As we reflect on law and policy, it is often useful to see how changes play out in the practical, nitty-gritty of everyday life. For example, we can consider how progressives have, over time, separated love, sex, and marriage. Divorce has skyrocketed during the post-WWII years, out-of-wedlock children have come into existence by the millions, sexually transmitted disease has become rampant,cohabitation is becoming more and more popular with each passing year, the porno industry has captured the time, money, and imaginations of tens of millions of men on the Internet, and there is a gossip feeding frenzy regarding the immoral habits of celebrities. Pedophilia is being publicly defended as a legitimate activity, and being HIV positive is something, according to signs on NYC subways, that can be handled by partnering with one’s doctor and various city agencies.
The “new morality” is manifesting in many ways in our public high schools. Judeo-Christian values and traditional norms promoting integration of love, sex, marriage, modesty, and self-restraint are disappearing with the happy support of school administrations. Schools may not lead students in prayer, but are allowed to lead students into paths of sexual expression.
When this writer was teaching in the New York City public high schools, the sexual revolution expressed itself through sex education classes where the teachers instructed students on how to unroll and stretch a condom onto bananas and/or cucumbers. This was and is standard fare in “health ed” classes throughout NYC public high schools. However, in one high school where I taught, a unique a health center was created. There, students could have a 15-20 minute conversation with a “counselor,” and then be referred for an abortion without a parent’s consent (in New York State, parental consent is not required). When I had the audacity to rebuke one of the counsellors about her mission, she defended herself by stating that the students referred by her came from dysfunctional homes, and that the babies being aborted were being saved from entering those same environments.
While covering a class for an absent health education teacher, a sex ed textbook lay open on the desk. It stated that some people still prefer to wait until marriage to have sexual intimacy, and that these people should be tolerated. This was to show the magnanimity in the progressive mindset. The unity of love, sex, and marriage is no longer treated as a goal, but as a sub-species of intimacy merely to be tolerated.
A different chapter in the book had a comment about the male sex organ, and stated that many believe that there was a relation between size of said organ and pleasure in the sex act. However, the reader was cautioned that this was an urban legend, and that studies had shown that there was in fact no such connection. It was a relief to know that our teens were being disabused of this misconception.
On one occasion, a directive was issued that all history teachers would on a certain date pick up a lot of condoms and distribute them to the students in their classes to whomever requested them. Since I did not believe that part of my educational duties was to promote teenage fornication, and since condoms were readily available in corner grocery stores or pharmacies, I began thinking of creative ways to evade completing this assignment. One of the “ways” was prayer. The prayer was answered, and on the day before distribution, the assigned project was taken away from the history teachers, and given to a special condom office in the school.
As early as the late nineties, a new student club was formed, The Gay and Straight Alliance. The group’s sponsor, a young lady history teacher, knew about my Christian beliefs, and taunted me by swirling around the history department office and mockingly repeating, “I don’t have a soul. I don’t have a soul.” Notices announcing the club’s meetings were regularly put on walls throughout the school. It was clear that this club was not just to be a safe haven for same-sex attracted students but was to be a place for recruiting straight students into the homosexual lifestyle. The teen years with its many identity stresses is a fertile field for recruitment. The principal received a note from me asking him to imagine hallways with boys holding hands, hugging, and kissing. The exhortation was that he do all in his power to sabotage the club. However, there was no reply from the principal’s office, and my letter was quietly placed in my personnel file.
At one of the faculty meetings, the topic of student sexual harassment came up. The head of the Guidance Department was asked if boys hanging around the doors of the girls’ bathrooms was being considered “sexual harassment.” The principal leaped to his feet, and answered the question even before the Assistant Principal could get the words out of his mouth. “Absolutely not!” he replied. Here, lack of male respect for the female students was seen as perfectly innocent and normal.
Another custom at one of the high schools was Senior Cross Dressing Day. Under this rubric, senior males voluntarily dressed as females with dresses, bras, high heels, wigs, lipstick, nail polish or fake nails, and pranced around the school and attended classes in drag. Many of the males doing this were actually making fun of transvestites, but the school authorities saw this as innocent fun. However, when one teacher activist questioned this student activity to the administration, the parents, and teachers at a committee formed to form policies for student life, the reaction was overwhelmingly that they were just kids having fun. When the same teacher suggested that this could be traumatic if viewed by younger, 9thgrade students, and that all the major religions have scripture specifically rejecting men wearing women’s clothing, his presentation was scoffed at as taking the entire matter too seriously.
At the same high school in New York City, there was a regular Mr. and Ms. High School Contest. Photos of six or seven male students flexing their muscles and dressed only with jock straps was hung on the wall in the student cafeteria. Alongside the photo was another of girl contestants posing in skimpy bikinis. Additionally, in the same school, as is common in many high schools in New York City, there was one-day-a-year entitled Pajama Day. On that day, students of any year – freshmen through seniors – were invited to wear nightwear to school. Virtually all types of nightwear were present in the hallways and classrooms, from pajamas and bedroom shoes, to more revealing shorts and nighties. This too was considered part of the upbeat progressive, liberated model.
All of the above events flew directly in the face of the school’s dress code. But clearly the dress code was just there for window dressing. It was for prudes who still have an idea that schools are operating in loco parentis and are not just loco. Parents are not asked to give permission for their teenage children to participate in any of these events. Rather, the events themselves are expressions that the sexual revolution and sexual liberation is part and parcel of life without restrictive Judeo-Christian morality. These are but a few examples of how the disintegrating morality of society is expressing itself in our public education.