A high school in Oregon has pulled a sexually suggestive class assignment that asked students to write a short story about a “sexual fantasy” after receiving backlash from parents. Health class students who missed assigned coursework at Churchill High School in Eugene were asked via an online learning management system, Canvas, to complete a 10-point assignment titled “Fantasy Story.”
The assignment read, “For those students who were absent, you will write a short story of a paragraph or two. This story is a sexual fantasy that will have NO penetration of any kind or oral sex (no way of passing an STI).”
The assignment also specified that students choose to use three items, such as feathers, flavored syrup, and candles, in their stories.
“Your story should show that you can show and receive loving physical affection without having sex,” added teacher Kirk Miller at the end of the assignment. The assignment was posted to a Facebook group, receiving hundreds of comments from parents within an hour of appearing.
“If an adult male asked my daughter to share her sexual fantasies with him, I would be livid and be going to the police. No teacher has any business asking this of a child,” said one parent.
One concerned parent said students in the class were left feeling “mortified, awkward, and creeped out.”
“The district reviews these curriculums before they get approved, right? Did they actually read this? If this was reviewed, how did it slip through the cracks? I could see this easily becoming a national scandal,” the parent continued.
Principal, district defend curriculum
After the backlash, Missy Cole, the school principal, sent a letter to parents noting that the administration is cooperating with the district office to “review the 2016 adopted secondary health curriculum —OWL: Our Whole Lives to determine the full context of the assignment.”
“At this time, the assignment has been removed from the class syllabus and will not be a part of students’ grades. The OWL curriculum is utilized by many districts across the state and is endorsed by the Oregon Department of Education,” said Cole.
Cole maintained that families are provided with their student’s course syllabus at the start of each term and are free to opt their student out of any coursework. She said the school welcomes discussions and reviews of the curriculum by families.
“Additionally, the district has begun the process of reviewing and selecting a new health curriculum to replace the OWL content that will be completed by the end of the school year,” said Cole.
The Eugene 4J School District confirmed that the assignment was given to students but has since been removed from the syllabus and not used for grading purposes.
In a statement to the New York Post, Melanie Davis, OWL program manager, said the district was following an “unauthorized” and “out-of-context” facilitated group activity that is currently out of print.
Gordon Lafer, who serves on the school board, said the assignment on sexual fantasies “should not be part of our curriculum.”
Further scrutiny into the “Health 2 Human Sexuality” course found that students were also given an assignment called “With Whom Would You Do It.” The project included a virtual spinning wheel that was labeled with sexual categories. Students allegedly were then directed to respond when the wheel stopped spinning.
Parent Justin McCall, when speaking to KEZ, said his daughter was “very, very, very uncomfortable” in class throughout the assignment.
“Especially when [the teacher] put up the generated spinning wheel, and it had anal penetration and oral sex up there. Here and her best friend did not participate in that. But they still got graded,” added McCall.