Mother of Son Expelled Over Sex Ed Controversy Speaks Out

News: US News
by Christine Niles  •  •  October 12, 2016   

Father Ryan High booted child because parents objected to graphic sex ed course

You are not signed in as a Premium user; we rely on Premium users to support our news reporting. Sign in or Sign up today!

NASHVILLE ( - A Catholic school in Tennessee has expelled a student whose parents complained about its graphic sex ed course.

The mother, Susan Skinner, spoke with about the expulsion letter. "They worded it like 'you chose this,' but to me that's a semantics game," she said. "They were telling us we were out by September 30, so it was a letter expelling him because we wouldn't comply with the curriculum," she said.

The curriculum in question includes graphic illustrations of male and female genitalia, including detailed explanations of physiological reactions to sexual stimuli, and teaches students about multiple forms of artificial birth control — including the withdrawal method, IUDs, the pill, condoms and sterilization, among others.

"When I looked at this curriculum and saw what was in it," Skinner explained, "I took it to a medical doctor, who told me that the information that I was objecting to came from sex research, where they filmed people having sex and then they take the measurements of it."

"I just don't understand how something like that ends up in a Catholic school," she remarked.

When parents initially objected to the graphic content and asked that their children be allowed to opt out of the course, Father Ryan High School refused. The diocesan communications director backed the school, and Bp. David Choby of Nashville chimed in with his support, essentially telling Catholics that if they don't like the course, they should remove their children from the school.
"There are 35 states that say you have to have an opt out for sex education," Skinner commented. "Tennessee is one of them, and it does astound me that my Catholic school wouldn't allow it, but the public school system will."
The September 28 letter from Father Ryan told Skinner, "Unless you can assure Father Ryan [High School] that your dissatisfaction with the Human Sexuality curriculum issue is concluded, you are choosing not to allow [your child] to remain a student at Father Ryan High School."
The letter complained that "your dissatisfaction with Father Ryan is so irreconcilable that your family's continued participation at Father Ryan will be detrimental" to the school. The school followed up with a letter on October 5 confirming that Skinner's son's last day was September 30.
Skinner is now looking into other options for schooling for her son.
"I never intended a fight with anybody," Skinner clarified. "I just wanted to protect my son from what I deemed harmful for his soul, and I pray every day for the school, the people at the school, for my son, for my bishop, for our diocese."


Have a news tip? Submit news to our tip line.

We rely on you to support our news reporting. Please donate today.
By commenting on you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our comment posting guidelines