A Pennsylvania English teacher said he included close-up photographs of penises, vulvas, as well as a video of a woman ejaculating in an optional sexuality class, according to an interview. The school told Fox News Digital they were standing by him.
Al Vernacchio is an English teacher at Friends’ Central School, a private school in Wynnewood. He also is involved in the sexuality curriculum, which expounds from children nursery through 12th grade, according to his website.
In his work as Sexuality Education Coordinator, Vernacchio teaches classes, organizes sexuality-themed programs and assemblies, and is one of the faculty advisors for the Gender and Sexual Orientation Alliance.
In an unearthed 2011 interview he gave to The New York Times Magazine, Vernacchio described his graphic lesson plans which he said have raised concerns outside the school. The teacher said his goal is to desensitize children to images of genitalia.
The Times reported, “The lessons that tend to raise eyebrows outside the school, according to Vernacchio, are a medical research video he shows of a woman ejaculating — students are allowed to excuse themselves if they prefer not to watch — and a couple of dozen up-close photographs of vulvas and penises. The photos, Vernacchio said, are intended to show his charges the broad range of what’s out there.”
“It’s really a process of desensitizing them to what real genitals look like, so they’ll be less freaked out by their own and, one day, their partner’s,” the teacher added.
Eleventh and 12th grade students were exposed to those lessons. Students had the option to opt out from viewing the nude images and parents sign off on enrollments.
The school said they stood firmly by their educator.
“Al Vernacchio is a nationally renowned and highly respected educator. It is disappointing that his work and our School are being miscast so thoroughly. Friends’ Central is committed to cultivating the intellectual, ethical and spiritual promise of our students, in a world that needs that more than ever,” they said in a statement.
“What’s interesting, he added, is that both the boys and girls receive the photographs of the penises rather placidly but often insist that the vulvas don’t look ‘normal,'” the profile of Vernacchio continued.
“[The students] have no point of reference for what a normal, healthy vulva looks like, even their own,” Vernacchio said.
Additionally, Vernacchio has commented on children in the context of “sexual being[s].”
“I’m responsible for the sexuality education of all of our students from our youngest students who are three years old in nursery school, up through our 12th graders who are turning 18 and getting ready to leave high school. That’s a huge range, but every single one of those kids is a sexual being. They have been since birth,” he said. “And at every age and stage, we can offer them age appropriate, transformative sexuality education.”
“I’m only a small part of the village that supports them as they grow. It’s not enough that I teach them. We have to teach them. Part of my message today is that we all, no matter what else we do in life, need to find a way to be sexuality educators for the kids in our lives. If we don’t step up, others will. And many of those others don’t see wholeness and freedom the way we do,” he said.
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