Parents at a New York middle school have expressed outrage after being informed that their daughters were forced to ask another girl for a kiss as part of an anti-bullying presentation. The incident occurred at Linden Avenue Middle School in the town of Red Hook, as students from Bard College led two workshops separated by gender. Two of the middle school girls were even told to stand in front of the class and pretend they were lesbians on a date. It’s unclear whether the girls actually had to kiss each other or the exercise stopped at the request.
“[My daughter] told me Mom, we all get teased and picked on enough; now I’m going to be called a lesbian because I had to ask another girl if I could kiss her,’” said parent Mandy Coon. “ am furious. “I am her parent. Where does anyone get the right to tell her that it’s okay for her to have sex?” Coon also said that parents were not given any advance notice about the sexually suggestive workshop or an option to now have their child participate.
In the separate workshop for middle school boys, the college students allegedly gave them tips for how to identify a woman as a “slut” and advised them to keep a condom in their pocket at all times. “I was absolutely furious,” said an anonymous parent. “These are just kids. I’m dumbfounded that they thought this class was appropriate.”
But shockingly, the school principal and the district superintendent refused to back down on the workshops and said they plan to schedule more in the future. The only difference in procedure would be notifying the parents beforehand. Principal Katie Zahedi defended the workshops by saying they didn’t encourage students to engage in sexual behavior and were rather about saying no to unwanted advances, declaring that “it was a separate activity for boys and girls and ultimately about respect and safety.”