High Plains Public Radio

Controversial Sex Ed Poster Continues to Rile Kansas Lawmkers

Feb 5, 2016

Controversy erupted two years ago over a sex education poster at Hocker Grove Middle School in Shawnee, but Kansas lawmakers were debating it again on Tuesday, sometimes in explicit terms. A bill in the Kansas House would make it easier to prosecute teachers and school administrators for materials considered harmful to minors.
Credit Chris Neal / AP photo

Two years later, Kansas lawmakers are still debating a controversial sex ed poster, reports The Kansas City Star. The poster was titled “How do people express their sexual feelings?” and included such terms as “oral sex,” “anal sex” and “vaginal intercourse.” The poster was informational and contained no images. Yet Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, a Shawnee Republican, is sponsoring a bill that would make it easier to prosecute teachers for materials considered harmful to minors. “This [poster] could have serious repercussions on a young child’s mind,” Pilcher-Cook said.

But her bill faces adamant pushback from opponents. They argue that, under the law, teachers could be prosecuted for teaching works in literature and art that might be considered offensive. 

Rep. John Carmichael, a Wichita Democrat, questioned what other materials could be censored. He asked if the works of J.D. Salinger and John Steinbeck might be removed from classrooms under the law.