Joan Frazer hurried down the worn linoleum hallway of old Montock High School, books and her class record under one arm, a small can of film gripped tightly in her other hand. Her long, satiny brunette hair cascaded over her shoulders as she walked quickly, her form-hugging dress stretching tautly over her body and accentuating the fluid lines of her movements.
She had the body of a lush young Venus, even though she had recently celebrated her thirty-first birthday over the Christmas holidays. If the young boys and girls of Montock High had cared to take full notice of her charms – and some of them had sneaked long and admiring glances at her – they could have traced in detail her sensual curves and hollows through the pink velveteen dress she wore this day. Through its sheer, stretched thinness could be seen the outline of her white nylon brassiere, which barely hid the high-set roundness of her firm, full breasts whose rose-tipped nipples clearly punched against the covering fabric. The short-hemmed dress molded down over a slender, girlish waist and a flat, smooth stomach to a long, full-swelling thighs; and where the dress ended, slim curved legs tapered down to slender well-formed calves and ankles.
Miss Frazer's rich dark hair framed an oval-shaped face that was almost classic in its cameo proportions. Her hazel eyes were deep-set and large, giving her an innocent appearance which belied her age. She had a dainty, slightly curved nose with a few small freckles dotted puckishly across its bridge, and her full ripe mouth had a lower lip which was almost perpetually set in a little-girl pout. The unmarried teacher was beautiful in a youthful manner that guaranteed to attract admiring attention from the most discriminating of men, and the dart-eyed envy of jealous, less well endowed women.
She was walking rapidly to Room 12, and the last class of the day; normally this would have produced happiness within her. In one hour she could say goodbye to her young pupils and head toward home, but the coming hour today was one she dreaded with all of her might, just as she had hated this class every week since the beginning of the school year last September. Once a week she had been experiencing the nightmarish horror of having to stand in front of the small group of youthful students and keeping a tight check on her quaking inner emotions, so that they would not be able to guess the torment which surged through her increasingly as the minutes ticked by. Her agony was of her own doing, she fully knew; a product of her past catching up with her, and of her present throwing temptation continually up into her face. Miss Joan Frazer was the teacher of Montock High's experimental sex education course. The once-a-week class on Wednesdays had probably been the hottest controversy to strike the farming community of Montock since the mayor had been in session since September, seven months ago, still the small town was split with the emotional fury of whether sex and procreation should be taught in the schools. For some years now, educators had been pressing for sex education in one form or another, ranging from a simple birds-and-bees outline to a comprehensive, multi-grade study of sexual techniques that included lessons in premarital intercourse, venereal diseases, masturbation, sodomy, and other forms of "unnatural", if commonly practiced acts.
The "Progressives", mostly in the state's few large cities, had argued that the family and church had failed in supplying a healthy, knowledgeable program to adolescents, and were cloaking their own fears and dogmas in embarrassed and harmful silence. The modern generation, these educators maintained, was smarter, sharper, and more solid than any other in the history of the world. The boys and girls growing up today wanted facts, not superstition, and as they matured into young men and woman, they had a right to know the truth about their budding sexuality. The most basic condition of the human animal could no longer hide behind the prudish skirts of their parents, and should be presented logically and matter-of-factly so that they could gain an adult outlook instead of the immature back-room gutter attitudes that had traditionally been formed through ignorance.
The "fundamentalists" fought back just as hard. Their arguments ranged from scriptural quotations and the Saint Augustine concept of "Original Sin", to sex education being a Communist plot for the subverting of American youth into degeneracy, to the concept that classroom teaching would sterilize the romance and love out of sex. Sex had to be taught with a foundation of decency, they said; a child who learned sex as he would tennis would never have the respect, awe, or control of his growing desires, and would soon become cynical and immoral. And like religion, they argued, the ethics and decencies which made sex more than just copulation between man and woman were too varied from family to family for a mere teacher to present effectively.
Montock was rural, away from the centers of the state, and its outlook was narrow and firmly planted in tradition. Not unexpectedly, the small town was almost entirely on the side of the "fundamentalists", and so convinced were its citizens in the inherent evil of sex education, that they were caught off-guard by the passing of a sex education law in the state congress. Sex courses were made mandatory in all school districts as of the current school year, and as a result, the Freshman class of Montock High was given a chance to learn about sex every Wednesday afternoon whether their parents liked it or not.
The State Board of Education had passed down a series of guidelines, starting with the rule that the class was voluntary – up to a point. There had to be at least five students mixed between the sexes, and in Montock, there were only five students who were in Joan Frazer's class. Because the concept of sex education was so new, and opinion as to methods and subject matter were so varied, the Board had decided to allow each district a wide margin in choice of what to present. Later, after a few years of experiment, a more standardized format would be decided upon, they said, based on what would be learned now.
It so happened that Montock's principal, Ozgood Blatherton, was a pompous little man who had dreams of becoming principal of larger and better schools in one of the big cities, and he had latched on to the sex education issue as a spring-board to make a name for himself. Consequently, he had set up one of the most frank and explicit courses in the state, pulling no punches in his effort to prove to Montock and his superiors that sex education was an effective and desirable program. The film Joan carried in her hand, for example, was one which would have been banned as obscene if it had been screened in a regular theater, and some of her previous teaching material would have been termed pornographic if the public at large had been aware of their content. Mr. Blatherton had also been the one who had selected the five "volunteers" for her class, and with an unerring eye for further trouble, he had chosen three of the crudest ruffians in the Freshman class, including the son of Montock's most prominent citizen, and two young girls who had a reputation for wild, loose behavior. And then he had handed the powder-keg package over to Joan Frazer last September and washed his hands of the affair…
A bell rang in the distance, reverberating down the hall in warning that the seventh and final period was about to begin. Why me? Joan asked herself painfully as she reached the door to Room 12… Oh God, why had Ozgood Blatherton picked me for this class?