Going back to 1980 to write The Sex Ed Chronicles required me to return to the 60’s and 70’s to get the political setting just right. Until I started my research, I did not know that sex education had been considered part of a ‘Communist plot.’
In 1960, John Birch Society president Robert Welch urged parents to join their local Parent-Teacher Associations and take them over. According to a Time magazine reporter in 1969, Welch had “decided that sex education was a ‘Communist plot’ akin to community fluoridation plans.”
As part of my research, I read a National Education Association (NEA) manual, published in 1970, advising state and local teacher’s unions on how to confront extremists opposed to sex education in the public schools. The manual referred to a documentary supported by the Society called ‘The Innocents Defiled’ which put sex education instructors in an unflattering light, saying that they were spreading “moral depravity” and that they were “bent on the corruption of Americas youth, with the ultimate aim of overthrowing the United States.”
The John Birch...