The principal at Pittsfield High School has been receiving complaints about a Girls Inc. program, which is an instructional program teaching young girls about the risks associated with sex. Apparently, the instructors have handed out a flier, which had 32 phrases described as “Condom Sayings,” including “Practice safe sex – make love with a Trojan,” and “Condoms are easier to change then [sic] diapers.” One specific parent found these phrases to be crass and didn’t approve of their distribution to his 11th grade daughter. He is quoted as saying, “It has no finesse at all; its too blunt and ignorant.”
Forgive my bluntness, but what I think is ignorant is the concept that pretending like sex doesn’t exist and not teaching our children the consequences of what can happen if one doesn’t practice safe sex (as well as discussing the importance of being emotionally and maybe spiritually ready to have sex at all) is going to solve the problem of sexually transmitted infections, teenage pregnancy, and overly sexually active teenagers.
I think this kind of material, although perhaps seemingly trivializing a very serious matter, instead serves to lighten the mood to a topic that often breeds insecurity and shyness out of high school girls. It gets the girls talking. I think that is important. We cannot shelter our children so much that they have no idea how to intellectually discuss the consequences of their actions. It is that naiveté that often leaves a girl without a clue. These same girls have never thought of the costs (and perhaps benefits) of having sex, therefore when the opportunity presents itself, they haven’t done a thorough evaluation of whether or not they are emotionally, spiritually, or physically ready to engage in sexual behavior. It is often in those times when girls are most capable of being pressured into having sex. When a girl is armed with knowledge of the possible outcomes of her actions and has perhaps practiced ways of turning a potential partner down or even practiced confirming that said partner is using protection, she is stronger and better fueled to make a more appropriate decision. This assertiveness is key to a young girl making the decision that she will be proud of.
Parents seem to think that if they can shelter their kids to the Rated-R happenings of the world, then their children will stay young and innocent forever. The problem with this way of thinking is that a parent’s guidance, however laced with good intention it is, is not the only guidance that the child is receiving. That girl is hearing about sex from other girls, from boys trying to sexually pursue her, from television shows, from songs on the radio, and on the Internet. It is my opinion that I would rather my future children hear about sex, especially the importance of having safe sex, from me or a teacher or someone who has their best interest in mind. That is why I believe programs like Girls Inc. are a great idea and I am saddened by the negative review it received at this school.
Political correctness won this battle and the principal of the school is going to have to thoroughly review every single piece of information the program distributes and is going to have to be even more careful about parental consent (although parental consent was already required) before allowing children to enter the program. For more information, see here.