Saturday, February 22, 2014

Victoria Jackson's claim about explicit sex ed book, not true.

Victoria Jackson
As a political blogger, I try to be careful about what I post. If I read something that appears true, I usually try to find the same thing reported in another legitimate source before I repost it and I try to follow links back to the original source to see if something came from a credible source. Often something can be found a dozen or hundreds of times on the Internet, but that does not make the item credible.  The Internet has a really big echo chamber. The downside of being cautious about what I report is that I may not always report the most current information and I may miss something important.  However, I would prefer to era on the side of caution. The truth is that there is a lot of false information that floats around the Internet and I do not want to contribute to that.

A few days ago I saw the post from former Saturday Night Live star Victoria Jackson exposing a
book supposedly used in the a 4th grade class in Williamson County.  The name of the book was, "It's Perfectly Normal." The book teaches that masturbation and homosexuality are perfectly normal. Accompanying Jackson's commentary about how awful the book was and that it should not be used in the class room and that that was an example of the reasons she was running for political office, there were several pictures of cartoons from the book which show genitalia.

The report was so specific that I had no reason not to believe it.  I almost reposted and commented but for some reason I didn't. My instinct told me to be cautious and wait. I am glad I did. Not many conservative bloggers were cautions.  This story went viral. It was repeated over and over again on blogs from bloggers all over the country. Victoria Jackson has since removed the post from her blog but the story is still all over the Internet. The story was not true. That book is not being used in a classroom in Williamson County, it is not on any state-approved reading list, and it is not in any Williamson County School library. (link) Nevertheless, this is probably one of those stories that people will repeat and repost and repeat. The truth will never catch up to the lie.

Victoria Jackson who is running for a seat on the Williamson County Commission says a retired 4th grade teacher showed her the book and said it was being used in the classroom.   Jackson should have got her facts straight before she posted the story.  She should have went to the school where the book was supposedly being used and confirmed if it was in fact being used. She should have went to the School Board administration and asked about it. She should have checked to see if it was in a school library or on a state-approved textbook list. She did not. Her reckless reporting of this, may be reason enough not to vote for her for a seat on the County Commission.

I don't know who first said them but here are a couple quotes that come to mind relevant to this story:  "Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear." "A lie gets half way around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."   

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  1. I'm sorry to say I was one of those taken in by it! Thanks for bringing this back up, so I can spreading misinformation.
    Is the book strange and disturbing? Yes. Is it in our schools? Apparently not, and that's what got us all mad.

    1. It is recommended for teachers on the UT website. It is true that it is allowed to be in TN schools. I never said it was a textbook or in WCSchools. Another inappropriate book, Stuck in the Middle, is in TN school libraries also and you can see Superintendent Mike Looney confirm this on my story here:
      I'm very careful about my facts. I had the wrong UT link initially which caused all the hubbub.

  2. Thank you very much for posting this story.
    I too have noticed that people are passing on much misinformation.
    In January received an email about this book with PDFs from a concerned Williamson County Parent who thought it was a Common Core textbook in our schools. I first informed her that Common Core is only Math and English standards so this could not be a Common Core textbook and promised to investigate which I did immediately. I first called the Tennessee Textbook Commission. The Commission confirmed for me that this book was NOT approved by the Commission for use in Tennessee schools and to their knowledge it is not being used in Tennessee schools as they also keep a list of unapproved books in use. I informed the parent of this fact. But she replied that she knew for sure that it is on a book list on the UT Extension service website. I searched and searched on the site for about an hour and I finally found the name of the book and author's name cited as a "reference for further reading" on a document prepared for parents on how to talk to their teen about sex. I informed the parent of this very minimal citation. She was still skeptical that it was being used in Tennessee schools. I asked her for the name of the school where she got the book but she could not provide it. I had to tell her that with out her providing me any information as to how she came about hearing of this use and with out knowing of a school I could not fresearch any further as I do not have the resources to contact every school in Tennessee. However, a week later I met with the Commissioner of Agriculture who is over the UT Extension website and he immediately agreed - no, actually he offered - to remove this citation from the reference materials on that document.
    Rep. Susan Lynn

  3. It is a true story. It is recommended for teachers on UT web site. Allowed in schools though not a textbook. Read clarification on my web site. I had the wrong link in my initial article. There is another inappropriate book in TN school libraries called Stuck in the Middle. Super. Looney reacts to its existence in TN schools. Don't shoot the messenger.

    Sincerely, Victoria Jackson