It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. Mark Twain
On one side of Wisconsin’s school sex education debate are parents and community decision-makers who are very serious about helping young people protect themselves from unintended pregnancy, from sexually transmitted infections, from undiagnosed cancer, and from sexual exploitation and abuse. We know that education is not enough, but that doesn’t excuse advocating ignorance.
On the other side are those who believe that education about sexual health will encourage irresponsible and risky sexual behaviors. They believe this despite all evidence. They repeat it with conviction.
At the Merrill Public Schools Human Growth and Development Advisory Committee meeting last week, former school board President, Joe Fink, advised the committee to cease all sexual health education for a year. Because the new law requires medically accurate age-appropriate sex education or none at all, Mr. Fink proposed that doing nothing would prevent the district “from screwing up.”
You can listen to Mr. Fink speak for himself here:
A Merrill teacher, Brian Suchocki, explained the risk of doing nothing with a true story: “We had a student who learned about testicular cancer in health class. He was able to have the proper procedure done so he could lead a healthy life.”
The gap between supporters of sexual health education and the opposing side could not be drawn more clearly. I’ve been working to prevent teen pregnancy for 30 years, and throughout that time, opponents of sex education have believed that sex education encourages teens to engage in promiscuous sex, no matter the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They will believe it forever. But it just ain’t so.
For more information also see our colleague organization’s site, Below The Waist.