Author Topic: Reason: Focus on marriage could upset children from nontraditional families  (Read 2302 times)

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Offline TomS

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Oh!! the INSANITY!!!  >:(

Lansing drops sex-ed class
Parents riled by presentation with abstinence-only theme

Journal Staff

LANSING -- Prompted by intense parental scrutiny, the Lansing Board of Education has barred an abstinence-only presentation from its middle school, at least for this semester.

Opponents of the program, which the Ithaca Pregnancy Center presents in a number of area schools, argued that a focus on marriage could upset children from nontraditional families and that the organization's Christian affiliation was inappropriate for a public school.

That response came as a shock to Rhonda Mapes, the center's executive director, who said it felt like parents were on a "war path." Mapes and parents who backed the program contend that it contained no proselytizing -- only guidelines for making safe and healthy decisions.

"It was obvious that there was enough from both sides" to let a third party discuss the issue, board of education president Dan Brown said.

The board decided on Thursday to pass the debate over to a soon-to-be-formed health advisory committee, which will likely include parents and staff. In the meantime, Lansing will hold off on the Ithaca Pregnancy Center segment that was included in the eighth-grade health program last year.

Some parents expressed confusion over how the issue became so heated so quickly. Brown said the board of education has planned for years to re-evaluate all aspects of the health curriculum, as they intend to do in all subject areas.

Debate over abstinence-only education has ignited nationally, too, as the White House has earmarked $170 million in federal funding for such programs next year. State education standards require schools to teach about sexual health, with an emphasis on explaining the reasons for abstinence.

The Ithaca Pregnancy Center, which is sponsored by more than two dozen area churches, takes its "I'm Worth Waiting For" program to as many as 10 public schools a semester, normally without incident, Mapes said.

The organization uses skits -- such as people passing around a half-eaten piece of chocolate or drinking out of the same glass of water -- that are intended to be funny while also driving home messages about the health risks of sexual activity, Mapes said.

If students ask about condoms, Mapes explains that the contraceptives aren't 100 percent effective, she said.

"The goal is to see abstinence as a good and attainable choice," Mapes said.

What upset many parents, though, was the way that message was wrapped around the pregnancy center's basic tenet of waiting for marriage.

"It should be taught as a health choice, not a moral choice" in the public school, said Marlaine Darfler, mother of a Lansing High School sophomore.
She said she would prefer a program that focuses on teaching eighth graders ways to say no to sex.

Darfler said she was most troubled over the potential divisiveness over such an emotionally fraught issue.

"I have a huge respect for what Rhonda Mapes does. She is caring, she has a good heart," Darfler said. "It was hard because we care and we're friends and we're neighbors."

Mapes is also a Lansing resident. It would have been fine if parents simply said they didn't want the program, Mapes said, but it was unnecessary to "belittle" its contents.

Parent Susan Schuster said she understood some of the criticism -- such as a skit that used a pair of dirty sneakers to symbolize lost virginity -- but added that representatives from the center were extremely willing to work with the community on revisions.

Overall, Schuster liked the program -- especially because college students perform much of it -- and wishes her eighth-grade daughter could have seen it, she said.

"Kids pay attention to other kids," she said. "My main support is that 13-to-18 year-old time span, to keep them protected."


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Originally published Tuesday, December 21, 2004

« Last Edit: December 27, 2004, 02:46:59 PM by TomS »

Offline Αριστοκλής

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"Blue state" sensitivities?
"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides

Offline Donna Rose

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Oh!! the INSANITY!!!

I concur. sigh.

Offline Arystarcus

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You really can't be surprised about stories like this, because as time goes on things are only going to get worse - not better!

That being said, it's still absurd.

Offline Nacho

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Blue state" sensitivities?

Hehe 8)
"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."--Mere Christianity

Offline Etienne

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Gee, I feel so at home. Tragically! This is the sort of nonsense that overtaken Britain under the Blair government. Odd perhaps given that he is apparently a church going Anglican (allegedly drawn to Roman Catholicism), and his wife, Cherie, a practising Roman Catholic. Here nothing must be done that might make anyone feel excluded, except married couples. Refer to your husband and wife is to draw raised eyebrows, if not worse. The acceptable term is partner. Now a partner, as I understand it, is one with whom you have a specific type of business relationship. Sometimes I feel as if I came from a different planet and cannot return there.

Meantime the inmates have taken over the asylum................... (Oh, dear, now I have put my foot in it!). >:(
« Last Edit: December 31, 2004, 09:53:10 PM by Etienne »
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