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"‘Go Ask Alice’ sex-ed site deemed too ‘graphic’ by politicians, parents"

on Wednesday, 26 October 2011. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

The Washington Post

New York politicians and parents are up in arms over new sex-ed curriculum required for sixth- and seventh-graders at city public schools starting next spring. The curriculum pushes for abstinence but also teaches condom use and alternative ways of having sex.

At the focus of their furor is Columbia University's Go Ask Alice Web site, a sex-education site named after the controversial 1971 book that tells the life story of a troubled teenage girl. The site is on the new curriculum’s recommended resources list.

The New York Post reports that some think the site tackles topics too mature for middle-schoolers, including sadomasochism, sexual positions, fetishes, pornography and more. The site has been praised in the past for offering information about sex to students in a safe, academic online forum.

Leading the charge against New York’s new curriculum and the Go Ask Alice Web site are the NYC Parents’ Choice Coalition and three Republican elected officials, including State Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore/Brooklyn).

Malliotakis calls the new curriculum “explicit and graphic.”

The assemblywoman cites as especially troubling the inclusion of the “Go Ask Alice” Web site on the recommended resources list, because it touches on topics like pornography, “swing clubs” and foot fetishes.

Salon.com’s J. Bryan Lowder acknowledges that the site may be geared for a college-age person. But he is one of many people now speaking out to say the site shouldn’t be dismissed altogether. Lowder writes:

The main mission of Alice is to provide a forum for solid, professionally moderated health advice on any sexual issue, from the most vanilla encounter to the deepest dungeons of kink (not to mention its wide-ranging coverage of non-sexual issues like nutrition, exercise, and stress management). In other words, your kid could do a great deal worse on Google. ...

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