Number 69 Excluded from School Curriculum

Liz De La Torre

For the 5,000 people gathered just outside Tacoma, Washington on Friday, Mar. 26, it was a day for a celebration—a historic shock for the rest of the world—but an experience nonetheless. “This is a great day! We won’t have to keep pressing people about this issue,” says one of the women in attendance. Contrary to recent news, it was not in honor of the recently legalized gay marriage, but rather to support a new rule, the 69 Exclusion Rule, that has teachers in Tempershed Middle School banned from displaying any visual representation of the number 69 because of its sexual connotation. This includes working on or assigning problems that consist of or result in the number 69. Teachers failing to comply with these regulations will face hearing for disciplinary action. While the rule does not mention any restrictions for students, students are held in confines to the rule and will be subjected to suspension for violating the “sanctity of the educational threshold for either demonstrating or teaching any sexual behavior.”

Parents in favor of this new school proposal have all agreed that this is the way to go. Martha Stockholm, who has joined other parents in lobbying for the 69 Exclusion Rule to take effect in nearby Seattle, said, “other schools should take notice. The reality is knowledge is powerful, and this sort of knowledge early on can be very dangerous and corrupting. Kids deserve the right to be kids and not be subjected to or exposed to adult-like behavior.”

Outcry from parents surfaced just after a fourth grade student came home and told her parents that, while her teacher had been writing the number 69 in a division problem, another classmate said, “My dogs 69’d this morning,” and proceeded to explain to her and other students the oral sex subtext by drawing a picture of his pets acting out. The student was later detained by security after successfully bringing his dogs to school for a “show and tell” during lunchtime.  When asked why he brought his pets for “show and tell,” the student allegedly said, “Well, my parents are at work right now.” The classmate, who has not been identified, is serving a six-day suspension and has been asked to write a 1,000-word essay on why his behavior was wrong.

Still, others have cited the policy as “ridiculous.” One parent called the new rule “pointless since children will learn about the meaning sooner or later.” Despite parents in opposition to the motion, the school says it is taking the means necessary to prevent encouragement of sexual experimentation for future generations of students. In fact, Tempershed administration has decided to install a strict “No Sex in School” plan that will prohibit sex knowledge as the education it will enforce. This will implement the termination of health classes, the removal of computers in classrooms, and a more conservative wardrobe by students and teachers alike. Danny Moldy, a parent of a sixth grader, shot down the plan as a way of ignoring the issue: “So, the solution to the problem is to pretend it doesn’t exist? Just not talk about it? You can’t keep children innocent forever. Sex is everywhere. 69 is just a number that happens to resemble something else. You can’t deprive kids of knowing the number just because parents are scared of their children being curious.”