Parental Consent for Sex Education?
The Oklahoma House voted 51-50 on Wednesday to:
reject a bill (HB 2628) that would have required parental consent before children could receive sex education in public schools, the AP/Muskogee Phoenix reports. Currently, Oklahoma school districts send “opt out” forms to parents of children enrolled in classes that provide sex education.
Rep. George Faught (R), sponsor of the bill, said he wanted an “opt in” provision so that parents would know in advance that their children would be enrolled in sex education classes and would not receive instruction the parents did not approve of.
Opponents of the bill said the measure would make it more difficult for children to receive sex education in the state, which has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the U.S. Oklahoma also has the 12th highest percentage for repeat births to teenage mothers in the country, according to a study conducted by the research organization Child Trends.
I kind of understand the thinking behind this law, however I am glad it did not pass. As a parent you want to ensure that your kids are not exposed to certain things, and for most parents sex is taboo. However, this is not simply an issue of what the parent wants for their children. This is about the safety of the children. It is one of those cases where you must ask yourself “How much rights can parents be allowed over their children?”.
Of course parents have the right to choose what they think is best for their kids. But I do believe there are limits, that there are certain areas where those rights should be curbed, such as sex education, vaccinations, schooling etc. The reason is simple, we cannot allow parents ideological views to handicap our youth. A staunch anti-vaccination parent cannot, and should not, be allowed to withhold potentially life saving vaccines from their children simply because they themselves have fallen for that faulty logic.
A strict religious parent cannot and should not be allowed to intentionally keep their kids in the dark when it comes to sex education, especially if that has a high probability of resulting in unwanted pregnancies and unsafe sexual practices.
It seems clear that Oklahoma has a problem with teenage pregnancies. I never understood the logic behind the “keep ’em in the dark” camp. Somehow these people think that by not mentioning it, kids will steer away from it, when in fact it is the complete opposite. They will only learn from it in the streets without a counterbalancing point of view. They will miss out on the real scientific facts and fall for the popular myths, such as the “you can’t get HIV from oral sex” variety. To me this sounds the same as sending soldiers in Iraq and not tell them about the war and how to use the gun, even though it is sure they will have to face some enemies and must fight.
The focus of these parents and these lawmakers is misplaced. The problem they are having with teenage sex and pregnancies does not stem from the knowledge. In fact it is ridiculous to think that they can block out all knowledge. You cannot censor this kind of thing away. Magazines, movies, books, the internet are all around and finding information, especially bad one is not hard at all. You cannot fight misinformation with censorship. Only information can fight misinformation. And what do these people want to do? Legislate away information. Does that make sense to you?
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