Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Want Your Kids to Hear the Truth? Sue!

Maybe it takes a lawsuit to get some folks to tell the truth.

For years, the Federal Government has funded various abstinence-only sex education courses for school children. At the same time, the Feds have a law on the books requiring that certain educational materials present medically accurate information about condoms.

It's been no secret that many of the taxpayer subsidized abstinence-only sex ed programs have been breaking the law by teaching kids false and misleading information about the effectiveness of condoms. But until now, no one has done anything about it.

Enter the American Civil Liberties Union. Today, eleven state chapters of the ACLU sent letters to the Federal Government's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) demanding the Government enforce it's own law, stop various abstinence-only folks from lying about condoms, or be sued.

“We are taking action today because federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula across the country contain medically inaccurate information about the importance of condoms in preventing pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted disease,” said Julie Sternberg, Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom. “Spreading misinformation about condoms in many abstinence-only-until-marriage programs violates federal law and endangers teens’ health.”

Today’s action comes on the heels of an April letter the ACLU sent to HHS, which said three federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula, Me, My World, My Future; Sexuality, Commitment & Family; and Why kNOw, along with HHS’s own Web site and pamphlet, Parents, Speak Up!, all violate a federal law requiring certain educational materials to contain medically accurate information about condom effectiveness. In that letter, the ACLU called on HHS to immediately remedy the violations or face a legal challenge.

“The government has turned a blind eye to the misinformation in federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage programs,” said Sternberg. “It is time for the federal government to start properly monitoring the content of these programs.”

No response from the Federal Government yet. But some social conservatives must be howling this evening. After all, so far as many social conservatives are concerned, no good can come of telling kids the truth about sex.



decrepitoldfool said...

...or to tell kids the truth about anything. For example, when you tell kids that one puff on a joint will turn them into monsters, and they know lots of people who toke, who appear just fine, they stop believing you when you tell them things. And you never know, someday you might need to tell them something that is both true and important.

Kids can spot logical inconsistencies. Every kid has blown up a condom to the size of a basketball and knows instinctively that they're very well made. If ten percent of condoms fail, shouldn't every legal prostitute in the world have AIDS?

Elton said...

Actually, I believe that sex education should be handled by parents instead of the school. The government's lagging in the Law proves it.

A kid will listen more to his father or mother (or both) about the subject of sex education than the teacher. The home is the best place to learn about puberty. For what it's worth.

decrepitoldfool said...

...except that half of all marriages end in divorce now, and kids have very strained relationships with their estranged parents. In practice the school is the only remaining safety net of much-needed authority, and they should start using that authority more wisely.

Paul said...

I think in an ideal world the parents would educate their kids about sex, Elton, but this isn't an ideal world. Most parents are not experts in all aspects of human sexuality. They are ill-equiped to teach their kids everything their kids need to know about sex.