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It's Detention Time for Sex Education Teachers | The Nation

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It's Detention Time for Sex Education Teachers

If putting a condom on a banana leads to sexual assault, then teaching someone to buckle a seatbelt must lead to drunk driving. Makes sense. At least, that's how a Wisconsin District Attorney sees it.

In a March 24 letter addressed to five Wisconsin school districts, Scott Harold Southworth of Juneau County is urging schools to drop their sexual education programs for fear of criminal liability and promoting the "sexualization" and "sexual assault" of children.

The letter specifically condemns Wisconsin's Healthy Youth Act (2009 Wisconsin Act 134), enacted in early March. If the teachers continue, Southworth has warned he may prosecute instructors for contributing to the delinquency of minors.

Southworth's main axe grinding is where the act states that sexual education programs shall address age-appropriate pupils re the "health benefits, side effects, and proper use of contraceptives and barrier methods..."

Translation? "Forcing our schools to instruct children on how to utilize contraceptives encourages [sic] our children to engage in sexual behavior, whether as a victim or an offender," he writes. "It is akin to teaching children about alcohol use, then instructing them on how to make mixed alcoholic drinks. While it is true that some children will wrongly choose to engage in sexual behavior before entering adulthood, our school districts should never [sic] promote illegal activity."

Yes, it's true; school districts should never promote illegal activity. But are Wisconsin's sexual education programs truly promoting sexual acts with minors, as Southworth believes? He writes that if an instructor teaches sex ed to a minor whom they know is sexually active, or, if a child then becomes inclined to engage in sex with another "child" after the instruction, the teacher can face 9 months of jail and up to six years of prison. Why? Because they intentionally contributed to the delinquency.

Here's another lesson. The Act states: "A volunteer health care provider may provide instruction in human growth and development if the instructional program is in compliance with requirements of s.188.019."

Translation? "Now, schools can utilize these 'health care providers,' who may come in the form of contraceptive industry representatives (e.g. employees of Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion and contraceptive provider, which lobbied in favor of this new law) and who can effectively market sexually-oriented products to our children," he writes. "Our children receive enough [sic] sales pitches from television, magazines and radios--they should not be subjected to pandering by "volunteers" from local contraception businesses whose real interest is likely obtaining new, young customers."

Surely that is Planned Parenthood's intention. Go to a classroom, teach sexual education, and get new customers. It's like advertising Happy Meals filled with condoms and birth control. It's a win win!

Beyond the illegal implications, Southworth hardly discusses that these "children" are already having sex and will have more sex. His wisdom of protecting children during their "most innocent years" also fails to mention that research shows sexual education does not promote an increase in sexual activity nor does it decrease the age youth begin having sex, nor does it increase the frequency of sexual encounters nor the number of sex partners among sexually active youth.

So, what should teachers do? Southworth does not offer a solution and he did not he respond for an interview. His letter continues to frighten teachers and students of the risque lesson plan for "illegal behavior"--sex education.

By Clarissa León

If putting a condom on a banana leads to sexual assault, then teaching someone to buckle a seatbelt must lead to drunk driving. Makes sense. At least, that's how a Wisconsin District Attorney sees it.

In a March 24 letter addressed to five Wisconsin school districts, Scott Harold Southworth of Juneau County is urging schools to drop their sexual education programs for fear of criminal liability and promoting the "sexualization" and "sexual assault" of children.

The letter specifically condemns Wisconsin's Healthy Youth Act (2009 Wisconsin Act 134), enacted in early March. If the teachers continue, Southworth has warned he may prosecute instructors for contributing to the delinquency of minors.

Southworth's main axe grinding is where the act states that sexual education programs shall address age-appropriate pupils re the "health benefits, side effects, and proper use of contraceptives and barrier methods..."

Translation? "Forcing our schools to instruct children on how to utilize contraceptives encourages [sic] our children to engage in sexual behavior, whether as a victim or an offender," he writes. "It is akin to teaching children about alcohol use, then instructing them on how to make mixed alcoholic drinks. While it is true that some children will wrongly choose to engage in sexual behavior before entering adulthood, our school districts should never [sic] promote illegal activity."

Yes, it's true; school districts should never promote illegal activity. But are Wisconsin's sexual education programs truly promoting sexual acts with minors, as Southworth believes? He writes that if an instructor teaches sex ed to a minor whom they know is sexually active, or, if a child then becomes inclined to engage in sex with another "child" after the instruction, the teacher can face 9 months of jail and up to six years of prison. Why? Because they intentionally contributed to the delinquency.

Here's another lesson. The Act states: "A volunteer health care provider may provide instruction in human growth and development if the instructional program is in compliance with requirements of s.188.019."

Translation? "Now, schools can utilize these 'health care providers,' who may come in the form of contraceptive industry representatives (e.g. employees of Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion and contraceptive provider, which lobbied in favor of this new law) and who can effectively market sexually-oriented products to our children," he writes. "Our children receive enough [sic] sales pitches from television, magazines and radios--they should not be subjected to pandering by "volunteers" from local contraception businesses whose real interest is likely obtaining new, young customers."

Surely that is Planned Parenthood's intention. Go to a classroom, teach sexual education, and get new customers. It's like advertising Happy Meals filled with condoms and birth control. It's a win win!

Beyond the illegal implications, Southworth hardly discusses that these "children" are already having sex and will have more sex. His wisdom of protecting children during their "most innocent years" also fails to mention that research shows sexual education does not promote an increase in sexual activity nor does it decrease the age youth begin having sex, nor does it increase the frequency of sexual encounters nor the number of sex partners among sexually active youth.

So, what should teachers do? Southworth does not offer a solution and he did not he respond for an interview. His letter continues to frighten teachers and students of the risque lesson plan for "illegal behavior"--sex education.

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