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1970 sex education lawsuit Kansas--impressions and implications.

... For several months a small group of individuals calling themselves TASTE (Topekans Against Sex Training Education) had been holding public meetings aimed at discrediting sex education. Films used in the school program were their major concrete target. Ironically, the group publicly denounced such nationally accepted films as "Boy to Man" and "Girl to Woman" which they had borrowed for public viewing from the Shawnee County or the Kansas State Health Department, both of which make the films available, on loan, free of charge, to any citizen in Kansas for educational use. Their further objections in written form were circulated publicly, also through placement on car windshields in public parking lots and through door-to-door neighborhood petitions. These consisted of the by then familiar tirades against sex education as a "communist plot to demoralize youth" and against SIECUS as a major perpetrator of such a conspiracy.

Additionally, TASTE formally presented its complaints to the local school board and administration. Cooperative in hearing them, the administration stipulated in a policy ruling that parents sign permit notes for all programs in the Health Education, Growth and Development Curriculum which were interpreted as "sex education."

Subsequently the TASTE organization, not satisfied with these measures, attempted to institute a suit against the School Board. However, because the group did not meet certain legal criteria, its leader became the plaintiff as an individual, representing the "PEOPLE." As can be noted in the plaintiff's complaint ... previous public TASTE anti-communist and anti-SIECUS invectives were now studiously avoided and instead, the focus was moved to broad legal issues....

Following are the Court Conclusions of Law: (1)

* "Defendant is authorized by constitutional and statutory authority to conduct programs of education in promotion of the public health, welfare and morals."

* "The program of sex education being conducted by defendant is a reasonable exercise of its constitutional and statutory authority, and is reasonably related to the promotion of public health, welfare, and morals."

* "Defendant's program of sex education does not unreasonably restrict the liberty of plaintiff, in violation of Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States."

* "Defendant's program of sex education is not conducted in violation of the Ninth or Tenth Amendments to the Constitution of United States or Section Twenty of the Bill of Rights of the Kansas Constitution."

* "Judgment should be for the defendant."

... Thus the court in this case, having ensured a dignified trial before the judge, nurtured both the cause of justice and the educational principle of free inquiry of the intellect.


1. Memorandum Decision, Clemmer, Plaintiff v. Unified School District #501, Shawnee County, State of Kansas (May 12, 1970).

Evalyn S. Gendel, M.D.

Excerpted from SIECUS Newsletter, Volume 6, Number 1, October, 1970.
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Title Annotation:Forty Years of Advocacy SIECUS on Sexuality Education Controversies
Author:Gendel, Evalyn S.
Publication:SIECUS Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2004
Previous Article:2001 parents as sexuality educators for their children with developmental disabilities.
Next Article:1986 sex education must be stopped!

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