Friday, September 18, 2009

Sex ed's youth movement

From the 21 September 2009 Greater Niagara Newspapers

By Bob Confer

If you ever get the chance to visit the State Capitol, some of the more enlightening sights you’ll encounter won’t be in the legislative chambers. It’s what happens on the streets, outside those tame rooms, that will get your attention. That’s where the lobbyists and demonstrators roam and they run the gamut from the silly to the disgusting.

It was on a 2008 trip to Albany that I saw some lobbyists who did disgust me. Two women oversaw a peaceful demonstration of banners asking for the passage of the Healthy Teens Act. This bill has been floating around Albany where it has been passed by the Assembly for five years running while waiting for Senate approval (which may come in 2010 with the Democrats now in control). The activists’ display was done calmly and professionally yet it still reeked of offense. The individuals they had holding the signage were not adults; they were a half-dozen girls aged maybe 11 or 12.

Now, most anytime a kid gets involved in politics you can’t help but feel proud to be an American. But, there are times like this when you can’t help but feel sorry for them and wonder who put them through it and what kind of parents they have, because there are certain things that young kids really shouldn’t be fighting for.

The Healthy Kids Act is one of them. It sounds like a well-meaning, maybe harmless, bill. It’s not. The only health that it focuses on is sexual health. It would mandate that all public schools in New York force comprehensive sexual education on all of their students, focusing on the entire gamut of sexuality from biology to abstinence to safe sexual activity. The state would pay grants to the schools to cover the costs of the education that would be offered to kids as young as 11 years of age.

As if that’s not outrageous enough, the United Nations recently introduced its own set of sexual education guidelines that it would like to see introduced the world over. It suggests that educators teach 5 to 8 year olds about the basics of reproduction (and masturbation) and offer more detailed information to 9 to 12 year olds. Students in the early teen years would then receive very explicit training about sexuality including abortion and post-abortion care, something the UN recognizes as a basic human right.

The State’s and the UN’s focus – as well as the world’s general acceptance of the UN’s draft - on the sexuality of such young children is very disconcerting. Whether they are 5 year olds or tweens, they should not be told what sex is and how to have it. That’s much too young of an age to indoctrinate them on every nuance of sexuality, even in this era of declining values. They do not possess the maturity, morality or sense to process the information given to them. They’re kids! By showing them the ins and outs of sex, their young, inquisitive minds will no doubt be more apt to experiment at that young age, further driving down the average age at which people have their first sexual experience (15 years of age).

For reasons such as that, it has been proven time and time again that school-based sex ed does not work. The only sex ed that can work and has a better rate of success is that which sufficed for years, the home-based kind. That’s because sexuality is a moral issue as much as it is a biological issue and such pithy discussions should never be left in the hands of the government. A government cannot be allowed to force morality on its people. Doing so takes away the freedom of mind and the human experience. Schools should exist only for the hard facts of math, science, writing and technology. All things focusing on character should be left where it belongs, at home. As uncomfortable as the conversations may be for all involved, it should be up to one’s parents to teach teens – and not children - about the birds and the bees, addressing morality and maturity specific to their upbringing, development, and, in some cases, faith.

Parents should never trust someone else (especially the government) to raise their kids. The schools are there only to educate them, not to turn transform into the adults who their parents might hope they become. If the folks in Albany or the UN headquarters had their way, the trappings of adulthood (like sexual activity) would come at an even younger age and solely at the government’s discretion. Let us hope that common sense prevails, putting an end to this movement and keeping this debauchery out of our elementary schools.

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