Idaho Teaching Porn Literacy To Elementary Students

In sex education classes, Idaho school children learn about porn literacy with a suggestion that they watch cartoon characters perform sex acts.

By Kari Apted | Published

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Porn literacy hardly sounds like a concept that should be taught to elementary schoolers, but Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) sex education curriculum recently included it. The questionable curriculum was acquired from Education, Training and Research (ETR), a special interest nonprofit that promotes normalizing porn consumption, queering education, and other controversial topics. The course of study was developed by and endorsed by Planned Parenthood, and may have been approved because some education experts feel that in-depth sex education is beneficial to children.

Much of the public outcry over the porn literacy content started when a Zoom conference video was shared by the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF). IFF is a conservative advocacy group that states its mission is to “make Idaho into a Laboratory of Liberty by exposing, defeating, and replacing the state’s socialist public policies.” With over 180 teachers charged with sex crimes—including child pornography—during the first half of 2022, parents may turn to conservative think tanks like IFF for support.

In the video, the concept of porn literacy is defended by linking it to critical thinking skills. The speaker says that critical thinking skills are vital to teaching porn literacy because young people should be encouraged to analyze and ask questions about the media they’re viewing. ETR introduces children to the idea of porn consumption by suggesting they watch cartoon characters perform sex acts on YouTube videos produced by AMAZE Org—which some say is really a way of grooming kids to normalize porn and early sexual activity.

State law requires Idaho sex ed classes to reinforce traditional family structures. The name of ETR’s curriculum, Reducing the Risk, seems to fit the bill by promising to teach abstinence. But a delve into its pages reveals instructions on pleasure, kink and power, detailed sex acts, and how porn consumption enhances sexual exploration.

Despite the evidence pointing to the contrary, IDHW has vehemently denied supporting or funding porn literacy for children. In a news advisory published on Sept. 14, 2022, the Department of Health and Welfare stated that its curriculum doesn’t teach porn literacy, nor does it “collaborate with or seek the endorsement of Planned Parenthood for sex education curriculum.” The letter says that high schools and school districts can offer Reducing the Risk as part of their sex ed curriculum, but parents can choose whether their child opts in or out of the program.

The IDHW letter defends the Reducing the Risk curriculum, saying it is a medically accurate curriculum that closely follows National Health Education Standards for teaching sex education. These standards include educating kids on the best ways to say no to sex and how to avoid catching sexually transmitted infections. According to IDHW, the curriculum also covers abstinence planning, birth control methods, and how to talk to parents or caregivers about their values surrounding sex.

Although the IDHW denies ever promoting porn literacy, an IFF article dated Sept. 16, 2022, provides evidence that the Idaho government had covertly removed or hidden those specific resources from its website. IFF included screenshots from Wayback Machine to prove that IDHW also removed resources relating to abortion, gender transition, and teaching kids how to hide their internet browsing history from their parents. So far, the IDHW has not provided a statement explaining the sudden disappearance of the questionable content.