Massachusetts Senate To Vote On Graphic Sex-Ed Mandate Once Again — Language Warning

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Critics say the sex-ed agenda being pushed for by lawmakers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is not age-appropriate. So what will Republicans do about it?

In the Massachusetts Senate, if recent history is a guide then the majority will likely support it when it comes up for a vote Thursday.

Since only three of the 40 state senators, a “majority” of the minority party is two. Two of the three GOP state senators have already voted for a similar bill previously.

“An Act Relative to Healthy Youth” (S.2495) would require that every public school in the state that teaches sex education use state-approved standards to teach the topic. It would take control of the curriculum away from individual school districts, including school committees, school administrators, and parents.

The bill states that “A city, town, regional school district, vocational school district, or charter school that offers sexual health education shall provide a medically accurate, age-appropriate, comprehensive sexual health education.”

That material would come from textbooks and workbooks approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. 

The bill passed 33-2 in the Massachusetts Senate in January 2020. The nay votes came from state Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) and then-state-senator Dean Tran (R-Fitchburg). However, Tran lost his re-election bid in 2020, so he is no longer in the Massachusetts Senate.

The other two Republicans are Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and state Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth); they voted with the Democrats last year in favor of the bill.

Fattman was the only one of the three to provide NewBostonPost with a comment on the matter on Wednesday.

He explained his opposition to it.

“This is a highly controversial bill, as demonstrated by the fact that it has failed to pass for multiple sessions now,” Fattman said by email, through his communications director. “If this legislation is to pass, it would be a direct usurpation of the local school district’s decision-making abilities. Each community has different needs based on their communal demographics, which is why they should have the ability to decide their curriculum. By mandating a statewide sex education curriculum, you directly take away the ability of a community to decide how sensitive topics like sex education are taught.”

The bill also passed the Massachusetts Senate in 2017, although the president of the Massachusetts Senate declared that a now-former state Senator, Linda Dorcena Forry (D-Dorchester), was out of line when discussing the bill. Additionally, state Representative Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica) has threatened to read direct passages of state-approved sex-ed material in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Last year NewBostonPost reviewed content approved by the state agency that would be allowed if such a bill were to pass. It revealed details of what state education officials see as age-appropriate and medically-accurate Comprehensive Sexuality Education.

Below are brief descriptions and quotations.


[Editor’s Note:  Graphic language appears below.]



Title:  Get Real: Comprehensive Sex Education That Works

Published By:  Planned Parenthood

Brief Overview:  The workbooks from Planned Parenthood are recommended for middle schoolers, according to the curriculum reviews completed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Advisory Council (which have since been deleted from the Massachusetts Department of Education’s web site). The books cover grades 6 through 8.



Grade 6

Vincent overheard his older brother telling a friend that he masturbated. Vincent isn’t sure what masturbation is.  (Lesson 6.6)


Eric’s parents are out late, and he has some friends over. Eric’s friend Greg wants to take some of Eric’s parents’ alcohol to drink. Greg tells Eric that if they all get drunk, maybe the girl Eric likes will make out with him. Eric tells Greg he doesn’t feel right about that. He says that he likes the girl but wants to talk to her when they are both sober and in control. Plus he doesn’t want to get in trouble with his parents if they find out he’s been drinking.

(Handout 6.7-3)


Grade 7

Brittany’s girlfriend wants to have oral sex with her.  Brittany really likes her girlfriend, and her friends say that having oral sex will bring them closer together.  (Lesson 7.9)


What to Do on a Date

Instructions:  Student and parent or other caring adult should set aside some time to discuss this activity together. Pick 5 of the possible dating behaviors listed and brainstorm the pros and cons of each one.

Dating behaviors: 

    • Chatting, emailing or texting
    • Going out on a date in a group
    • Dancing
    • Touching a partner under clothes
    • Hugging
    • Going to an unsupervised party
    • Watching a movie with a romantic or dating partner
    • Talking
    • Having sex
    • Kissing

(– page 21, Family Activity 7.5)


[Editor’s Note:  An older edition of the book also recommended that children use “non-microwavable saran wrap” in lieu of a dental dam for certain oral sex acts.]


Grade 8

Although eighth graders are typically 13 to 14 years old, the workbook’s “Protections Methods Chart” teaches about the use of internal condoms. It says they “act as a barrier” but warn it “may slip out of place during vaginal or anal intercourse” and “may be difficult to insert” (page 19, Protection Methods Chart).



Title:  Our Whole Lives:  Sexuality Education (Grades 7-9)

Published By:  Unitarian Universalist Association

Brief Overview:  Designed for junior high students (grades seven through nine), the book received praise from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Advisory Council. The advisory council’s review mark it as “recommended highly.”


The text includes these instructions for teachers:


Tell the group that you want to talk about some sexual behaviors that don’t include sexual intercourse. The first is masturbation. Ask if anyone can define the word masturbation.

Share the following definitions as needed: 

    • Masturbation is the stimulation of one’s own sex organs for sexual pleasure. 
    • This is usually enjoyed in private but can also be explored with a partner. Some youth experiment with masturbation in groups.

(– page 255)



A section titled “Masturbation Is An Option For Reaching Orgasm” reads as follows:


As I feel the orgasm coming I forget about everything else and get lost in this feeling that starts in the tip of my penis and spreads all over my body. It’s like my body begins swimming all by itself, like there’s something in me reaching out welcoming the pleasure. As it becomes really intense my body begins shaking with excitement. The sensations take me over, and just at the peak of it I can feel this pulsing at the base of my penis and I feel the sperm shooting out of me like I’m sending it off far away. It’s amazing.

(– Page 262 Unit 5, workshop 16:  redefining abstinence)


Another section titled “Redefining Abstinence” recommends the following as alternatives to sexual intercourse for those who want to remain abstinent:


    • mouth-vulva contact 
    • mouth-penis contact 
    • mouth-anus contact 
    • fingering a partner’s genitals 
    • touching a partner’s nipples

(– Page 264 Unit 5, workshop 16: Redefining Abstinence)


And another section titled “Facts About Sexual Behavior” features the following paragraph:


Anal intercourse typically refers to the insertion of a penis into the anus, while anal sex includes anal penetration by a penis, finger, dildo, or other object. Individuals of any sex or gender might engage in and enjoy anal sex. The anus is an erogenous zone, meaning that it contains sensory nerve endings. Some people of different sexes and orientations enjoy having the anus caressed, licked, or penetrated. Because the anus is tight and dry, it must be lubricated with silicone or water-based lubricant before being entered. The sphincter muscles should be relaxed with a finger massage before penetration.

(– page 275, Unit 5, Workshop 17:  Lovemaking)



Title:  Making Proud Choices!

Published By:  Select Media

Brief Overview:  This book is recommended for middle school students, particularly in what the book calls “urban” areas and “communities of color” because the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Advisory Council felt as though the book has enough diversity in it.



A role-playing scenario with the stated goal of encouraging a student to resist pressure to engage in sexual activity reads in part:


your task is to convince Jamie to have sex without protection

(– page 19)



Another scripted role playing scenario features the following passages:


Your parents are out late.  Your boyfriend or girlfriend comes over, hoping to have sex with you.


Another one:

Person 1: I don’t have a condom.  Using those things is wack, I can’t even feel you … it doesn’t feel as good.

Person 2: That’s not true, I can show you how using one can feel good.

(– page 11)


Given the content that the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has previously approved, the new comprehensive sex education concerns Mary Ellen Siegler of the Massachusetts Family Institute, who says it is not appropriate for children.  

Earlier this month, Siegler told NewBostonPost by email:


“An Act Relative to Healthy Youth” is a euphemism for a mandate that will permanently insert graphic sex ed curriculum in MA public schools. Although this bill won’t force school districts to teach sex ed, it will require districts already teaching sex ed to take orders regarding curriculum choice from an unelected bureaucracy at the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The proponents of the bill understand that it will effectively become a mandate since most school districts in MA already teach sex ed. This bill if passed will require curriculum that normalizes teen sexual activity and high risk sexual activities such as anal and oral sex, normalizes STIs, includes sexual role playing scenarios for young students, promotes harmful transgender ideology, and helps students obtain abortions without their parents’ knowledge or consent. There is nothing about this bill that will promote health for students, families, or communities.



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