Monday, June 11, 2007

Boulder students to defend school after sex panel controversy

Posted at the Rocky Mountain News.

About a dozen Boulder High students plan to defend their school at Tuesday's school board meeting, saying it was unfairly attacked after a controversial Conference on World Affairs panel made national news.

Critics say the April panel, held at the school with attendance required by some teachers, encouraged young people to experiment with drugs and sex. Ten Republican state senators have signed a letter calling for the dismissal of Boulder High's principal and the district's outgoing superintendent.

Students planning to speak — and who attended the 90-minute "STDs: Sex, Teens and Drugs" panel in April — said they found the discussion informative, and they think quotes are being taken out of context.

"This whole thing has been misconstrued into this giant, sensationalized practically fabricated news story, and I'd like to go and set the record straight," said Boulder High incoming junior Jesse Lange.

The comments were clearly in appropriate, and as for the comments being taken out of context, the only context in which the statements made would be appropriate would be if the panelists were trying to teach the kids what to do if some pervert started talking to them like that. Even then I'd probably take issue. The comments were taped and the audio recordings were broadcast on the internet, TV, and radio.

Just because the overall presentation of the material was considered "educational" by some of the students, that doesn't make it appropriate. There are many things that a perverted adult could educate a child in that is not considered "appropriate". The issue is with what was said, and that a panel of adults, representing an authoritative figure or body to a group of children, basically gave permission and even encouraged children to engage in drugs and sex "responsibly", as if there were such a thing for children.

And I'm sorry if calling these students "children" has offended them in any way, but if they are below the age of 18, then legally that's exactly what they are. If they are 18 or older, then there are more appropriate places that they may be able to discuss these issues than in the public high school setting where children are present.

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