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Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Doin' the sex-ed shuffle

Editor’s Notebook: Doin’ the sex-ed shuffle

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Sex education, or “family life education” as local leaders try to more euphemistically call it these days, has been a contentious subject for generations.

Back in the May 31, 1969, edition of the Northern Virginia Sun, it was reported that a state agency was planning on foisting “mandatory sex education” on public-school students. But someone apparently unhappy with the idea had leaked the plan to the public in order to gin up opposition.

Now, when it comes to MANDATORY sex-ed, you could call in Sheriff Buford T. Justice. “Oh, you can think about it,” he would advise, “but doooooooon’t do it.” And I presume Virginia did not, as at least when the McCaffrey boys got to sex-ed class a decade or more later, it was certainly optional. Recognizing that I’d need all the help I could get on that front, I was happy to have it.


(P.S. — A story my mother used to tell was of her high-school days when her father, a teacher and the head football coach, got handed sex-ed duties at their school during the Eisenhower era. He was there to instruct the boys, but only a flimsy wall separated them from the girls, so my mother and all her friends got to hear his performance. Well, if you can diagram a football play, what’s so hard about diagramming this kind of stuff?)

THEY’RE RESOURCEFUL, THAT’S FOR SURE: Of all they types of birds, crows may be my favorite. They’re noisy, yes, but also smart, sociable (with each other) and clever.

And yesterday, toodling on my way through Ballston, I spied a crow flying up there at 20 or 30 feet, carrying an entire doughnut it his/her/its mouth.

Gotta love it.

DISRESPECTFUL? YES? DOPEY, ALSO YES: There have been times in my looooong local tenure when a local school system considers having kids go to class of Memorial Day, if there have been a large number of days off in winter due to weather and the calendar is running out.

Best as I can recollect, every time that was proposed, it was shot down.

And rightly so: Memorial Day is a day that, even if not everyone uses it to honor our war dead, should be reserved for that opportunity.

According to our history column, though, in 1969 the Fairfax County School Board decided to make students attend on Memorial Day as a make-up day for earlier snows. Tacky, tacky, tacky – and, to perhaps nobody’s surprise, only about half the student body bothered to turn up.

I MISSED IT, BUT WE CAN STILL CELEBRATE: Earlier this week was National Tap-Dance Day. Got to it too late myself to tap my tootsies and mark the occasion, but below is an old clip from Dean Martin’s variety show. The best part of it is seeing Lee J. Cobb – an actor known for roles playing angry, angry men – having a blast in the tap-dancing skit.


– Scott McCaffrey

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