From: Valerie Cooper
To: Robert Robusto
This letter is written in response to your comments in The Harford County Sun, Dec. 29, "It's no big deal."
While you are certainly entitled to your opinion about pornography, I found your response to the survey question to be careless,immature and irresponsible.
First, I am a health educator. Sex education is not pornography. Nor is pornography sex education. For youto imply that the two are even remotely comparable is ludicrous and ignorant. The purpose of sex education is to give young people the necessary information to make smart choices.
Second, sex is a "big deal." Those who take a carefree attitude toward sex are not being very intelligent. Irresponsible sexual behavior has always had its consequences (unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases). But now, it is more serious. Sex can result in AIDS, and that means death.
Last, although health is a mandatory graduation requirement in Harford County, the unit on teen pregnancy, AIDS and STDs is not. All parents have the opportunity to preview any and all materials and elect, if they wish, to have their child not participate in the unit.
With all the information in the media about the seriousness and high incidence of the occurrence of AIDS, I am shocked to learn that thereare still adults with attitudes such as yours.
I, as well as other educators and parents, can only hope that young people are getting the message that irresponsible sex is dangerous and hope that your opinions do not influence any impressionable young person's mind.
Inclosing, I would like to invite you to sit in on any of my sex education classes for two reasons. One is for you to witness that learningactually does take place, and two, to have you do some learning as well.
THE FACTS, PLEASE
From: Kenneth E. Heselton
The misleading headlines in your paper fail to annoy me. They are not, however, as deceptive as the boxes requesting comment on the proposed adult bookstore legislation. The impression you now present on that issue is false.
Originally, you indicated there would be "new restrictions" on adult bookstores. Now the attention-getting little box indicates the county is about to "ban" them. Why do such imaginings slip into print? Is it because you don't want to confuse your readers withthe facts?
A large segment of the public may now believe the county government is proceeding to ban adult bookstores. That perception you generated (intent undefined) with your little box. Do citizens ofthis county have to go to the library and read the proposed legislation so they will know the truth or (could it be possible) can you print it?
A citizen can normally identify a misleading headline when reading the accompanying article. It is impossible for someone to discern the truth when all he or she can learn about an issue is embodied in one deceptive sentence. To suggest a "ban" is forthcoming is so false that it forces reiteration of my earlier question -- are you one of the deceivers or simply one of the deceived?
From: Jim Cannon
With regard to your editorial advocating the much-touted, politically correct solution of education our children concerning condom use, "What our kids don't know about sex can hurt them," The Harford County Sun, Jan. 26, I have two comments.
First, condom education is not a solution; it is a placebo. Lloyd J. Kolbe of the federal Centers for Disease Control is quoted by the National & International Religion Report as saying, "We can't expect a one-week (sex education) course in high school to change the behavior of an entire population."
He concludes that it will take the united efforts of parents, families, schools, religious organizations, health departments, community agencies and the media. In my estimation, condom-use education by the public schools will not be effective in significantly reducing the problems caused by teen sex. What itwill give is more "how-to" information to an age group which is not sufficiently mature to adequately use the information. The result will be more sex, not safer sex.
Second, while I agree that sex education which emphasizes moral purity is an important aspect of educating adolescents, I take strong exception to attempts by the government or the media in the name of "the good of society" to dictate to me asto who will provide sex education to my children.
Call me a parents' rights activist, but I do not want a morally passive school system with its supposedly neutral terminology (i.e. "sexually active" vs."sexually immoral") providing sex education to my children unless they do so in accordance with a moral values system I can support.
Sex education is value-intensive; adolescents will be exposed to the values of the system. These values presently say "You're old enough todecide whether or not it's OK to have sex. Go ahead if you want to, just be safe."