Thursday, January 17, 2008

S*x And Sixth-Graders... An Appalling New Pairing

By Kris DiGiovanni / The Tampa Tribune

Published: January 3, 2008

The one thing I was not prepared for when I began teaching sixth grade was the s*x.

These children are just 12 and 13, but s*x appears to be the central focus of their lives.

They boast about their alleged exploits on the bathroom walls, using the crudest possible language. They talk constantly about how "hot" they are, how s*xy, how good-looking. They hug and kiss in the halls - girls on girls, and girls on boys - as if being parted for 50 minutes is an unbearable deprivation.

In the classroom, they make coarse gestures and lounge in suggestive poses.

Outside and on field trips, they drape their arms across each other and huddle close - usually several girls around one boy who is deemed to be more "experienced."

Most claim to have girlfriends or boyfriends they "go out" with, although at 12, none of them drive, so I don't know where exactly "out" would be. The talk in the halls is all about who is going to "break up" with whom at lunch, and who is going to punch someone for messing with "his" girl.

They throw s*xual words around with confidence, although apparently they don't know as much about their meaning as one might assume. When I told them the word "f*ggot" was a bundle of sticks, they scoffed, but dutifully looked it up and amazedly admitted I was right.

They have been known to burst into laughter at accidentally discovering the word "s*ck" in the dictionary. After one boy wanted to know what a condor was, I learned to be cautious about dictionaries. He discovered a nearby word that was so much more interesting, and to him, hilarious.

The girls wear the lowest cut, most revealing clothes they can get away with, often covering a skimpy top with a zippered shirt. They have perfected an innocent, eye-batting blush of phony embarrassment as a response to any teacher who directs them to "zip it up."

And the moment they are out the door and into the hall, the zipper gets yanked back to brazenly indecent latitude. Of course they don't wear these clothes at home, so the parents are usually unaware. They bring them to school in their backpacks, or borrow from a friend and change in the restroom.

Parents, if you ever wonder why your daughter has to lug so many books around, take a look in her backpack and prepare to be surprised.

When I was in the sixth grade, only one or two girls wore br*s. Now, thanks to all those growth hormones in our food supply, our 12-year-olds are well into puberty and have bodies that would make any aspiring young siren or stud-muffin proud.

Unfortunately, the pseudo-adult bodies they inhabit and the raging hormones they are feeling did not arrive with additional brain cells. These kids still have only a 12-year-old ability to understand their feelings and make decisions. At night they still hug ragged stuffed animals, but lie in rooms adorned with posters of scantily clad women and buff young men.

With one foot in childhood and one in adulthood, these children are truly without a comfortable place to be. They are scared. They are confused. If ever they needed a parent, it is now.

Parents, do not be deceived by outward appearances and claims of knowledge. Hug your kid, even if you have to hog tie him to do it. Talk to your kid. Start with simple things like what happened at school. Have "the talk" again, and again, and again, if you have to. Most of all, be a parent, not a pal. It's different for them than it was for you. It really is.

Kris DiGiovanni is a teacher in Tampa.

Thanks to Mariah at the Five in a Row message boards for bringing this article to our attention.


Diane said...

This article doesn't surprise me at all. It actually sounds pretty mild as opposed to what is going on here at these local Florida schools.

My husband went to the local highschool to help a friend set up his computer. He came home and was still in shock over things he saw. Students there weren't merely talking about sex...

Makes me want to just hold my children so tightly.

Diane said...

Just noticed you are a Huck supporter. {{{high five}}}

Jana said...


It is so sad but true how the little children are growing up WAY before their time. It really has become very scary with these things happening younger and younger with our youth.

Oh, BTW--Thanks for visiting my blog. I don't mind a bit if you add me to your list. I, too, love to see other folks school/learning areas.
Have a great day!