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Back to February Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 145 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS FEBRUARY 1998
Alabama Board Says 'No'
to Objectionable Texts

BIRMINGHAM, AL-The Alabama State Board of Education, by a 7-1 vote, has refused to adopt six health textbooks that were recommended by the State Textbook Committee, on the grounds that they contain objectionable material.

Last fall, Alabama Eagle Forum sent a 12-page letter to each board member explaining why the textbooks should be rejected. Education co-chairman Jan Bolla and Eagle Forum Collegian Amy Makemson testified against adopting the books.

The rejected titles and their publishers, along with some of Eagle Forum's objections, are:

Perspectives on Health (McDougal Littell Inc.) "is invasive to students and their families. It appears to require that teachers act as clergy, psychologists, and family counselors. Students are taught that they can to go to family planning clinics for birth control, and obtain abortions without parental consent. The book's supplementary sex education materials violate the Alabama Abstinence Act."

HIV/AIDS (Glencoe/McGraw Hill), submitted for grades 6-8, "is age inappropriate, and fails to comply with the Abstinence Act because it promotes condoms and presents deviant sexual practices, including homosexuality, as normal."

Fearon's Health (Globe Fearon Inc.), written for special education students, "betrays the trust special ed children and their parents place in teachers and textbooks. It misleads and misinforms with regard to sexually-transmitted diseases and contraceptives, fails to include refusal as an option to sexual activity, and asks subjective questions such as, 'When does human life begin?' "

AIDS and Other STD's (Globe Fearon Inc.) "advises students to use latex condoms with the spermicide nonoxynol-9, without including the failure rates of condoms or the fact that nonoxynol-9 can increase the risk of bladder and yeast infections in women."

Self Esteem (Globe Fearon Inc.) "encourages students to participate in standard techniques of hypnosis, such as autogenic and progressive relaxation. This text violates a State Board of Education Regulation (which Eagle Forum helped pass in 1993) against these types of teaching techniques." (See Education Reporter, July 1993, page 1.)

Family Living and Sex Education (Globe Fearon Inc.) "contains four paragraphs on abstinence and 15 pages on birth control methods. A photo of an attractive teenage girl supports the 'pro-choice' position, while a sinister-looking man in dark sunglasses, hat and overcoat holds a 'stop abortion now' sign. This book also violates the Abstinence Act."

After the texts were rejected, board member Bradley Byrne offered a "Resolution in Support of the Abstinence Law," which passed unanimously. This resolution requires that the state's Abstinence Law be communicated to all health education teachers in Alabama public schools, and that the "books and materials approved by the Alabama State Board of Education be augmented with materials and teaching on (1) Moral and ethical reasons to abstain from sex outside of marriage; and (2) The latest medical data and statistics indicating the reliability . . . of contraception."

Byrne plans to amend his resolution to include "clinical, real-life failure rates of contraceptives for teens, because those are significantly higher than for adults."




 
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