Sex book should stay put, school panel says

Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Anchorage School District's Controversial Issues Review Committee voted Tuesday to leave the sex education book ''It's Perfectly Normal'' on school library shelves.

The 10-3 vote followed testimony from Eric and Joan Egeland and Rick and Andrea Steele, parents of students at Oceanview Elementary School, one of 16 Anchorage middle and elementary school libraries with the book on their shelves. The Egelands and Steeles filed separate requests last spring asking the book be checked out only to those students who have parental permission.

The parents read aloud excerpts that describe sexual intercourse and say that kids curiously touching each other's bodies is normal. Rick Steele said the book undermines the district's commitment of teaching fifth- and sixth-grade students about abstinence.

The also parents objected to most of the book's illustrations. ''We do not believe a book with pictures of people having sex, naked bodies, people masturbating, people putting on condoms, a student having an erection in front of a school class, gay people hugging is necessary at the school level,'' Eric Egeland said.

The committee also heard from district staff members, who described how library books are selected and talked about the district's sexual education curriculum.

Goldenview Middle School librarian Linda Masterson moved to keep the book on shelves. Most of the committee members supported of the motion. The two PTA representatives, Kim Burgess and Lori McNeil, disagreed.

The committee ruling goes to superintendent Carol Comeau. She will pass that decision and her own opinion to the School Board. The School Board will rule on the book Oct. 8.

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