NYC kindergarteners learn 'not all boys' 'have a penis' during HIV/AIDS lessons for children

“Some girls wear dresses, some girls won’t, some girls have vulvas and some girls don’t.”


As part of its "Growing Up and Staying Safe: New York City K-12 HIV Education Curriculum" New York City is presenting a book to four and five-year-olds that teaches that "not all boys" have penises.  

According to the We Teach NYC website, the third lesson for Kindergarteners in the revamped HIV curriculum is a video reading aloud the book "These are my Eyes, This is my Nose, This is my Vulva, These are my Toes" by St. Louis-based sex educator and therapist Dr. Lexx Brown-James. It was first reported on by the New York Post.  

The website claims that the book supports "students in learning the name of basic body parts, including the medical terms for genitals" and "serves as a foundation for teaching students about setting boundaries and reporting inappropriate touch to trusted adults." 

The book teaches children that not all boys have penises, and not all girls have a vulva. It also promotes the idea of asking others for their pronouns, and that some people can identify as neither a boy nor a girl. 

“Some girls wear dresses, some girls won’t, some girls have vulvas and some girls don’t,” the book says. “Some boys have a penis but not all boys do. To always use your manners, ask ‘What may I call you?'” 

"EJ is not a girl or a boy. So not he or she. To show you care, always use ‘they,’ ‘them’ and ‘theirs,’” it says on another page. 

The New York City Public School says that New York State law requires elementary school children to receive five lessons of health education every year. It recommends 45 45-minute class periods per week. In Grades Kindergarten through fifth grade, students are required to have five lessons on HIV per year as well. 

Speaking about the teaching of the book, co-founder of the nonprofit Restore Childhood Natalya Murakhver told the New York Post, "It's beyond inappropriate." She added, "This is graphic content that, if it’s introduced, I think it should be introduced in the home, not in the schools." 

Another parent revealed that she was not given an opt-out option when she was informed that her 5-year-old would be given the lesson. "It makes me nervous because, if they’re going into this much detail in kindergarten, what is it going to be like by third, or fourth grade?” 

When the state Department of Education announced the first update to its curriculum since 2012 in September, school Chancellor David Banks revealed, "This new HIV curriculum incorporates direct feedback from our educators and student focus groups, is grounded in equity and anti-bias, and is aligned with Social-Emotional Learning Competencies." 

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