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Parent who spoke out against controversial poster says he wants to warn other parents

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SHAWNEE, Kan. - The poster was first brought to our attention earlier this year. It was supposed to show ways people express their sexual feelings.  However, one parent spoke up, saying the phrases it contained were too graphic.

Mark Ellis was shocked when his middle-schooler came home with a picture of the controversial poster. The poster contained terms like "oral sex" and "grinding," terms Ellis didn't think middle schoolers needed to see in school.

"What was on that poster, no 13-year-old should have seen," Ellis said.

Since speaking out, the Shawnee Mission School District has suspended using the supplemental program "Making a Difference." Ellis says his concern has received nationwide support.

"We found out that the poster has already been presented in 75 school districts across the nation," he said.

The program contains many common lessons for sex-ed classes including puberty, anatomy, and several lessons on abstinence.

But it's the poster that's created the most concern.

"The words themselves out of context are surprising," said Dr. Ed Streich, Chief Academic Officer for the Shawnee Mission School District.

In context, the poster is supposed to be a way to teach students about sexual interactions, and which ones can cause STD transmission.

Because of the poster and the nationwide discussion it's created, however, Ellis has been asked to provide testimony in the Kansas Legislature. Senator Mary Pilcher Cook has sponsored legislation that would  require that parents "opt-in" their students into sex-ed classes and require districts to mail warning letters of sex-ed content to parents.

The Shawnee Mission School District says it already warns parents of the material being taught in their sexual education courses, and it gives parents the opportunity to opt students out of the lessons.

Ellis says he feels it's important to let parents in other districts with this curriculum know what their students are learning, and he plans to find a way to warn them.

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