The Kootenay Lake school district is issuing an apology to parents and providing counselling resources to students after a graphic sex education guide was mistakenly distributed to elementary school students last week.
On June 20, a local public health nurse joined a grade 6/7 health class at Erickson Elementary School near Creston, B.C. to provide a scheduled lesson on sexual health.
A “safer sex guide,” published by the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE), was mistakenly distributed to students following the sex-ed class.
The booklet contains information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and the chances of getting an STI depending on the type of sex you have.
It includes sections on various sex acts, and allegedly uses graphic slang language for the sexual activities.
It also contains tips on how to reduce the chances of passing HIV or Hepatitis C while using recreational drugs during sex.
“If you snort drugs, use your own straw or bumper. Rolled-up sticky notes make single-use, disposable straw,” is one example in the safe sex on drugs section.
Tertina Sandre is a parent of a grade 6 boy at the school.
“He said, ‘mom, look, they are teaching us about finger f****** at school and I was just like, ‘pardon me?’ and I confiscated the book,’” she told Global News.
Other parents took to social media to share their stories of children coming home from school with the graphic sex guide and asking questions.
“Let me ask you then when you are putting your child to bed and instead of ‘good night love you’ I get ‘mom why would someone want someone to stick their fist up their a** or lick it,’” said one mother on a community Facebook page.
“Be thankful that your children are innocent still because mine is no longer innocent and has questions that I cannot answer!,” she wrote.
Another parent pointed out that children have unlimited access to the internet and shouldn’t be censored at school.
“At least it is factual, however inappropriate it may be. The internet if full of garbage, and misinformation,” she said.
A day after the incident, the school district superintendent, school principal and the public health nurse sent letters of apology to parents.
Kayla Benson with the Creston public health unit admits she did not “completely review” the booklet before distribution.
“Upon review, it was evident that there was some explicit language and content used that may not be appropriate for this age group,” she said.
Superintendent Christine Perkins, meanwhile, said the document from CATIE was not age-appropriate.
“Going forward, a more thorough vetting process will be ensured for all third-party resources being provided to students in all of our School District 8 classrooms,” she said in the letter.
“In addition, the District School Psychologist is composing a letter to the staff at Catie.ca with some recommendations for clarifying the appropriate audience of their materials before they are downloaded or accessed.”
A psychologist was on site at the elementary school on Tuesday and counselling services are being provided to parents and students if needed.