Dalton’s parents were up in arms after their first-grade children were taught about masturbation in class. The sex-education lesson came in the form of an animated video and parents are not happy about it.
Administrators of the $55,000-a-year Dalton School were adamant that parents had “misinterpreted” the sexual education lesson taught by Justine Ang Fonte. Fonte was brought in for her liberal “health and wellness” curriculum but has since been marred by bad press after teaching a controversial “porn literacy” workshop at a separate prep school.
The animated video portrays 6-year-old children in cartoon form expressing their desire to touch themselves for pleasure, all while a teacher explains that it’s all natural. The sex education class was a bit much for parents, who were outraged that such a curriculum exists for first-grade students.
Fonte has since defended her lesson, explaining that it is not a class on masturbation, but is instead a lesson that teaches kids not to touch themselves in public. “Hey, how come sometimes my penis gets big sometimes and points in the air?” a boy in the cartoon asks. The teacher then explains that it is called an “erection.”
“Sometimes I touch my penis because it feels good,” the boy continues. A little girl then adds that “when I’m in my bath or when Mom puts me to bed, I like to touch my vulva too.”
The teacher explains that certain pleasure sensors in the “private parts” make it feel good when you touch them. The teacher then points out that “older kids and grownups” never touch themselves in public. She says, “it’s okay to touch yourself and see how different body parts feel, but it’s best to only do it in private.”
According to reports, Fonte also teaches children about “consent” in a separate lesson. Some parents agreed that it may help protect children from abuse, but certain aspects of the lesson can be misconstrued, especially telling kids that their own parents or grandparents have to ask for permission before hugging or kissing them.
One parent pointed out that it’s ridiculous that “parents are supposed to say to their kids, ‘may I hug you?’” Despite the sentiment, some educators insist that should be the case. Some parents strongly disagree.
“I’m paying $50,000 to these a-holes to tell my kid not to let her grandfather hug her when he sees her?” another parent exclaimed. Apart from consent and the masturbation video, Fonte also includes teachings on gender identity and gender expression in a lesson about transgender individuals.
One mother was outraged by this revelation. “Kids have no less than five classes on gender identity — this is pure indoctrination.” She expressed that Fonte “should absolutely not be teaching children. Ironically, she teaches kids about ‘consent’ yet she has never gotten consent from parents about the sexually explicit, and age-inappropriate material about transgender to first-graders.”
Though parents disagree, Justine Ang Fonte’s educational practices are being funded by a grant to the Dalton school by Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Foundation. The hedge fund billionaire’s ex-wife Karen is on the board of trustees for the Dalton School, which manages the $450,000 grant.
The Dalton School isn’t the only school incorporating this kind of sexual education. A spokesman for the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism explained that “what we are seeing across the country is that many schools have lost sight of the purpose of education, and are hiding curriculum and teaching materials from parents.”
According to parents, there was no consent given for the Dalton School or Fonte to include a masturbation video in the class. “We are furious,” one mother said. “We were horrified to learn this was shown to our first-grade 6- and 7-year-old kids without our knowledge or consent. But it’s so hard to fight back because you’ll get canceled and your child will suffer.”
“I’m not against all sex education,” another mother said, “but it’s not cool to keep parents in the dark about it.”
A spokesman for the Dalton School defended the institution, saying that “as part of Dalton’s comprehensive Health curriculum for students, a lesson on Gender & Bodies included two evidence-based and age-appropriate videos approved for students 4 years and older. These videos align with nationally recognized methodologies and standards. We consistently review our Health curriculum, making sure that the content is developmentally appropriate and, if necessary, we adapt our curriculum accordingly. We will continue to listen carefully to parent feedback, respond thoughtfully to community concerns, and develop lessons that are in the best interest of our students, respect our community’s values, and correspond with best practices.”
The masturbation video has sparked a controversy at the prestigious Dalton School. But it has since been removed from the school’s curriculum.