“Abstinence vs. sex education”

How telling is this week’s news about a Texas high school that is now contending with a widespread outbreak of a sexually transmitted disease in spite of a policy of teaching only abstinence rather than sex education.

It’s telling in that — first – it tells us what happens when fundamentalists get control of a school board and mandate religious beliefs in the guise of abstinence while removing sex education.

It’s telling in that — secondly — how in the world could these educators and administrators so mis-read the nature of the kids they are working with day by day?  Denying information to teenagers — and information so central to their nervous system and psyche and society as sexuality — is about as insightful as saying to a 2-year-old, “Don’t touch that.”

It didn’t work with Adam & Eve — not even with GOD telling them!

It’s telling in that — thirdly — there is a failure to understand that whatever kids are taught or NOT taught — what happens in any high school depends more on peer pressure than on any other factor.

If the adults in that community want to insert something truly useful in the curriculum, it isn’t abstinence in place of sex education.  Rather, they could add a course on peer pressure — showing the difference between someone having a healthy ego and healthy self-assertion vs. caving in.

Decision-making is the most important thing kids and teens must contend with.  Such a course would be the most important class they would ever take, applicable for the rest of their lives.

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