The nursery rhyme "Rub a dub-dub, three men in a tub" could mean something incredibly different to grade school students in Helena, Montana if the public school system adopts a controversial sex education plan.
At the center of the controversy is a desire by educators and special interest groups to begin teaching a pro-gay sex education curriculum to children as young as five years old.
The debate over whether to teach and what to teach kindergarteners has been raging for years.
In 2007 then-Senator Barack Obama said he supported sex education for kindergartners -- calling it "the right thing to do."
Obama recounted how grade school sex education became a campaign issue during his 2004 senate race against Alan Keyes.
"I remember him using this in his campaign against me," Obama told Planned Parenthood as he mimicked Keyes. "Barack Obama supports teaching sex education to kindergarteners. Which - I didn't know what to tell him. But it's the right thing to do - to provide age-appropriate sex education, science-based sex education in schools."
It also became an issue during the 2008 presidential campaign. Sen. John McCain produced an ad that said, "Obama's one accomplishment? Legislation to teach 'comprehensive sex education' to kindergarteners. Learning about sex before learning to read? Barack Obama. Wrong on education. Wrong for your family."
The comprehensive plan under consideration in Helena would:
- Teach fifth graders that "sexual intercourse includes, but is not limited to vaginal, oral, or anal penetration;
- Teach kindergarteners about "basic reproductive body parts (penis, vagina, breast, nipples, testicles, scrotum)."
- Teach all grades that marriage is a "commitment by two people."
- Teach first graders that "human beings can love people of the same gender & people of another gender."
- Teach that sexual orientation refers to a "person's physical and/or romantic attraction to an individual of the same and/or different gender."
- Teach sixth graders that sexual intercourse includes "using the penis, fingers, tongue or objects."
Parents who live in Montana, though, are adamantly opposed to the plan. Many say it's not the school's responsibility to teach such graphic material. Others call it a disgrace.
"Outrage," said Shannon Karp, of Belgrade, MT.
"We are just setting children up to start having sex at an earlier age," said the mother of 9-year-old triplets. "I think we should let our children be children. Let them be innocent and enjoy their grade school years. There will be enough pressure on them as they get older."
An online petition to stop the plan has generated hundreds of signers.
"As a parent, I want to choose when, where and how I educate my child on the topic of sexuality," wrote on Montana parent. "I do not want the school system making that choice for me."