Core Curriculum for an Abstinence-Only Learning Environment

Tiffany Quay Tyson
Published in
2 min readMay 20, 2019


Basic Math
Students will participate in hands-off activities, such as adding sums without paper or pencil and keeping the results to themselves. Multiplication is strictly forbidden.

Chemistry Lab
Students will observe the cleanliness and purity of the brand new beakers, ring clamps, thermometers, glass tubing, and Bunsen Burners in a state-of-the-art lab. They will experiment with keeping their hands in their laps to avoid smudging the equipment or transferring germs. Each student will be expected to master the following skills: preventing flames, keeping corks away from tubes, staying below the boiling point, strict fluid separation, and avoiding any situation where they might be advised to don latex gloves. No latex gloves will be available.

English Literature
Students will read D.H. Lawrence’s short story “The Rocking-Horse Winner” and discuss how it is a story about a boy and his toy, but really nothing more. The remainder of the term will be spent studying The Scarlet Letter. Students must demonstrate understanding of Hawthorne’s classic work by choosing “The Girl Most Likely to Become Hester Prynne” from among their classmates.

American History
Students will learn to avoid messy historical narratives and to embrace a pure and uncomplicated view of our nation’s divine rise to power. And while some schools assemble a mock Congress or a mock Supreme Court, we ask students to demonstrate mastery of the justice system by recreating the Salem Witch Trials.

Computer Science
This course offers students the opportunity to study how computer viruses can be transmitted through even casual contact between personal files or sharing of data. Students will learn how to keep computers virus-free through strict isolation from any other computer. The school will provide computers in the form of IBM Selectric typewriters.

Students will create paintings, which they will either keep with them 24-hours-a-day for the entire school year or will give away while still wet to a strange family. If they choose the latter option, they must agree to never see the art again and to avoid talking about it.

Physical Education
The health of our students is our top priority. Students will learn that the only way to avoid injury is to avoid physical activity. Some people have complained about the lack of iconic gym activities such as Dodgeball. We hear you, but the only way to 100 percent ensure that children don’t get slammed in the face with a ball is to keep them completely out of the game. In a way, it’s like they’re playing Dodgeball all the time — and winning!

Sex Education
Students will never receive any education about sex at all. You have our word on that.



Tiffany Quay Tyson

Author of the novels THREE RIVERS and THE PAST IS NEVER. Winner of the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and more.