Some questions about sex education

10
1954
Citizen-Letters-3

The Fayette County School Board held their monthly meeting on Monday, Feb. 24th, and the main topic of discussion was the possible changes to the sex education program for our schools.

I did not attend but read The Citizen’s detailed account of the meeting and heard similar stories from those I know who attended, so I think I have a pretty good overview of what happened.

What is interesting to me is the attitude of those who advocate changing our current curriculum, which is called “Choosing the Best” (CTB) and focuses on abstinence, to one of several curricula that subscribe to the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) program.

CSE provides much more information about the mechanics of sex and contraception, as well as delving quite far into broader issues of sexuality such as homosexuality, masturbation, and transgenderism.

The vast majority of attendees at the meeting were against adopting CSE and in favor of keeping CTB, especially given Fayette County’s extremely low rates of teen pregnancy and STD infection. Their argument is basically: if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Some wondered why we were even considering this change given the relatively healthy state of our student population. Good questions, both.

Those few brave souls who defended CSE made the argument that all purveyors of expanded sex ed seem to make, which is: yes, abstinence is fine, but if and when students become sexuality active, we must educate them on how to do it in a safe and responsible way.

Of course, this argument completely ignores the moral component of this topic, which isn’t surprising since proponents of sexual liberation want to remove sex from the realm of the moral and place it mainly in the recreational. Why some adults want to seemingly encourage teenagers to have sex is beyond me and, in fact, not a little creepy.

But let’s apply this same logic to other activities teens want to engage in. How about drinking? Do we tell teens that it’s best not to drink, but if you do, be sure to limit your consumption and do it in a moderate, healthy way? No, we do not.

We’ve decided that it’s too risky to advise our teens to flaunt the law and be entrusted with drinking wherever and whenever they want because we know from experience that doing so can result in real harm to them and others in the form of car accidents, binge drinking, and dangerous behavior of all kinds.

What about smoking? That’s legal after you’re 18, but do we tell kids to avoid it, but then tell them that if they are going to smoke, here’s how to do it and some things you should watch out for?

Some teens also want to try drugs. Do we just give in to that urge and say, “Hey, don’t do drugs. But if you do, make sure it’s only high-quality, pharmaceutical grade marijuana that has few negative side effects”? No, we don’t.

Then why do we have this attitude about sex? Arguably, sex can be way more destructive to teens than smoking cigarettes, and yet we’re practically messianic about the evils of teen smoking while somewhat blasé about the possible negative consequences of teen sex. Which one of these can result in immediate illness, pregnancy, major life disruption, emotional trauma, or worse?

And so I would ask the School Board, the textbook selection committee, and those well-meaning folks who promote CSE: What are you trying to accomplish and why do you treat sex so much differently than other potential risky behaviors that teens may gravitate towards?

A final thought. This is not the 1950s or even 60s. If kids want more information about whatever CTB/abstinence education does not cover, they can get it VERY EASILY. The folks at Planned Parenthood would probably come to your house to extol the benefits of “safe sex” and the many joys of teenage sexual experimentation. They and their parents are free to access that type of information and assume the moral consequences themselves.

But our school system should not be engaged in encouraging behavior that has no real benefit for our children whatsoever. There was a reason sex used to be reserved for marriage: engaging in it beforehand entails a high risk of negative, potentially destructive consequences and in many cases permanently ruins the beauty of sexuality that inheres in married conjugal life.

Why throw that away for a cheap and destructive thrill?

Trey Hoffman

Peachtree City, Ga.

10 COMMENTS

  1. All of the commoners whining and complaining about Government Schools, yet they still send their kids to them. That’s called doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.

    You people have choices.

    Make them.

  2. Stranger than Fiction is very confused or purposefully misleading about what the schools teach and what it is the people like Estaban and Hoffman want. The truth about the current research based medically accurate curriculum is online for all to see at choosingthebest.com. It is better coined a Sexual Risk Avoidance curriculum where accurate information is given and abstinence is taught as the only 100% effective strategy to avoid diseases (covered) and pregnancy (covered).
    Children are taught math, English, social studies and they can be taught how to behave and how to live their most healthy and risk averse life by delaying sex until marriage.
    The fact that some kids fail math, misbehave, or engage in risky behavior does not mean that we stop teaching best practices.

    • MFGA – Thanks for your reply, but I am neither confused nor attempting to mislead with my rebuttal to Mr. Hoffman. He demands of all critics a full explanation in replies to his posts. Mr. Hoffman conflates instruction beyond abstinence with encouraging and condoning licentious behaviors. This is a logical fallacy.

      Hoffman could argue (as did you) that the more limited Choosing the Best program is more appropriate for Fayette students. I disagree with you, but your argument is not illogical. Mr. Hoffman (as ever) is persistently illogical, and his alcohol, tobacco, and drug analogies do nothing but muddy the waters.

      Beware of the insidious temptation to engage in dichotomous reasoning which narrows choices considerably.

  3. So if you don’t want someone from Planned Parenthood teaching your kids:

    How to masturbate
    Which lubricants are best for a*** sex
    They should be re-thinking their gender, and
    Here’s where you can get birth control, an abortion or puberty blockers without your parents knowing

    You don’t believe in science!

  4. More Pretzel Logic – Our weekly dose of twisted reasoning comes, as usual, from one Trey Hoffman. This week he opines that limiting elucidation about human sexuality to teenagers with a Reaganesque “Just Say No” curriculum is far preferable to actually educating them with comprehensive truths about the subject. He deviates from the tracks early by conflating instruction in the facts with advocating for a promiscuous outcome. Thus, his analogies incorporating age-specific prohibitions of alcohol, tobacco, and drug usage are likewise spurious since they follow the same logical fallacy.

    Sexual abstinence until the attainment of some maturity is just as accessible to teenagers who actually understand their sexual functioning as to those who merely hear prohibitions. A more adept analogy would be teaching adolescents about fire. Would it be preferable to educate them about the laws of combustion and the indications and contraindications of using this tool or merely admonishing them not to play with matches?

    Mr. Hoffman’s overriding difficulty with logic arises from his a priori assumptions and dichotomous reasoning. In Trey’s world sexual activity fits neatly into distinct categories: a recreational pastime or a moral transaction. Confuse these and risk not only divine judgement, but also ominous “destructive consequences.”

    Not stated, but strongly implied, is Mr. Hoffman’s adherence to an ancient spiritual creed that condemns nonconjugal sexual activity and all non-heterosexual gender identification. Inviting adolescents to introspect and explore these issues probably conflicts with his belief that alternate gender identities are sinful choices rather than inherent proclivities oblivious to modification. This places him strongly at odds with the social science community – a distinction I should think he would relish.

    His most pernicious advice is flippantly added as a coda. Since a call to Planned Parenthood is unlikely, advocating exploration of sexual instruction from nonacademic sources risks exposing these students to the vagaries of opinions from their peers at best, and the purveyors of pornography and exploitation as they search the internet for further information at worst.

    Mr. Hoffman’s narrow perception of the world and his inability to negotiate complex philosophical issues render most of his letters trifling, but one must acknowledge his persistence. It follows that if one approaches a difficult issue with a predetermined answer, contemplation of conflicting facts presents a nuisance rather than illumination.