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Paperwork snafu forces Halfway School District to stop sex-ed program

Published: Nov. 2, 2017 at 6:04 PM CDT
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A paperwork snafu has forced one school district in the Ozarks to stop it's sex-ed program -- that was supposed to go on this week.

We all know sexual education in middle and high school is a sensitive subject. That's why Halfway schools normally sends home a permission slip before its State mandated abstinence course. But this year that permission slip never went out and now one mother says the school violated her right to take her son out of that class before he learned things she says were vulgar and not age appropriate material.

"I was mainly shocked," said Tamara Thomas.

Shocked at what her 13-year old son said he learned at Halfway Middle School Monday.

"He told me in detail what they learned about. It was very age inappropriate," she said.

Thomas is angry Halfway Schools didn't let her know when the sex-ed course was coming up. She prefers to talk to her son directly about such matters. She says what her son heard was too graphic and too detailed for her son.

"The children were not given an option, the adults were not given an option and we had no clue what the content of it would be or how it would be presented," she said.

According to Missouri State Law a school district has to notify parents of the sex-ed instruction and provide all curriculum that will be used. Parents also have the right to opt out, something Thomas says she would have done had she known the class was going to be on Monday.

But she didn't.

"We sent the permission slip (to the school) in the middle of October," said Amanda Patterson with Alpha House who addressed the issue in a Facebook Live on Wednesday.

Alpha House is the Bolivar based organization the school uses to teach the State mandated abstinence based sex-ed course.

Alpha House says it is the responsibility of the teacher or school to make sure those permission slips get sent home because they say it's a big part of their curriculum.

"It didn't happen and it is a big deal because the parents need to have some notice so they can be ready," Patterson said.

Halfway School officials admit, they didn't send those permission slips but also says alpha house didn't check to make sure they were in before they started teaching.

After the first day of the week long program, and a Facebook post that went viral about the graphic nature of what was allegedly taught in that class, the school stopped the program.

But Thomas says the damage is done and claims what her son learned in that one class has already affected him.

In a phone conversation Halfway High Principal Lance Roweton said "No one was trying to do anything wrong...We just want to do what's right by the kids and educate them the best we know how on a sensitive subject."

Both the school and Alpha House deny anything was talked about in the class that was age-inappropriate but Thomas says, when it comes to sexuality, she is the one that gets to decide what is and what isn't age appropriate for her son.

"It should have been handled a lot differently," Thomas said.

Halfway school officials say they used Alpha House to meet state mandated, abstinent focused, sex-ed. The school says Alpha House is booked solid and are now scrambling to fit in the state mandated curriculum that Alpha House was going to teach its students.

Thomas says she is pulling her son out of public school and will start home-teaching him. She had already been leaning that way weeks before this incident occurred.