ST. LOUIS - Too much, too soon and too graphic.
Some parents at Lafayette Preparatory Academy in St. Louis say the school's sex education curriculum is too racy for their second graders.
And they told 5 On Your Side's PJ Randhawa the school is making it difficult to opt out.
In response to our inquiries, school leaders made some immediate changes.
To many parents of second graders at Lafayette Academy, childhood should not include many topics on the school's new health curriculum.
"It's not age appropriate. They're using words like erection, ejaculation and masturbation. That's too much for 7 year olds," said Alesha Scott, mother to a Lafayette Academy second grader. "I don't think it's a topic I'm ready to address right now."
"She's just a baby," said Elisha Neely, mother to a Lafayette Academy second grader. "I would prefer for her to learn about timetables. Don't you have anything else to teach in class?"
Topics in the 'Whole lives' curriculum include gender identity, good touch/bad touch, puberty, masturbation, fetus development, gay/lesbian vocabulary and different family structures. Different versions of the program will also be introduced to all grade levels, including the kindergarten class as well.
Parents can opt out of the program if they pick their kids up about an hour early.
But according to a letter sent home by staff, students that opt out- are can't attend their regular afterschool programs because there is nowhere for the kids to wait, and no one to watch them.
"We as parents, some of us pay for after care. $200, $270. We're not going to be reimbursed," said Neely.
"It' like they're forcing you into it. If you can't pick your child up at an earlier time, they're forced to listen to the lesson," said Scott.
A few hours after 5 On Your Side talked to school administrators , they sent a note to parents indicating they would make a space available for those students who did not want to be a part of the program.
The school sent out this statement Monday evening:
"After hosting our latest meeting regarding the developmental health program, we have received feedback related to the opt-out procedure. As is the LPA way, we have heard your feedback and are making an adjustment.
If your student is opting out of the Our Whole Lives program, we will have an opportunity for her/him to be in an alternative location at LPA."
It's small comfort to these moms who are now worried opting of the school's health program out won't be enough.
"It's going to be talk during recess. So what my daughter missed in class, may be brought to her on the playground. Second graders talking about sex with each other," said Neely.
"I want to preserve and save [my daughter's] innocence for as long as possible. i just think this is like Pandora's Box...Opening up a lot more than a second grader should deal with," said Scott.
Lafayette Preparatory Academy Executive Director Susan Marino sent 5 On Your Side the following statement:
"With the input of families during several parent meetings in 2015 and 2016, Lafayette Preparatory Academy selected the Our Whole Lives curriculum to teach human development to our students. Our Whole Lives provides accurate, developmentally appropriate information about a range of topics related to human development. This information builds self-acceptance and self-esteem and fosters healthy relationships."
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