Monday June 17, 2013

To the editor of THE EAGLE:

Initially, I thought Brian Sullivan’s June 13 column in The Berkshire Eagle about the proposed new sex education curriculum for Pittsfield schools was a parody of the misguided policy statements that issue forth from the Republican leadership on a daily basis.

Then, of course, I realized he was in earnest.

The thrust of his argument seems to be a) the current approach to sex education in our public schools works just fine as it is; b) sexual behavior is too sensitive and complicated an issue for American teenagers to confront in an educational setting; c) parents will object; and d) it’s simple: a teenager can simply go to his/her parents or primary care physician for any information beyond the basic biological facts of life.

Mr. Sullivan’s statements suggest that his experience of what actually goes on inside public schools -- and with what life might be like for the majority of American adolescents (not to mention their parents or guardians) -- stopped sometime around 1965.

It might be illuminating for Mr. Sullivan to spend some time in the company of those teenage students who have the courage to demand a higher quality of sex education. These young people are plainly letting us know they need a more sophisticated curriculum to help them navigate through very real challenges.

If we collectively dismiss their request at present, I imagine can all look forward to higher rates of teenage pregnancy and STD’s, higher health costs, and lower graduation rates.


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WALTON WILSON

Lenox Dale