Hanover school board chairman Ben Keeney confirms that his district is using the curriculum that involves teachers encouraging five-year-olds to draw their own naked bodies. But, he assured NHJournal, no parents are complaining.
“I’ve not heard from any parents about the situation directly,” Keeney said.
Care for Kids is taught at the Bernice Ray Elementary School through a partnership with WISE and has been part of Hanover’s curriculum for over a dozen years, Keeney said. Keeney said the goal of the program is to prevent abuse.
“It’s a sexual violence prevention tool,” he said.
WISE, a Lebanon-based non-profit to support victims of domestic and sexual abuse, has not responded to multiple requests for comment.
The Care for Kids program presented as an anti-abuse teaching tool, sparked an uproar when an Upper Valley parent, Chris Rivet, read from the graphic teaching aid during testimony at the State House. Rivet said he and his wife were never told about the content before it was offered. State law dictates parents be given notice before any sex education being offered in schools.
Care for Kids has teachers instruct children to draw themselves naked and encourages teachers to push children who are uncomfortable to draw penises, nipples, and other body parts.
Rivet, a parent and a teacher, said the program is totally inappropriate for the age group. He read from the curriculum on the floor of the New Hampshire House during a hearing on the GOP-backed Parents Bill of Rights.
The bill’s prime sponsor in the Senate, Republican Sharon Carson, said the bill is in response to parents who learned for the first time what their children were being taught in schools while overseeing classwork during the COVID school closures. Those parents were shocked, Carson said.
Another reason for the bill is found in the lawsuit brought by a Manchester mother who was told by school employees they could not tell her the truth about her child’s gender identity.
“Parents shouldn’t have to file lawsuits to find out about their children,” Carson said.
The Care for Kids program, which comes from the organization Prevent Child Abuse VT, is taught throughout Vermont and in some Upper Valley communities in New Hampshire along the Connecticut River under a Healthy Relationships course.
Healthy Relationships is also taught in New Hampshire schools throughout the Monadnock region through the Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention in Keene without mention of the kindergarten naked drawing course. Representatives with MCVP Healthy Relationships program were unavailable for comment.
However, Keeney said the program is getting a review from the school board. That review is part of the regular curriculum review the board conducts and is not in response to any complaints.
“The curriculum as a whole is being looked at by the board as an ongoing, constant improvement project,” Keeney said.