Monday, April 10, 2006

The Kansas Board of Education Strikes Again


Coming this April...from the people who brought you last year's blockbuster "Creationism in the Classroom," comes "Let's Not Teach the Kids About Sex Education," a powerful epic sure to entertain the whole family!

This time around, the Board of Education has proposed mandating all public schools switch to an abstinence only sexual education curriculum.

From the Wichita Eagle:

Supporters of so-called "abstinence until marriage" programs say such programsare the best way to lower teen pregnancy rates and prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

"Abstinence until marriage is the best thing for young people physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually," said board member Kathy Martin, who proposed the change. "It's the best thing for society as a whole, and it's the message that schools absolutely ought to be sending.

If we all lived in magical fairytale land, where everything worked out perfectly, this sort of plan would work just fine. In the real world, however, we all know that kids won't do everything they're told, with abstaining from sexual activity ranking rather high on the list. Yes, total abstinence is the absolute best way to ensure safety from unwanted pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases, but that only works for the portion of people who actually do totally abstain from sexual activity. For the rest, the lack of education in sexual matters could do very real harm.

Thankfully, some Kansans are more grounded:

"We don't want our kids to have sex, but unfortunately the reality is that a lot of them are," said Sandy Hysom, health education teaching specialist for Wichita schools. "Therefore, we have to give them accurate information."

Good, someone who gets it. Some young people will have sex, no matter what you tell them, and it's important to give them the proper information for them to at least minimize the risks of STD's and unwanted pregnancies. Other parents, however, just won't see it that way:

Gina Copas, whose 16-year-old daughter, Marissa, just joined the "Pure & Simple" troupe, says she agrees with the abstinence-only curriculum.

Other sex-education programs "teach that you have all these choices -- abstinence, condoms, whatever -- and that's not the picture I want my children to have," Copas said.

"I did teach my kids about birth control, and they can choose after marriage when to plan their family," she said. "But what I believe and what I hope for them is that they remain abstinent until marriage."

So, Gina Copas felt it necessary to teach her children about birth control, but doesn't want other children to learn the same lessons? As much as you want your children to abstain from sex until marriage, Ms. Copas, understand that your parental control has limits, and your children will grow up and make their own decisions whether you like it or not, as will all children. Don't harm the lives of others simply because you think your little angels will do no wrong.

State Board Member Mr. Martin thinks along Ms. Copas' line:

"We don't say, 'We know you're not going to fasten your seat belt or go the speed limit, so here's a road over here that you can drive on,' " said Martin, the state board member.

"My belief is, let's actually tell them not to. If we tell kids things, they will listen. We know that kids will live up or down to the expectations we give them."

Yeah, right, keep telling yourself that.

"Study after study shows that if you give students the facts and lay out the consequences, they actually delay sexual activity," Hysom said. "And, truly, that's what we're after."

Keep repeating that message, Ms. Hysom, as many times as you have to until the board relents.


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