'It’s Your Game' sex ed program targets 7th and 8th graders
This article originally appeared in this issue of the WSR: 2012-10-03

Planned Parenthood is on the prowl again, with a sex ed program called It’s Your Game: Keep it Real, targeting 7th and 8th graders with a curriculum based on videos and computer games. The Norwich City School District in New York posts on its website a note from the 7th grade health class: “We’re excited this year to welcome Planned Parenthood into Health Class."

The post contains a “summary” of the It’s Your Game program that in no way prepares parents for what will be taught to their children by these Planned Parenthood operatives. “The curriculum, which will be facilitated by trained educators from Planned Parenthood, focuses on healthy relationship strategies and risk reduction strategies that have been proven to delay sexual behaviors among adolescents,” the summary says.

But here is the link to one of the many videos the young people will be shown in the course of the 24 classes that span two years of middle school. Entitled “Condom Platoon,” it is the saga of condoms that are used incorrectly by a young man named Marvin who has decided to have sex for the very first time with his girlfriend. Marvin and his girlfriend are “pretty serious” about each other, according to the video, and “they really care about each other.” It goes on to say that “one day, they might get married.” (Cue wedding bells in the background--really.) But for now, “they’ve decided they want to have sex, and they’re taking precautions so they don’t get pregnant, or get HIV or another sexually transmitted disease.”

“They’re alone,” the creepy announcer says as he sets the stage for the upcoming sexual encounter and dims the lights—“that special moment, the music, the lights—the condoms.”

Flash to the box of talking condoms. The leader of the “condom platoon” opens with, “Being a condom is a fulfilling career—a career of service and protection. We cover your needs.” In the course of the video, the children are taught that there are many kinds of condoms to choose from, including those that glow in the dark.

But wait, how does a video like this—a video that shows two young people on the couch together apparently nude—encourage young tweens and teens to delay sexual activity as the parents were promised? The answer is obvious—it does not. It simply encourages children to do what Planned Parenthood promises parents it will discourage them from doing. Planned Parenthood’s escapade into Norwich middle schools is funded by taxpayers through a CAPP (Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention) grant, administered by the New York Department of Health.

The It’s Your Game program is gaining traction in many school districts, especially in Texas, where the University of Texas School of Public Health developed the program and is very aggressively pushing it into more than 80 middle schools in the Houston area. “Instead of relying on textbooks and lectures, they embraced videos and computer games, creating an interactive program that captures the fragmented teenage attention span,” a UTHealthLeader.org article brags of the program.

All four developers of It’s Your Game have connections to Planned Parenthood, including being listed as “investigators” in a project that has the University of Texas Prevention Research Center (UTPRC) partnering with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in a project based on the theme, “From Healthy Children to Healthy Adults.” This project is listed as the Core Activity of UTPRC, where all the developers of It’s Your Game work as professors. The program has received funding from 2009 through 2014 for the project from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On its Facebook page, UTPRC clarifies:

In line with this mission, UTPRC researchers, led by director Susan Tortolero PhD, will focus their work for the next five years on adolescent sexual health. The core research centers around mobilizing community partnerships for effective sexual health education in middle school. Through a collaborative research study, investigators will develop, implement, and evaluate a dissemination intervention to get effective sexual health programs into middle schools in Harris County.

As an added incentive, the curriculum is provided free of charge to schools.

These professors are producing the statistics that say the program is effective at reducing the onset of teen sexual activity. Yet, they are the very people who are benefitting financially from their partnership with Planned Parenthood and the perpetuation of Planned Parenthood inspired sex education programs, via government grants. Dr. Susan Tortolero, one of the developers of the It’s Your Game program, is the director of the University of Texas Prevention Research Center. She is also vice chair for the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

In Austin, LifeWorks partners with Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region and Austin Independent School District (AISD) in gobbling up a $2.9 million TPPI Tier 1 funding grant to implement the “REAL Talk” program. “REAL Talk” administers It’s Your Game: Keep It Real to seventh and eighth grade students and Reducing the Risk to ninth and tenth grade students attending AISD schools. TPPI is President Obama’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, and is funded by the federal government to the tune of $110 million.

To the Houston parent whose inquiry prompted us to research It’s Your Game to see whether Planned Parenthood is involved, the answer is a resounding yes! If you are fighting this program in Texas or elsewhere, please contact [email protected]. We will compile a list of those involved in the fight, and those interested in stepping up to fight it in their local schools, so that we can share information and strategy.