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Family protests Catholic school sex ed

MIRAMAR, Fla., April 15 -- A south Florida family continues its protest against sex education classes at a Catholic elementary school, planning a prayer vigil outside the church tonight (Tuesday). Bernadette and Peter Anderson's three youngest children have been removed from St. Bartholomew Catholic School after they refused to attend 'family life' classes last week.

The Andersons contend it's their responsibility -- not that of the school -- to teach sex education to their children. They also object to the class content, which they believe is 'not age appropriate.' The Archdiocese of Miami, which has approved the family life series of books published by Benziger Publishing of Mission Hills, Calif., agreed to allow the Anderson children to opt out of the sex ed portion of the course, but said they must attend the rest of the classes in order to graduate. The books are used starting in the fifth grade, covering topics such as AIDS, menstruation and masturbation and they include drawings of male and female reproductive systems. The Andersons say the whole text contains references to sexuality and have requested their children be exempted from everything, not just the chapters that directly cover sex. They argue that public school parents who object to sex education can withdraw their children from class. 'Surely we have as much rights as public school parents,' Bernadette Anderson said. Neither side will budge. The Andersons intend to home-school their children the remainder of the year. ---

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