Parents may be surprised to learn that a “condom hunt” is part of a commonly used health curriculum in schools around the country, according to a whistle-blowing teacher.
“Schools across the country like my son’s school North Kingstown have chosen this platform because they approve of the content,” the teacher wrote.
The offending assignment asks students “to research the availability of condoms from a local store or other resource,” then answer such as where in the store they were located, which brands were available, and whether or not the products include lubrication or spermicide.
The assignment also asks several questions about whether the student would be comfortable “getting condoms” at the store and if the student would recommend it to a friend.
The HealthSmart K-12 Health Education Standards is an “approved curriculum that comes from the federal government,” Bessinger told The Lion.
“It might be called comprehensive sex education in other states,” she continued, clarifying the standards are fairly universal. “So whether it’s called Joe Smith, health ed, or HealthSmart ETR, it doesn’t matter. It’s all the same.”
The controversial activity was also criticized earlier this year when shared on X by medical and nutritional health expert James Cintolo, who said it was “part of the new sex ed curriculum approved by [Rhode Island].”
However, not all school districts are on board with the curriculum. In January, Fort Worth Independent School District decided to stop using it due to pushback from political leaders and parents, despite spending around $2.6 million on the curriculum in April 2022, and having used HealthSmart resources since 2014.
According to State Board of Education member Pat Hardy, the curriculum violates Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills as it uses terms such as “body with a vagina” and “body with a penis” instead of “male and female.”
ETR also sells number of related items in its store, including a condom demonstrator, a wooden object “designed to help educators and health care providers demonstrate how to use a condom,” demonstration condoms, a condom pamphlet on how to use them, and a female condom holder.
Gabrielle Chew, spokesperson for ETR, told The Lion that it’s up to school districts to decide whether or not the curriculum is compliant with state and local policies.
“Health Smart is a customizable skills-based k-12 health education curriculum that is comprised of over 400 sessions,” she said. “This flexibility gives school districts the autonomy for local decision-making to ensure all lessons align with their state and local policies.” Additional resources regarding our high-quality health education content can be found on our website.”
However, Bessinger’ questions whether the standards set in the resources are even measurable.
“The health standards, if you look at them online, are not measurable standards,” Bessinger told The Lion. “You’ll be able to see that these are feelings and thoughts and none of it is measurable. You cannot grade or measure a condom hunt.”