On Topic Of Sex, School Board Lives In Another World


June 23, 1991|By Edward H. Shur

Why do some of our school board members, especially concerning sex, still believe in the expression: Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil? School board members Cheryl A. McFalls, Anne Ballard and JosephMish believe that having teachers inform students about such issues as birth control and AIDS "usurps parental authority."

Egged on byeight vocal parents, the board voted against distributing in high schools a "teen health card" informing students that free condoms are available and that parental permission is not required to receive services.

It should be noted that the card is supported by the Governor's Council on Adolescent Pregnancy and the Maryland State Department of Education. Also, under state law, minors do not require parental permission to obtain those services.

But the small group of parents claimed the information on the card could diminish the advisory role of parents, promote teen-age promiscuity and conflict with the board's policy of promoting abstinence in student relations. Board President John D. Myers Jr. and member Carolyn L. Scott were the only ones favoring keeping the card's wording.

It's unfortunate these parents andschool board members are not living in the real world. In the real world, many parents don't discuss sex with their children.

Some consider it a dirty word. Others are too embarrassed. Still others feel their children wouldn't have sex, couldn't get pregnant or catch a disease; it's the old "It couldn't happen to my kids" fallacy. And, especially sad, some don't know all the facts themselves.

Even in homes where parents are willing to talk about sex and its consequences, often the kids don't feel comfortable and won't be open about discussing sex.

Advocating abstinence as the best choice is fine. But as Gary Dunkleberger, director of curriculum and staff development, toldthe board: "We know that not all students will make that choice. Then, we feel part of our job is to present them with all the options."

Yes, dare I say it, some youngsters will have sex despite the abstinence plea. And if they are not properly educated, the consequences are horrific.

Several years ago, I was in the Health Department talking with a number of pregnant teens. Yes, Carroll County, even our picturesque community, has too many teen-age mothers and fathers.

In choosing between depending on all parents to properly inform all kids about sex and having teachers handle the education, I'd opt for the latter. It's a much more dependable and safer option, for the consequences of the first will only bring more teen-age mothers and fathers, more abortions, more people on welfare, more people struck with venereal disease and AIDS, more young people dropping out of school. .. .

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