Canadian school accused of giving kindergarteners homework assignment on masturbation

Children play in their kindergarten run by a private foundation which is not affected by the nursery caretakers' strike in Hanau, 30km south of Frankfurt, Germany, May 8, 2015.
Children play in their kindergarten run by a private foundation which is not affected by the nursery caretakers' strike in Hanau, 30km south of Frankfurt, Germany, May 8, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

A school in Canada has been accused of assigning kindergarteners a worksheet instructing them about how and where to touch their private parts, raising concerns about exposure to sexually explicit material.

The popular conservative social media account Libs of TikTok posted a Substack earlier this month accusing the T'lisa̱lagi'lakw School in Namgis First Nation of British Columbia of distributing the worksheet. 

The worksheet states that some "children like to touch their own private body parts and some don't." It also asks students to "draw a picture of the private places where you can touch your penis or vulva if you want to" and to come up with "private places" where they could do so. 

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Namgis First Nation Chief Don Svanik said officials are investigating the incident and reviewing the school's curriculum standards for physical and health education, reported The Times Colonist of Victoria on Wednesday.  

Students received the assignment as part of an education program on physical health and bodily safety adapted from Kerri Isham's Body Smart: Right From the Start, a sex education program workbook described as appropriate for kids ages 3 to 7. 

The T'lisa̱lagi'lakw School and Kerri Isham did not immediately respond to The Christian Post's request for comment. 

As The Post Millenial reported, the incident generated attention after someone identified as an alleged parent of a student shared the worksheet in a now-deleted Facebook post.  

"You know I was going to keep quiet and handle this quietly but f*** it," the unnamed parent wrote, as quoted by the Post Millennial. "#1, I was not informed this would be discussed, no info came home beforehand. #2 my daughter is in JUNIOR KINDERGARTEN!" 

"I did call the school and I'll be doing a formal written complaint as well."

The parent who alerted Libs of TikTok about the situation later amended the original statement once the school indicated it was not aware of the assignment. 

"It was supposed to be just the good touch/bad touch program, which is what I agreed upon at the beginning of the year. It teaches their body parts and that nobody is allowed to lay hands on their body; their body is their own, which I thought, yeah, that's right," the parent stated.

"So we can't really blame the school for this situation, because the school had no acknowledgment of this, this is an inside problem that is being dealt with by the school, and they're just determining what decision they are going to make."

For her part, Isham said that parents are meant to work through the book with their kids, noting that "all families have different rules about masturbation." 

"Some kids like to touch their private parts and some don't — that's true, there's no debate over that," Isham said, as quoted by the Times Colonist.

"And if you're going to do that, you only can do that in a private place. Where are your private places? And they draw a picture of [their] bathroom or bedroom." 

Isham understands why some parents might be upset, saying she would feel the same way if she saw the worksheet without the proper context. 

"It is also difficult for teachers to teach this topic," she continued. "They don't get the training, they don't necessarily have the resources, you can see that they don't have parental support, they may not have support from their principals. When they do teach it, they get in trouble, and they are shamed for it."

The sex education book author claims she has received death threats since the post about the worksheet went viral. But she still believes teaching children about sex education "early" does not "strip them of their innocence" but instead keeps them safe from sexual abuse.

Earlier this year, Enfield Public Schools in Enfield, Connecticut, garnered outrage from parents and advocacy groups over a "Pizza & Consent" assignment asking eighth-grade students about their sexual preferences.

The first page of the assignment, obtained by the advocacy group Parents Defending Education, notes that "We can use pizza as a metaphor for sex!" It concludes by instructing students to "start a conversation," contending that "It's the only way sex (and pizza) can be comfortable and enjoyable for everyone."

The second worksheet page encouraged students to "explore" their sexual preferences.

For the Jan. 27 school board meeting, parents submitted complaint videos. A mother named Amanda asked when it became "acceptable for a teacher to ask a student what their sexual wants, desires and boundaries are?" 

She refused to accept the explanation that the "incorrect version of this assignment was posted in the curriculum by mistake and inadvertently used for instruction in the classroom." 

"Why didn't the teachers that taught this assignment catch it and question it? Do they just teach the curriculum blindly, not questioning the morality of assignments required for the unit?" she continued. 

"Why didn't our curriculum committee catch this? What is their role, if not to oversee the curriculum and make sure that these types of mistakes don't end up as homework for our children?"

Enfield Schools Superintendent Christopher Drezek apologized to parents at a Feb. 8 school board meeting, calling the assignment a "mistake" and "inappropriate."

The superintendent insisted the worksheet was given in "error" and assured parents there's no hidden agenda or secret cabal to indoctrinate children. 

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