Perspectives; Thoughts; Comments; Opinions; Discussions

Reported By Brandon Showalter, Christian Post Reporter 

Students seen in a high school classroom. | Reuters/Stephane Mahe

Christians must “change their strategy” to keep graphic sex materials out of public schools, an expert has advised, following reports that an Ohio public high school has assigned freshman students to read a slam poetry book about a girl who liberates herself by abandoning her Christian faith and engaging in sexual promiscuity.

According to The Daily Wire, Hilliard Bradley High School, located near Columbus, the state’s capital, has assigned ninth-grade English students to read a poetry book titled, “The Poet X,”  in which the main character, named Xiomara, rejects her faith and engages in sexual activities at school as a minor.

Parents of students enrolled at Hilliard Bradley High School must ask their children to “opt-out” of reading the assigned book if they’re opposed to the “graphic content,” DW added.

“In the first two pages of the assigned poetry, the underaged main character Xiomara addresses drug dealers who cat-call her. At one point the drug dealer says that ‘church girls are all freaks.’” 

The book also reveals that Xiomara is pressured to send nude photos of herself to boys.

One of the poems in the book, by Elizabeth Acevedo, a National Poetry Slam Champion, is titled, “I Think the Story of Genesis Is Mad Stupid.” The book also features descriptions of graphic sex acts, including a poem titled “Fingers,” which describes masturbation. Another poem, titled “Hands,” describes Xiomara touching her love interest in a classroom setting. Yet another poem describes the main character and her love interest preparing to have sex.

Aaron Baer, president of the Columbus-based Center for Christian Virtue, said Christians and social conservatives who routinely object to this kind of thing have to change their strategy because as soon as they manage to make a school stop doing something objectionable, like teaching sexually explicit content, they’ll find another way to do it.

“The reality is that public schools have no meaningful accountability measures in place to stop the sexualization and harm to children,” Baer said in a phone interview with The Christian Post on Wednesday. “When a public school is failing and ignoring parents, they get more money from the taxpayers and government. So there is no incentive structure to stop schools from doing this level of harm to children.”

This is happening in public schools everywhere — in inner cities, suburbs and rural areas, he stressed. Teachers and administrators have been emboldened to teach such political and sexual curriculum to young people. He believes none of this will stop until universal school choice is a reality nationwide.

“I don’t care how many people launch campaigns to replace the school board or how many outrage campaigns there are … until the parents can say, ‘I don’t like what you’re doing and if you don’t stop, I’m taking my kid out and you’re going to lose the money for them,’ this will not change,” Baer said.

“There are no market forces on public schools to make them change. They have no incentive to listen to parents other than to maybe make them go away. What inevitably happens every single time we have a situation like this is, if we’re able to get the school to stop, within a few years, those parents move on and the school does it again.” 

The same Columbus-area school district had, in recent weeks, ordered teachers to have students lobby for a sexual orientation and gender identity bill at the state capitol building. “We got them to stop, and now there’s this [sexually graphic poetry],” Baer added.

“They’re not going to stop because there are so many teachers and so many bureaucrats and so many political forces inside the school that until the parents are able to hold the school accountable, it’s not going to get better. Christians and social conservatives broadly have, for too long, lived in this bubble thinking … ‘Well, if we could only just take over the school board and fight the curriculum, we could stop this.’ 

“We’ve done that for 50 years, and we’re now teaching that Christianity is evil and that boys can become girls. We have failed. We have to go for universal school choice. Anything else is a cop-out.” 

CP reached out to the Hilliard school district’s communications director for comment on this article but did not receive a response by press time.

Donna Senchesak, the director of the Parents for Educational Rights chapter in Ohio and a Hilliard Bradley parent, said in an interview with The Daily Wire that the district’s goal was to provide poetry written by non-white authors, though she was confused why the school opted for the graphic content. She withdrew her daughter from the class that was reading the book and said she will continue pushing back against the district on behalf of other parents and students.

“I am still fighting for these students and parents even though my daughter does not have to read it anymore,” she said.

“I am concerned for kids … that they can’t handle it.” 

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