Duke University administrators have begun reviewing one of its service learning courses that caused a stir amongst students and the greater Durham community. The course in question–Sexual Education for Preteens– became quite the conversation starter ever since it was announced last spring.
Service learning at Duke is nothing new; for the past for years, the phrase “knowledge in the service of society” has been thrown around as one of the key themes in Duke’s current strategic and academic plan. For this course in particular, “the service of society” is teaching elementary school kids about sexual intercourse and reproductive health.
“I thought this class would be an easy way to give back to the community,” participant David Rittenhouse said. “But then on the first day I realized I know nothing about the anatomy of vaginas.”
Duke has had a long standing relationship with various public elementary schools in the Durham County area, and knew that the schools had a need for more teachers who were willing to teach sex ed to 10 and 11 year olds.
“I’ve been doing this way too long,” said Mr. Arnold, a homeroom teacher at E K Powe Elementary School, “and every year it just gets worse. The spectrum of what kids already know about sex is extremely varied, like some kids don’t know what private parts are and some have already seen 50 Shades of Grey.”
“We were just really ready to give someone else a chance to teach sex ed, and Duke jumped at the opportunity,” said Ronda Paul, Durham County Schools superintendent.
At the beginning of last school year, students with an interest in education were encouraged to take the Sexual Education course. Many jumped at the opportunity because it only met once a week, but little did they know what lay ahead.
“From the get-go, none of them seemed prepared,” said Professor Carl Anderson, the instructor for the class. “They seemed to only be able to explain reproduction through jarring hand movements and strange tales from their experiences at Shooters. I would have been disappointed if the bar was not already set so low.”
Said a participant in the class, who asked to remain anonymous, “it was like every week we were walking into some sort of trap, over and over again. The kids are very inquisitive and I don’t know how to handle it.”
Anonymous’ thoughts were echoed by another student, who also wishes to remain anonymous, “I just really don’t know what a 5th grader is supposed to know, especially these days. Like, are we supposed to teach them how to put on a condom? Like, are we supposed to give them condoms? I honestly just don’t know. And I have done my research, believe me,” Anonymous winks, not so subtly.
The superintendent isn’t shocked by these results. “I knew from the start this was going to be an interesting experiment for us and the Duke students. I have little to no faith in them, but at least it’s giving my teachers a break from the whole birds and the bees talk.”
~This article is satirical in nature~