Roundup: Wisconsin DA Threatens To Arrest Sex Ed Teachers


So imagine your school district gets a letter from the district attorney threatening to arrest and charge teachers for teaching a curriculum approved by the state legislature for contributing to the “delinquency of a minor.” Pretty shocking, huh?

Well that’s exactly what happened in Wisconsin.

Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth sent a letter to five school districts that stated Wisconsin’s new sex education curriculum — which passed in February —  is “illegal, and could lead to charges against teachers.” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

The new law “promotes the sexualization – and sexual assault – of our children,” Southworth wrote in a March 24 letter to officials in five school districts. He urged the districts to suspend their sex education programs and transfer their curriculum on anatomy to a science course.

“Forcing our schools to instruct children on how to utilize contraceptives encourages our children to engage in sexual behavior, whether as a victim or an offender,” he wrote. “It is akin to teaching children about alcohol use, then instructing them on how to make mixed alcoholic drinks.”

“If a teacher instructs any student aged 16 or younger how to utilize contraceptives under circumstances where the teacher knows the child is engaging in sexual activity with another child – or even where the ‘natural and probable consequences’ of the teacher’s instruction is to cause that child to engage in sexual intercourse with a child – that teacher can be charged under this statute” of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, he wrote.

He said the law went too far because it required teachers not to teach students about the effects of birth control, but on how to properly use them, “which turns objective instruction into implicit encouragement and advocacy.”

It seems Southworth has a habit of using his position as district attorney of Juneau County to promote his religious beliefs. Such as this letter, written on official letterhead dated January 27, 2009 where he wrote to Donna Katen-Bahensky, president & CEO of the University of Wisconsin Hospital about second-trimester abortions. Or his testimony in 2008 to the Senate Committee on Public Health, Senior Issues, Long Term Care and Privacy on a bill about assisted suicide.

Yet Southworth denies that his letter to Juneau County schools was politically motivated.

He disputed claims by [Rep. Kelda Helen Roys] and [Rep. Tamara Grigsby] that he was inciting fear in teachers or trying to promote his political views, saying he had an ethical obligation to tell districts his interpretation of the law.

“If I’d wanted to be ideological, I would have said in the letter you shouldn’t have sex before marriage because that’s the Christian perspective. I’m an evangelical,” Southworth said.

It should be mentioned that the new law does not require schools to teach sex education, in fact one of the schools that received Southworth’s letter, Necedah Area School District “has not taught sex education for years, said Charlie Krupa, the school superintendent.” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that for schools that offer sex education:

The law requires schools that have sex education courses to teach students medically accurate, age-appropriate information, including how to use birth control and prevent sexually transmitted disease. It also requires the classes to include information about how to recognize signs of abuse and how alcohol can affect decision making.

The classes also must inform students that teenagers who have sex can wind up on the state’s sex offender registry because sex with children 16 or younger is a crime.

Under the law, parents can remove their children from sex education classes as they could before. Schools also would be allowed to not offer sex education, but they would have to notify parents they did not offer such courses.

Of course Southworth was vague about how he would charge any teacher in his county with a crime. He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Southworth said in an interview that he couldn’t say how likely he would be to file charges if districts taught sex education under the new law because it would depend on the specifics of any case.

“I’m not looking to charge any teachers,” he said. “I’ve got enough work to do.”

Meanwhile the schools are debating what do to with the letter.

Caught in the middle are schools, said Tom Andres, superintendent of the New Lisbon School District.

“Here we are again – short of money, getting a dictate that we have to do something different from two different sources,” he said.

Andres said district officials are studying Southworth’s letter and will consider it in the coming months as they decide what to do.

April 7, 2010

Birth rate among US teens declines Boston Globe

Utah’s sexual assault rate outpaces US average Salt Lake Tribune

Women with cancer can be denied Medicaid funding by going to wrong place Denver Post

Blacksburg prepares for anti-gay protests Roanoke Times

Rape of lesbian: Activists call for no bail Independent Online

Tangerang curbs maternal, infant mortality rates Jakarta Post

Watchdog raps contraception ad The Guardian

Anti-gay candidate tests GOP appeal Sacramento Bee

Utah PTA to clarify its stance on classes The Durango Herald

Michigan hit by decline in births, economy blamed Detroit Free Press

Home sperm count test being reviewed by FDA Tampa Tribune

The IUD Reborn Newsweek

April 6, 2010

DA tells schools to drop sex ed, or teachers could be charged Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Supreme Court hears abortion arguments tied to proposed amendment Las Vegas Sun 

Man who wanted $999 trillion in abortion ‘damages’ arrested over threats Raw Story

Republicans Want Hearing Delayed on Pro-Abortion Obama Judge Goodwin Liu LifeNews.com 

NJ sees rise in vasectomies amid difficult economy The Star-Ledger – NJ.com

Sexual violence is down in some states, but up in ArkansasToday’s TH

PTA says its sex ed stance was misunderstood Salt Lake Tribune

Senate abortion bill continues to stir emotions Atlanta Journal Constitution

Home State of Top Senate Democrat Files Suit Against Pro-Abortion Health Care LifeNews.com 

BUSTED! Fake pediatrics group distributes anti-gay propaganda to schools Examiner.com

Majority in California support gay marriage, Times/USC poll finds Los Angeles Times

At Least the Teen Pregnancy Rate Isn’t Getting Higher… AlterNet (blog)

Neb. Right To Life Endorsements Coming Yankton Daily Press

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  • crowepps

    As near as I can figure out, District Attorneys in Wisconsin are employees of the State. It seems to me that it could be considered grounds for dismissal when a District Attorney is sending out letters saying that his ultimate employer, the Legislature, is requiring teachers to commit an illegal act by teaching the State required curriculum.

     

    Anybody here remember the protests concerning opposition to the new laws against self-abortion and how it wouldn’t be a problem in cases of miscarriage because “nobody’s going to be unreasonable”?

  • tdreier

    District Attorney Southworth,

    I understand your concern for Wisconsin’s vulnerable youth and your desire to protect them from themselves. However, your attempt to coerce teachers to refrain from teaching responsible sex education is counterproductive. It is both naive and irresponsible to believe that teens are not going to engage in sexual activity. That is a reality. Comprehensive sex education teaches children how to be responsible and to make informed and educated decisions about their sexual health. This includes teaching them the importance of protecting themselves, from both unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

    Your claim that sex education “contributes to the delinquincy of a minor” is baseless and unsubstantiated, in that there has been no verifiable evidence that sex education encourages or increases sexual activity.

    Also, your attempt to impose your religious ideology on a secular school system is a violation of the First Amendment, which promotes the separation of church and state.

    Therefore, I urge you to rescind your letters to the Wisconsin school districts, in which you threaten to arrest and charge teachers who teach this lawful curriculum. To do otherwise would be a detriment and disservice to our youth, and to society as a whole.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    ——-

    Please, everyone, let’s flood his inbox with letters telling him how much we disapprove of his actions. Let your voices be heard.

  • frances

    In WI, county DA’s are not state employees.  They are elected officials.  Their terms last 4 years.  They can be ‘recalled’ and investigated, but they can’t be fired.  You’re right to be concerned, but know that those of us on the ground are keeping a close eye on the enterprising Mr. Southworth.  Juneau County may be rural, but it’s not backward.

  • crowepps

    Personally, I’ve got to say, in my opinion it’s hard to think of anything more backward than a State/District Attorney threatening a couple of teenagers ‘in love’ with a felony prosecution for having sex. It may be inadviseable behavior, it may even be dumb behavior, but it sure isn’t a felony level ‘threat to society’ crime if two 15-year olds have sex.

  • robin-marty

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/apr/10040708.html

     

    The D.A.’s pro-life values have won praise from Pro-Life Wisconsin in the past, who called Southworth “unwavering in his defense of the disabled and strongly supports establishing legal personhood for preborn children.”

     

    Yeah, good to have a DA who doesn’t use his office to persue ideological battles…

  • crowepps

    I would be very pleased and proud to have the opportunity to send a campaign contribution to ANYONE who runs against this loon.