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Parents of Hardy Middle School Students Outraged After Minors Subjected to Graphic Sex Survey | Schools

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Parents of Hardy Middle School Students Outraged After Minors Subjected to Graphic Sex Survey
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Parents of students at Georgetown's Hardy Middle School knew that the DC Public School system would provide their children with sexual education courses.  They just didn't think said classes would involve such graphic content.

This past Tuesday, during a sex education session ran by Metro TeenAIDS, a DCPS contracted organization, 7th grade Hardy students were administered a survey to determine the extent of their sexual knowledge.

Parents feel as though the survey crossed the line and that the questions were inappropriate.

For example, students, some of whom are just 12 years old, were asked if they knew "the difference between oral, vaginal, and anal sex" or if they could “correctly put a condom on (them self) or (their) partner".

According to parental accounts, one student actually asked what the various sexual acts were, at which point the Metro TeenAIDS facilitator explained what they all meant.

There was an "opt out slip" that parents could have filled out if they didn't want their children to take part in the Metro TeenAIDS survey session---it just didn't go home with the children until after the questionnaire had already been administered.

The Metro TeenAIDS program runs sexual education courses that are facilitated mostly by 17-24 year olds, prompting parents to also question why DCPS has selected an organization involving such young educators.

The incident resulted in an uproar throughout the Hardy Middle community, so DCPS met with concerned parents today, Friday, October 15 in the school cafeteria.  The meeting began at 8:45 a.m. and lasted over an hour.

"It seems to be a bit of strategy on (DCPS') part to have the meeting this early in morning when people have to be at work," Eric Woods, a Hardy Middle parent who attended the meeting, said.  "I bet if (DCPS) had scheduled it at night, they would have seen a lot more than the five or so people who showed for this meeting."

Woods said that Diana Bruce, the Director of Health and Wellness for DCPS, as well as Hardy's principal, Dana Nerenberg, both of whom attended the meeting, did take good notes and were helpful, but said there is still a way to go to "gain (the parents') trust back".

"Metro TeenAIDS has had a long and positive relationship with DCPS using the 'Making Proud Choices' program, an approved, evidence-based curriculum designed for middle school students that addresses pregnancy prevention, HIV and STI prevention," DCPS spokesman Frederick Lewis said in a written statement.

"In 2008, nearly 7 percent of all District teenagers were diagnosed with Chlamydia, and District adolescents account for half of all Chlamydia and Gonorrhea cases in DC," Lewis continued.  "Both the 'Making Proud Choices' and DCPS health curriculum of which it is a part are in-line with the DC Health Learning Standards as well as the National Health Education Standards...We strongly believe that parents have a role to play in providing HIV/AIDS and reproductive health education, and we regret that our oversight resulted in affecting our parents' right to choose how their students receive this information."

More coverage on this story:

Eric Woods Video Interview

Hardy Middle School Parent Hajra Robinson Video Reaction to Survey

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