Thursday, April 8, 2010

Condoms And Minors And Booze, Oh My!

A Juneau county prosecutor in Wisconsin has created a disturbance in the force. The new law concerning sex education requires a far more comprehensive approach than the former abstinence-only method. This includes condoms and contraceptives as well as abstinence. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Starting in the fall, the new law requires schools that have sex education programs to tell students how to use condoms and other contraceptives. Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth said such education encourages sex among children, which is illegal, and could lead to charges against teachers.

The new law "promotes the sexualization - and sexual assault - of our children," Southworth wrote in a March 24 letter to officials in five school districts. He urged the districts to suspend their sex education programs and transfer their curriculum on anatomy to a science course.

"Forcing our schools to instruct children on how to utilize contraceptives encourages our children to engage in sexual behavior, whether as a victim or an offender," he wrote. "It is akin to teaching children about alcohol use, then instructing them on how to make mixed alcoholic drinks."


"If a teacher instructs any student aged 16 or younger how to utilize contraceptives under circumstances where the teacher knows the child is engaging in sexual activity with another child - or even where the 'natural and probable consequences' of the teacher's instruction is to cause that child to engage in sexual intercourse with a child - that teacher can be charged under this statute" of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, he wrote.

Have a look at the legislation (PDF). You'll find that school boards are not required to teach sex education. If they do then it spells out the requirements.

The purpose of this section is to encourage all school boards to ensure that pupils in their districts are provided age?appropriate instruction in human growth and development. The instruction should support and enhance communication between pupils and their parents and provide pupils with the knowledge, skills, and support necessary to make healthy decisions now and throughout their lifetimes and to make responsible decisions about sexual behavior.

A school board may provide an instructional program in human growth and development in grades kindergarten to 12. If provided, the instructional program shall do all of the following:

(a) Present medically accurate information to pupils and, when age appropriate, shall address the following topics:
1. The importance of communication about sexuality and decision making about sexual behavior between the pupil and the pupil’s parents, guardians, or other family members.
2. Reproductive and sexual anatomy and physiology, including biological, psychosocial, and emotional changes that accompany maturation.
3. Puberty, pregnancy, parenting, body image, and gender stereotypes.
4. The skills needed to make responsible decisions about sexuality and sexual behavior throughout the pupil’s life, including how to refrain from making inappropriate verbal, physical, and sexual advances and how to recognize, rebuff, and report any unwanted or inappropriate verbal, physical, and sexual behaviors.
5. The benefits of and reasons for abstaining from sexual activity. Instruction under this subdivision shall stress the value of abstinence as the most reliable way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
6. The health benefits, side effects, and proper use of contraceptives and barrier methods approved by the federal food and drug administration to prevent pregnancy and barrier methods approved by the federal food and drug administration to prevent sexually transmitted infections.
7. Methods for developing healthy life skills, including setting goals, making responsible decisions, communicating, and managing stress.
8. How alcohol and drug use affect responsible decision making.
9. The impact of media and one’s peers on thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to sexuality.
(b) Use instructional methods and materials that do not promote bias against pupils of any race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnic or cultural background or against sexually active pupils or children with disabilities.
(c) Promote self?esteem and positive interpersonal skills, with an emphasis on healthy relationships, including friendships, marriage, and romantic and familial relationships.
(d) Identify counseling, medical, and legal resources for survivors of sexual abuse and assault, including resources for escaping violent relationships.

There's more on this over on the Volohk Conspiracy.

I wonder if Mr Southworth has the same concerns about contributing to the delinquency of children by informing them about spray paint (graffiti), language (swearing in public), tobacco use (smoking and dipping), glue (huffing) and all those other things we dare not talk to children about because they might go out and do it.


Anonymous said...

His comparison is incorrect, the one about teaching kids how to make mixed drinks. Using his example correctly: teaching kids sex education and instructing them on the use of condoms is like--> teaching a course on alcohol, knowing that kids are going to drink, and encouraging them to drink in moderation, not drive, be in a safe place, etc etc. It certainly is not encouraging sex. Teaching kids about condoms/contraception, is done with the understanding that kids are going to have sex, and we might as well help prevent them from ruining their lives at 15 years old.

Of course the religious right has nothing better to worry about than whether kids learn about safe sex...oh wait maybe they could convince their priests to stop molesting minor boys.

Sherry said...

I will say it again: I can't believe I was the only teenager in the last century to believe that if you had sex you could get pregnant--and that that was a BAD thing.

Anonymous: I think that was a cheap shot about the priests.