in the mandate and that, “The Archdiocese of New York, Orthodox Jewish groups, Muslims, many are saying this is a sensitive and delicate subject, and they want more say in what is taught.”
The event yesterday was largely informed by a group called the Parents Choice Coalition, which is adamantly opposed to the mandate. The group’s executive director is a former Democratic Assemblyman from the Bronx, Michael Benjamin. He argued: “New York is a multicultural city whose residents hold a variety of deeply held beliefs and social traditions. It’s wrong to force them to choose between what the city is planning and no sex education at all.”
According to silive.com, State Senator Marty Golden (R-Brooklyn) was at the Monday press conference with Turner and Malliotakis while Grimm, who sent a representative, was in Washington.
Much of the controversy stems from accusations by the Parents Choice Coalition, whose website includes curriculum samples, such as workbook activities like mapping out routes to abortion clinics and sample answers from Colombia University’s Go Ask Alice website – a site which includes discussions on foot fetishes, pornography and swing clubs.
For his part, Department of Education Chancellor Dennis Walcott is not backing down. “Abstinence is a very important part of the curriculum,” he told reporters. “But we also have a responsibility to ensure that teenagers who are choosing to have sex understand the potential consequences of their actions and know how to keep themselves safe.”