Jewish World Review May 16, 2005 / 7 Iyar, 5765

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Don't kid around in the classroom | Think back to when you were 6 years old. What was your world like? Mine consisted of playing baseball, cowboys and Indians (I didn't know from Native Americans), and watching a goofy guy named Howdy Doody on TV. That filled much of my leisure time.

In school, a glaring nun named Sister Lurana taught me to read "Dick and Jane" stories. I had a book that said stuff like "look at Jane. See Jane run. Dick likes Jane." It really didn't matter to me whether Dick liked Jane or not, I wanted to climb a tree. But the nun insisted I learn to read the book, so I did.

Today, in Lexington, Mass., 6-year-olds have another book. It is called "Who's In a Family?" This book features not only Dick and Jane, but also Jennifer and Lauren and Charles and Henry. The pages tell little kids about different kinds of families: mixed race, gay and lesbian, and even traditional family units. They are all discussed in very positive ways.

A father named David Parker took one look at the same sex part of the book and made an appointment to see the principal of the Estabrook Elementary School, a woman named Joni Jay. Mr. Parker asked Ms. Jay to inform him when the gay family stuff was going to be presented because he felt his little son was too young to learn about homosexuality and he would keep him home that day. Sounds reasonable, right?

Not so fast.

Ms. Jay informed Mr. Parker that the family book had nothing to do with sexuality, and so he was not entitled under the Massachusetts sex-ed law to get a heads up. When Mr. Parker pointed out that same sex situations contain the word 'sex,' he was asked to leave the principal's office. He refused. So the Lexington police arrested him on trespassing charges.

See Dad get arrested. What does Jane think?

Very quietly all over the country, these kinds of culture war expositions are being played out in assorted public school systems. Under the banner of teaching tolerance, many school boards have OK'd books that delve into social issues far beyond the comprehension of most 6-year-olds. I don't know about you, but I thought gay meant happy until I was 11 years old, and even then I could not have cared less whether Lenny and Squiggy were a couple. I wanted to steal second and see monster movies, not understand what happens in Key West.

But today, we have a massive mission of indoctrination going on in America, and millions of traditional parents don't like it. I am siding with that group. I don't want to tell my little kids about "alternative lifestyles" unless we're talking about the Munchkins in the "Wizard of Oz."

I think both Dick and Jane would agree that we should all back off and give the kids a break. Let's bring back childhood in America, OK? No more "diversity" books for kindergarteners. No more bare midriffs for 9-year-old girls. No more gold chains for boys going into third grade. Got it? Let's work together on this.

The world is a tough, nasty place, and children will learn that soon enough. Shouldn't we make their first years fun years, free of political and social agendas? Why do some little kids these days look like Britney Spears and Kid Rock? What the deuce is wrong with us?

Summing up, Dick likes Jane and that's enough for 6-year-olds. Larry and Bruce can wait a few years

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of, most recently, "Who's Looking Out for You?" Comments by clicking here.

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