Article Title:Corrupting our children!
Author or Credit:Chris Banks
Published on:5th March 2004 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:160
Text:The AIDS Foundation mentions the three-letter “S--” word and gets huge quantities of a four-letter “S---” word for its trouble. Chris Banks explains what happened. Less than a week after releasing the worst HIV infection figures in the history of the epidemic, the AIDS Foundation is now being accused of corrupting the nation's youth and contributing to the anti-family agenda of the government, after a sex education class it presented at an Auckland college at the request of the school was complained about by parents. On Thursday morning, Newstalk ZB's Leighton Smith took a call from a disgruntled father who has a daughter at Auckland's Northcote College. “[I want to ask the Prime Minister] why she is trying to undermine me as a parent and through our high schools undermine parenthood?” asked the caller. “My daughter goes to Northcote College. She came home yesterday with a box of five condoms and strawberry flavoured personal lubricant... Now they had, I'll say they were gay, because they were gay, they said to all the children that they were gay...two gay guys from the HIV clinic to give a talk. The first question they asked the kids was who in the last 24 hours has masturbated? I don't know what that has to do with them...” And so, in the best tradition of the game of Chinese whispers that lights the fire under talk radio, all hell broke loose from there. The New Zealand Herald was onto the Foundation's health promotions manager Kerry Price in a flash, Northcote College's principal Ted Benton was denying all responsibility for a presentation his staff had sanctioned and the Foundation was left to pick up the pieces. Coverage continued on radio this morning, with Paul Holmes and Tau Henare on Newstalk ZB expressing the appropriate level of acceptable disgust over the affair, and Radio Pacific's Ian Wishart taking a particular interest in the strawberry-flavoured lubricant, suggesting that it was encouraging the kids to have oral sex. Price says he has been under seige since the story broke, not just from media, but from parents ringin up to abuse him and spout pithy phrases such as “you people are sick in the head”. So what on earth happened? “From my perspective we followed all the right procdures,” says Price. “The school rang us up - we're not in the habit of doing schools for this very reason. The school contacted us, we sent through the programme on the 14th January showing what would be presented. It was presented once and there were no problems - in fact we got quite a lot of praise from one of the teachers who was sitting in on the class.” Price says that teachers were present at all the classes, including the one complained about. Teachers had previously been “effusive” in their praise about the quality and content of what was presented. Various reports have made all sorts of lurid allegations, not only the discussions about masturbation, condoms and lube, but that leaflets were handed out discussing anal sex. Where has all this come from? “I think it's a beat up. Exactly the same presentation was given [as had been given previously]. The only difference I can tell from the two sessions was at one session a student asked a question. We have a policy that we will always answer questions, but we won't provide any more information than the question requires.” In terms of handouts, the students were given an NZAF resource called the “Toolbox”, which has been promoted through gay venues but contains no specifically gay references. “It is not a gay resource. It doesn't mention HIV. It doesn't mention ‘gay'. It talks about condoms, lube and male genitalia in the context of the resource,” Price says. So where does anal sex come into it? “The anal sex came from a question by one of the students. They asked a question and it was responded to.” Principal Benton is reported as saying that the school had taken all reasonable steps to check the nature and content of the talk, “but the way it was presented was not run past us”. He said that the use of the Toolbox resource had not been sanctioned, which Price disputes. “We don't have a response in writing, but the question was asked over the phone is it alright to hand these out, and the teacher said yes.” Price says despite the frenzy of complaints and media coverage, the school has not actually contacted the Foundation directly over the incident. “We haven't had any official word from the school. We could have sat down with them, worked out a response and avoided a big drama, but the principal is denying all responsibility and blaming us.” There is no doubt that incidents like these play right into the hands of conservative groups. At the end of the day, the details and truth of what happened don't really matter, because – we mustn't forget – it's all part of an evil conspiracy. Isn't that right, Leighton? “Why is it happening? I'm just absolutely furious...I'm going to be phoning up the school very soon,” frothed Leighton's angry parent caller. “I don't blame the school though, I blame the government, it's all part of the curriculum. The language they're getting taught... in this toolbox there's an instruction manual and it is just absolutely disgusting! The wording, what they're calling parts of our anatomy...” “Let me tell you why it's happening,” the wise one answered. “The excuse is presented that the kids need it because they're doing it anyway. The reason that it's really happening is because there are people who are hard at work, and have been hard at work - various people in different positions for a lengthy period of time - hard at work to try and undermine the authority of the family. And in spite of the denials that will bring from various quarters, that is the truth of it.” “I want to ask the Prime Minister why they have this agenda!” cried the caller. “Well, I suppose now's a good time to raise it because it fits in with the current revolution. It goes hand in glove with it,” Leighton concluded. “It's part of the politically correct, anti-establishment, anti-family movement that has been around for a long time... And I don't know you feel, but I don't feel it's a school's place to present a couple of people of whatever, gender, they choose to be and ask your kids who masturbated in the last 24 hours and send them off with a box of condoms. I would be outraged.” And they'll make sure there's plenty more to be outraged about before the year is out. Fasten your seatbelts, everyone. NB: It is worth noting that the complaining father admitted on-air that his wife was 16 years old and unmarried when their daughter was born. Apparently, sometimes people “make mistakes”, he said. Chris Banks - 5th March 2004    
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