An anti-pornography group in the county is going to school with its efforts this week.
The group, the Women's Christian Temperence Union based in Havre de Grace, plans to distribute a leaflet warning teachers at four Havre de Grace area schools about pornography.
The county Board of Education approved distribution of the packets in teachers' mail slots at the schools.
The school board receives "hundreds upon hundreds" of requests from a wide range of organizations to distribute materials to school principals, said Al Seymour, public information officer for the county board of education. The board of education's central office in Bel Air must approve any such distribution, Seymour said.
"The board has a policy which talks about advertising, but in other social areas it's a matter of common sense," said Seymour.
School principals then have the option of giving the information to their teachers, and teachers have the option -- but aren't required -- to pass the information on to students, said Kenneth Gill, principal of Havre de Grace Middle School.
As for the anti-pornography materials, Gill said, "This is simply another attempt on the part of the school to raise the awareness level of its teachers, who are major role models for students. We want to give them as much resource information as possible."
The teachers, at Havre de Grace high, middle and elementary schools and Meadowvale Elementary School, have the option of discussing the information on the group's leaflet with their students.
The educators also will receive a card from the group advertising National Pornography Awareness Week and a white ribbon, a symbol of decency. The group is encouraging teachers to wear the ribbons.
"Teachers are always trying to fill every void possible, and address every social issue. I don't know if this project will have any long-term effect on students, but we think it's a professional way of dealing with the pornography issue," Gill said.
The front of the leaflets distributed by the WCTU say: "Let's stop the porn plague: perversion, prostitution, promiscuity, illegitimacy, sexual assault, venereal disease, abortion, profanity, juvenile murder and rape."
On the back, the leaflets state, in part: "Statistics show a close link between pornography and 55 percent of criminal rape," including 37 percent of sex crimes.
The leaflet lists statistics, though it does not give their source: a 700 percent increase in rape in 10 years, more than a million and a half unwed teen-age mothers and 500,000 teens with venereal disease.
Nan Taylor, a union member in Harford, said the figures come from the 5,000-book research library of Signal Press in Evanston, Ill. The press is the publishing arm of the WCTU, Taylor said.
"Young people are having severe sexual problems as a direct result of the porn plague," the leaflet quotes an anonymous psychiatrist as stating.
"They're being encouraged by this trash to experiment with all types of sexual activities which they are in no way mature enough to handle."
The Havre de Grace WTCU hopes to distribute 200 packets tomorrow, in time for National Pornography Awareness Week, Oct. 28-Nov. 4. Havre de Grace Mayor Gunther Hirsch also issued a proclamation that the city would observe National Pornography Awareness Week.
Taylor, who along with her husband, Bob Taylor, is also a co-director of the WTCU's Youth Temperence Council, said she wants people to know the dangers of pornography.
Taylor said she recently found pages torn from a pornographic magazine, displaying graphic sexual acts, on the street near her home. She said she was especially incensed by the opening this year of an adult bookstore just outside the Havre de Grace town limits, within walking distance of public schools.
"So we're starting with the educators in this fight against pornography," she said. "What they do with the information is up to them."
Working with the WCTU in endorsing National Pornography Awareness Week is the Harford-Cecil American Family Association, which has waged an ongoing battle against adult bookstores in the county. The AFA is a national anti-pornography group.
AFA vice president Daryl Zoller of Darlington encourages county residents to join teachers in wearing white ribbons during the awareness week.
The group is also encouraging county residents to join a year-long boycott of Burger King restaurants, charging them as the leading sponsor of sex, violence and profanity on network television.
Specifically, AFA contends Burger King helped to sponsor 18.85 incidents of sex, violence and profanity with every 30 second commercial they ran, about two-thirds more than the average for all advertisers. Some of the objectionable programming included movies such as "Beverly Hills Cops II," "Throw Momma From the Train" and "Platoon."