Parents in Enfield, Conn. are outraged after a health class assignment asked eighth graders to list their sexual likes and dislikes and boundaries, according to a new report.
Documents obtained by the nonprofit group Parents Defending Education show students were subjected to a lesson called “Pizza & Consent” that told students, “we can use pizza as a metaphor for sex!”
“If you’re a vegetarian, but your friend is a meat-lover, sharing a pizza is going to bring up a lot of issues. You don’t know who you can share pizza with unless you ask!” the assignment said. “The same goes with sex! You have to check in with your partner(s) and ask for their preferences.”
The assignment features a blank pizza with space to share pizza preferences “in relation to sex.” Pizza toppings were likened to sexual likes and dislikes. The assignment used “kissing” and “giving oral” as examples of toppings students could choose for their pizza.
“Obviously, you might not be able to list all of your wants, desires and boundaries, but hopefully you’ll start feeling more comfortable about discussing them,” the assignment read.
Brie Quartin, the district’s health and physical education coordinator, reportedly told concerned parents that the incorrect version of the assignment was mistakenly used.
“The incorrect version, as opposed to the revised version of this assignment was mistakenly posted on our grade 8 curriculum page, and was inadvertently used for instruction to grade 8 Health classes,” she said, according to Parents Defending Education. “I caught the error after our curriculum revision in June, but failed to post the intended version. I own that, and apologize for the error.”
She went on to explain that the “correct version” of the assignment would have had students work in small groups to craft a pizza with toppings — though no behaviors would have been associated with the toppings – that would make everyone happy and comfortable using non-verbal communication only.
She adds: “Students are then asked to reflect and discuss how thoughts or feelings can be confusing or miscontrued [sic], if we rely on non-verbal cues/communication alone. The parallel to be taught here is that when discussing pizza topping it is important that your preferences are clearly communicated to avoid any misunderstanding. This discussion then leads into how students can identify when consent it either present or not.”
However, at least one parent questioned how a teaching “accidentally asks for the personal sexual preferences of 8th graders without any indication it is completely inappropriate to do such a thing.”
The school quickly removed the assignment from its website. After the district prevented parents from attending school board meetings in-person — citing mask compliance as the reason for the shift to Zoom meetings — several parents posted video statements on YouTube to call attention to the issue.
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