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Legislating Morality

Monday, February 20, 2012

My indignant side came out the other day, Thursday to be exact. It wasn't pretty. As I've grown older I've learned to let things slide that I never would have before. Thursday was not one of those days.

The following incident struck me the wrong way (I was in a pissy mood anyway) and because one of my kids was involved, morality was involved and teaching my kid something that I feel should be left to the parents was involved, I went into overdrive.

I guess I should preface this with  I CAN, and do, see both sides of the situation, I really can. The thing is, the school does NOT know more about my child than I do, I've been a stay at home mom for 24 years, I know my kids. I get really fired up when I feel the school is trying to take on my role as a parent.

That's one reason most of my kids were homeschooled for the majority of their education. When they did go back to school they went back as socially rounded, confident, honor students. They did amazingly well except for my mischief maker.....he knows who he is.....but he did go back with an outstanding grasp on his education, his social skills and his balanced outlook on the world. He just happened to be my kid that loved fun, pranks and making kids laugh, which meant he spent a fair amount of time the hallways. But as far as academics, he had them more than down.

My son that was "forced" into this objectionable, to me, program is an eighth grader. I approved most of the curriculum for his health class. Evidently I dropped the ball and didn't read the fine print before I crossed out what would and would not be acceptable for them to teach him in health, or in any other class. 

The cause of my, now kind of kind of  embarrassing unleashing, is a program called RealityWorks. That's where school kids are given a choice, complete a HUGE packet of work or take a RealityWorks, real life, simulated newborn home for the weekend. What kid is going to choose to do a HUGE packet of what they see as voluminous work over a baby doll?

Not so bad you say? I agree on most fronts, especially after seeing the doe eyed girls in the class claim "their" baby, naming them, and cuddling them like the dolls they are. I remember those days, the days thinking a baby would be the answer to everything. I also didn't have parents that dared mention such things. Nor did they explain how a baby would complicate my life. So maybe Realityworks would have been good for me, a child that had very little parenting and very little parental direction.

BUT ( see how big a "but" that was), as a VERY involved parent with my kids' morality and sex ed, it pissed me off that the VICE PRINCIPAL admitted to me that it was indeed a morality program. She got quite the earful from me. It's for me to indoctrinate my kids, haha, not them!

No one legislates morality to my children. They learn that from what goes on within the walls of our home and within the confines of our conversations. They learn from our mistakes and our triumphs. I don't appreciate the assumptions that are being made by the school.

I can see the doll as a tool used to educate about child abuse, I can see it used as a tool for teaching children that have no concept of the reality of a how a newborn changes lives permanently, kids that have uninvolved parents or at risk youth. 

In this program kids are fitted with an electronic bracelet, they are given a bottle, two diapers with sensors and the creepy baby that always has it's eyes open AND following you. 

What I have a problem with is the school system legislating morality to kids. That job belongs to the child's FAMILY.

Yes, I've had kids that have made mistakes, yes I've made mistakes. But when someone else steps in to take my place as a parent I get a little pissed off.

This has nothing to do with the lessons the simulated baby teaches the children, but it should be my choice, not the school's.

Also that damned baby cried ALL WEEKEND and, as we all know, I am SO over babies! 

You know what my kid learned about the baby? He learned  that new parents NEVER get a hot meal. Another thing he learned was how to prop the bottle up so he didn't have to feed the screaming plastic Nero, well, I guess we've all done that at one time or another.

Even though I can see the benefit, don't shove your morality, cloaked in "good intentions," on my kid....let me do that. 


Outcast February 20, 2012 at 8:56 AM  

I hate those things, the babies, I don't think it's the best way to teach children in my opinion. Interesting post though Diva as always.

Unknown February 20, 2012 at 9:16 AM  

It is supposed to discourage them from becoming teen parents with the realities of what a new born is really like. Thus far I have yet to see a change in the pregnancy rate here. Now they are having babies in MIDDLE school before they ever get to high school. Like you I teach at home, I tell them what they are not ready for and it's not as easy as it looks. But it doesn't dissuade them because kids will be kids. But again it is MY place to teach them and the schools to possibly reinforce if they come to them with questions. Not act like we have taught them nothing.

The Bipolar Diva February 20, 2012 at 9:18 AM  

I've had other HUGE issues with the high and mighty schools in our district so every little thing they do strikes a nerve.

Jessica Warrick February 20, 2012 at 9:20 AM  

I completely understand were you are coming from. We as parents need to teach our kids morales. We dont need the school dictating to our children about morality. I agree with the dolls to a certain extent. They are good imaginary teachers for young children to know the end result of a pregnancy but it doesnt teach them about the financial responsibility attached to kids, it doesnt teach them the humility of being a pregnant teen, and it doesnt offer them any suggestions on how to deal with said situation. It only teaches them that babies cry, alot, and that they have to feed them and diaper them. The baby dolls are not infact real kids and so they do not behave as real kids so it gives a misguided judgement of what a real baby would be like.

Unknown February 20, 2012 at 10:09 AM  

I completely understand where you are coming from. Our school has a similar program but here, the teacher matches up a girl and a guy and both of them are responsible for this doll. Making them one little happy couple for two weeks. I think it's weird:)

I too have been a stay at home mom. Mostly because I want to be the one who ruins them LOL (Not some stranger). My morals, values. and what happens within the confines of our home is no one (especially the school's) business. It is not there place to teach morality to my children.

On the other hand, some children are not taught at home those things in which need be and the school is the only teaching aid that some of them have. It is very sad and disheartening, but it is the truth.
I have a lot of opinions about this countries educational standards, but we will get to them another time. Have a Good One Teri......Oh happy day!

Impulsive Addict February 20, 2012 at 10:11 AM  

I secretly wanted to do this in high school but it wasn't an option. He looks good holding that creepy looking baby! I completely understand and agree with you being upset and wanting to be the one that teaches such lessons. I was a public school teacher and I'm thinking about homeschooling Emma. That's pretty bad, huh?

Candace February 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM  

In grade 9 we had to carry around a large bag of sugar. It didn't cry but it sucked...hence me having zero children right now. I only wish the schools in which I've taught would have this type of program, not along the lines of mORALITY but along the lines of reality. My students started getting pregnant in 9th grade through 11th grade, which means they should have been learning about sex in grade 6 but they weren't. they weren't hearing it from their parents, and thei rmiddle schools were so bad (constant rotations of teacher lay offs etc) that there was no one for the kids to trust to have these conversations with. don't get me started on the shift away from critical thinking and judgement development towards a test taking focued curriculum.

I had so many pregnant girls in my advisory class that it became a joke amongst the teachers that I was the fertility goddess or the pro-life advisory teacher. I'll take some education over no education and honestly, if the program upsets parents enough to talk to their kids about sex and sexual consequences then I'm 100% for it. I'm 100% for anything that gets parents talking to their kids because everyday I meet parents from all ranges of class (from lawyers to kitchen cleaners) who just aren't talking to their kids. It mostly comes down to an issue of time ("i have to work 24/7 to make this life happen. " "I'm more interested in me 24/7 then you, kid.") and the conversations not happening at all. I'm glad you're talking to your kids. I'm glad there are programs like this for kids who aren't having these conversations with anyone else except their peers.

Candace February 20, 2012 at 10:40 AM  

Also, this year teen pregnancy rate has gone down!

The Bipolar Diva February 20, 2012 at 10:46 AM  

I have no problem with the problem and I think it has it's benefits, however I DO have a MAJOR problem with the school stepping in to, as I said, legislate morality to my kids. Had the VP not admitted that I probably would have been ok with it. Even though my kids have been exposed to babies since they were born. They see the reality, they live the reality, they walk the reality. I also am aware that not every family has our particular dynamic. However, as for the teen pregnancy rate going down, I don't think it has to do with a doll in school.

Dazee Dreamer February 20, 2012 at 11:16 AM  

when my oldest son brought home his baby, it was quite nice to see he had to get up in the middle of the night to feed it. They never said it was a morality class. He was glad when the baby went back to school.

He is a fantastic father now tho. So maybe it did something for him.

Tami February 20, 2012 at 12:15 PM  

I have heard of this but our school does not participate. Unfortunately there is a lot of teen pregnancy. I believe if the children were taught at home then the teen pregnancy rate would be lower. I don't think the schools should be responsible for teaching morals or their views on parenting.

April February 20, 2012 at 1:49 PM  

I wish we had that at my daughter's school. My daughter is bi-polar (high sexual tendency side),ODD, ADHD and has always wanted a baby. I have talked to her over and over about morals and hope I have gotten through!
But if she got one with the school I would wanted her to deal with it longer that a weekend! With her for it to really sink in it would have to be a week!!

Praying to make it through the teenage years!!

Osbasso February 20, 2012 at 3:26 PM  

Can't wait for Gucci to get over here!

Rob-bear February 20, 2012 at 4:36 PM  

I have some real problems with the program as outlined. I agree it is an interesting educational process. I'd like to have a lot of involvement with my children if they were going to get into something like that. It could be a good learning experience for parents and children.

That said, when morality is reduced to rules about sex (that's what is happening in much of the US), I have a huge problem. There is so much more to morality than sex, and politicians who make sex their primary platform policy are, for me, scary.

highheeledlife February 20, 2012 at 4:56 PM  

Great post! Schools often complain that parents do not take an active role ... Then they try to take on a parent's role. ~ We do not have children (not by choice) but I so agree with you, it is part of being a parent to teach morality to their children, not a school's.

The school should also take into consideration how much chaos/stress this doll could end up causing in household.

Besides, don't they remember - you are too old for this baby stuff.. LOL... xo Hugs, my friend..xo HHL

Anonymous,  February 20, 2012 at 6:33 PM  

God don't get me started.

If the schools put more effort into making sure no child was being left behind...or perhaps the disturbing number of children being bullied, as opposed to playing house and teaching them to weave duct tape purses...we might be moving in a better direction.

Damn it Diva. I'm trying to keep my blood pressure down!

The Bipolar Diva February 20, 2012 at 7:02 PM  

Sorry Boobies about the blood pressure. It does it to mine as well. You mentioned bullying. It took me years and threats of lawsuits before the school district would enforce their "zero-tolerance" bullying policy regarding my autistic son.

Debbie February 20, 2012 at 7:19 PM  

totally agree that its a parents all times!

Unknown February 20, 2012 at 7:21 PM  

My son had to bring one of those plastic noisemakers home in his junior year, which I think is way too late for the "lesson." thankfully it was for only one night and they didn't add the morality clause to the experience. I understand why you would be so upset.

The Bipolar Diva February 20, 2012 at 7:23 PM  

Basically I guess for me it all comes down to the fact that it should be MY choice, not their mandate.

Carol-Anne February 20, 2012 at 7:49 PM  

I woke up one night, recently, to hear the sound of a newborn baby crying in my teen-aged son's room. I almost had a heart attack, thinking he'd brought some friend over who had just given birth or that his girlfriend had had a baby or something....

Turns out it was just one of these stupid dolls!

I'm alright with it, from a morality point of view, because he goes to a Catholic school and I KNOW what they're going to teach him on this subject and that it's part of the whole Catholic deal.

If I was in your situation, though, I would not be happy with this. I can certainly see why you weren't thrilled. You obviously do your job and don't need your school to do it for you.

Gucci Mama February 20, 2012 at 8:19 PM  

I have several issues with this.

I'll hold while everyone recovers from that shock.

First, these kids are way way way too young for this kind of indoctrination. They have neither the maturity nor the life experience to grasp the meaning of parenthood, regardless of whether they have to cart around a plastic doll for the weekend.

People keep saying, "More sex ed! 'Free' contraception!" as if that's some kind of answer to the horrifying teen pregnancy, STD, and abortion rates. If this were true, would we not be seeing the fruits of its success?

But the people behind most public school sex ed curriculum (Planned Parenthood in most cases) do not want their programs to be successful. Not really. They want to a.) indoctrinate impressionable future voters and b.) create future customers. They take the stigma out of teen pregnancy. They take the shame out of sleeping around and being easy. They take something sacred shared between consenting adults and work hard to convince our children - CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS NINE OR TEN - that sex is something that's no more important than what you're having for lunch on a given Tuesday.

Is it any wonder, then, that teen pregnancy, STDs, and abortion rates are absolutely out of control? I do not believe it's an accident. I believe this is done on purpose because with all their preaching about how sex is fabulous even when you're 12, they're also telling kids that their parents have no business knowing about their "private lives". That they can go to PP for contraception and abortions without parental consent. They are creating future customers.

Why in the world we as a society allow these degenerates to teach our children about the facts of life is absolutely beyond me.

But then, to take it even a step further and preach this warped government view of "morality" to impressionable youth is, quite frankly, horrifying. The job of teaching our very young children about sex belongs to absolutely no one but the parents. I see this as nothing more than government trying to supersede our role as parents and I would absolutely not stand for it.

There is no reason for an eighth grader to be even considering sex or babies or relationships.

While I in no way advocate the withholding of information from kids - they absolutely need to know about puberty, what's happening to their bodies, etc. - the imparting of that information and the values that go along with it, belongs solely to the parents.

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when you were giving that Vice Principal an earful.

The Bipolar Diva February 20, 2012 at 8:23 PM  

Well Gucci, once again I think you nailed it!

Phil February 20, 2012 at 9:30 PM  

Perhaps if they focused their attention on legislating common sense...

Oh wait.

middle child February 20, 2012 at 9:41 PM  

I hope your son got an "A" cuz he's wearing the worn-out face of the father of a newborn.

Classic NYer February 21, 2012 at 9:55 AM  

I totally hear what you're saying, but everybody doesn't have awesome parents like you... and for those who don't, who's going to teach them?

There should be an opt-out clause for fastidious I'm-actually-going-to-raise-my-children-type-parents. February 21, 2012 at 12:38 PM  

--Those babies would frighten the hell outta me... They might turn into that freaky Chucky in the middle of the night.

O000h, My!

I agree with Phil.

Common Sense is Dead.

& another thing.... I hate somebody telling me what to do! Just ask Mr. L.

The Bipolar Diva February 21, 2012 at 1:37 PM  

Kim;I never thought about Chuckie! Thanks! hahaha

The Bipolar Diva February 21, 2012 at 1:37 PM  


That's true. But I think I'd prefer an "opt in," instead of an opt out.

Unknown February 21, 2012 at 8:08 PM  

I tagged you here: I hope you have time to play along!

Just Two Chicks February 22, 2012 at 1:53 PM  

That is one scary looking doll. Not sure what I would do... I would probably welcome it, because Pax thinks a baby would be the best thing in the world to have. I think her being a parent right now is a very bad idea. LOL

Christy February 22, 2012 at 4:56 PM  

I don't think it has changed the teenage pregnancy rate at all. In fact, reality television makes it a draw. "You might get your own show!" This program doesn't help anyone in my opinion.

Christy February 22, 2012 at 4:56 PM  

I don't think it has changed the teenage pregnancy rate at all. In fact, reality television makes it a draw. "You might get your own show!" This program doesn't help anyone in my opinion.

Natalie February 23, 2012 at 5:41 AM  

Well shit people, I have a feeling after this people are going to hate me.
First of all you can teach and preach to your kids about whats moral and whats not and sometimes their still going to make wrong choices. Has it been so long since we were all teens?

Do I believe those dolls are going to change anything? No.
Do I believe parents should be responsible and teach their own children? Yes
And this is a big BUT not all parents have the same morals, or bother to teach their children. Not all kids get sex lessons from their parents.
And even moral parents who teach their children right from wrong end up having pregnant teenagers.
My oldest daughter got pregnant at 16. I won't even go into the details of the crap we went though with the school because they wouldn't let her come back to school after he was born and tried to strip her of all her honors and in the end she was made to go to an alternative school as a punishment.
So is my daughter bad? Did she sleep around? Was I a bad parent?
NO to all. She made a mistake.
Is she on welfare now? Did she have more kids? Is she a loser? No to all(well she did have another child ten years later after getting married).
She did graduate, she did go to college(shes a geneticist)And I'm proud to be her mother.
So do I want the schools to teach my kids morals? No, but I wouldn't mind back up saying to girls and guys don't be pressured.

OK sorry, so not what I came here for, actually it was to TAG you. If you want you can go to and check it out.
Everyone has opinions and I totally think your right about the Doll but I also think there needs to be something done.

Joann Mannix February 23, 2012 at 11:47 AM  

So, one of the reasons we left our wonderful, wonderful private school that we'd been at for all of our children's lives was the change of administration. The new administration was headed by a 50 something year old women who'd never been married, never had children and assumed it was her duty to police our family lives.

She would issue homework for the entire family, tried to enforce mandatory attendance at all school related functions after hours and unbelievably sent home rule books for the families to read and sign, saying that we would live our life according to the doctrine in the book.

No one but no one tells me how to raise my family.

I understand the concept, but it teeters on the side of intrusive danger.

I feel for you.

Classic NYer February 28, 2012 at 5:32 PM  

Negligent parents won't opt in to anything... because they're negligent. But fastidious parents will opt out if they see fit.

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