Friday, January 14, 2011

Students Taught 'Vagina Dance' in Illinois

Parents and students from a Crystal Lake, IL high school took exception to a sex education group exercise that taught female anatomy by "pointing to and singing about reproductive parts while prancing around the room, was set to the tune of the Hokey Pokey."

“[T]he teacher used such a cavalier presentation method, and forced a student to participate when he requested to abstain from it.”

UPDATE 1/18/11: Student's father provides inside-the-classroom details, including this description:
[The teacher,] Ms. Levin, who identified the activity as the "Vagina Dance," told her students that "the 'Vagina Dance' is like the Hokey Pokey. It goes along similar to the Hokey Pokey." She then told her students to stand up with legs apart. She demonstrated the dance; then she did it again with the students; and then she had the students do it two more times, while she observed.
First, she raised her arms parallel to the ground and rotated her hands (which represent ovaries) in circles, saying in a sing-song-y rhythm like the Hokey Pokey, "You've got the ovaries."

Then, she started doing arm circles, saying rhythmically, "You've got the fallopian tubes."

Then she placed both palms against her belly button and sliding them up and down her mid-section, she said "You've got the uterus."

Then she placed both palms against the groin area and sliding them from side to side, she said rhythmically, "You've got the cervix."

Then, with her legs apart, she placed her hands on her inner, upper thighs and sliding them up and down to the knees, she said, "You've got the vagina."

She concluded by rising up on her heels and moving the toes of her feet in and out, saying, "You've got the labia."

-- From "Sex ed teaching method questioned" by Larissa Chinwah, Daily Herald 1/12/11

The Illinois Family Institute, a nonprofit ministry based in Carol Stream, [IL,] posted an article on its website this week claiming Jacqulyn Levin, a health and physical education teacher at Prairie Ridge high school, taught students about female anatomy using “the Vagina Dance.”

School officials, however, called the characterization inaccurate.

The district's director of curriculum, Scott Kubelka, said the five-minute activity was used to reinforce information the students had previously learned through textbooks and other lessons.

Kubelka said the activity, which has been used in the past, was a kinesthetic way of explaining the female reproductive organs.

Robert King, a parent who complained to the district and the Illinois Family Institute back in October, said his son asked to be excused from the activity but was denied.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Group: PR health teacher's methods crossed line" by Brett Rowland, Northwest Herald 1/12/11

School officials said the [Illinois Family Institute's] report was incorrect.

“It’s inaccurate, and it’s a misrepresentation of the activity,” said Jeff Puma, a spokesman for Crystal Lake-based District 155. “There is no ‘Vagina Dance.’” [Yet, Principal Paul Humpa, referred to the classroom activity by this name, when he wrote to the parent -- see next article below.]

Laurie Higgins, director of the school advocacy division of the Illinois Family Institute, said she doubted if the activity would have taken place if a parent had been in the room or if the lesson had been videotaped and posted on YouTube.

“We as educators have a responsibility not to lower ourselves to the kind of cultural debasement that we see in the movies and on reality TV,” Higgins said. “That is not to say this reaches the level of ‘Jersey Shore,’ but I don’t think you cultivate modesty with a dance like the ‘Vagina Dance.’ ”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "The 'Vagina Dance' Taught in a Crystal Lake High School" by Laurie Higgins, Illinois Family Institute 1/10/11

[The teacher's] selection of this inappropriate instructional activity demonstrated a lack of empathy for those who may have a degree of modesty and self-respect that [the teacher, Jacqulyn Levin, herself] does not possess. Did she consider that some students might feel uncomfortable participating in or even watching this dance and that they might fear being ridiculed if they chose to opt-out?

Her decision to use this dance as a teaching tool also reveals that she has no commitment to fostering modesty (please don't be deceived by the attempt of "progressives" to conflate essential modesty with some kind of priggish, neurotic prudery). The very fact that a teacher would consider such an activity reflects how debased and immodest a culture we have. And it reveals that she has no regard for the values of all the families who have entrusted their children to her tutelage.

When a father complained about the dance, she defended it as a "kinesthetic" device to help students memorize body parts. The "kinesthetic" argument is simply a rationalization, an obvious and foolish attempt to conceal the inappropriateness and silliness of the activity with a patina of pedagogical legitimacy. Somehow few teachers in math, science, literature, or social studies feel the need to employ "kinesthetic" activities to facilitate memorization. If ever there was a subject in which "kinesthetic" activities would be inappropriate, it would be seem to be female sexual anatomy in a coed class.

Sounding a wee bit like Professor Irwin Corey, Principal Paul Humpa wrote the following non-sense to the concerned father:
I made a commitment to speak to Ms. Loeding, the PE department chairman, and Ms. Levin, your son's Health teacher, about alternative strategies to teach the female reproductive system....My request of Ms. Loeding and Ms. Levin was to investigate a variety of alternative instructional strategies to be used to present the female reproductive system in lieu of the Vagina Dance. Through their efforts, I expect that thorough research of effective instructional strategies and activities designed to address different learning styles will be conducted. These strategies would certainly not exclude the potential use of kinesthetic methodologies.
This is the kind of rhetorical runaround conservative parents regularly experience when challenging inappropriate activities and resources.

Parents often rationalize their silence by saying that an offensive activity, or scene in a film, or passage in book is too trivial to address. They fail to realize that cultural change rarely happens through dramatic single events but rather through the slow accretion of little occurrences we ignore or dismiss.

Click here to read
the entire commentary above, which urges citizens to properly engage their local school systems.