Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Leftists weasel on about this being an attack on sex education. It is not. It is an attack on only one sort of sex "education" -- preaching how good homosexuality is

A judge's order on Thursday evening to halt a new public school sex-education curriculum in the affluent suburbs of Washington, D.C., could have significant ramifications throughout the rest of the country.

A group of parents took their opposition to the sex-ed courses to court last week, arguing that they depicted homosexuality as a natural and morally correct lifestyle and did not offer any contrary opinion. "This has national significance because Montgomery County is a wealthy, influential school district and the lid has been ripped off an agenda that has crept into schools nationwide," said Robert Knight, director of the Culture & Family Institute, an affiliate of the conservative organization Concerned Women for America. "This shows that parents, even in a very liberal area, can fight back and win," Knight added, noting that he knew of no other case in the country where a sex-ed program has been restrained by a federal judge.

But others say U.S District Judge Alexander Williams Jr.'s decision to grant a temporary restraining order against the Montgomery County Public Schools' pilot sex-ed program for 8th- and 10th-graders is a blow to efforts to give students access to a broad, fact-based health curriculum.

This local case highlights an ongoing national debate over modern sex-ed programs that has become more pronounced in recent years as the lines between competing liberal and conservative forces have seemingly become more polarized and have demanded equal time in the nation's schools. The issues typically revolve around funding and teaching about homosexuality, condom use, abstinence and pre-marital sex.

The Montgomery County lawsuit was brought by two groups: Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, a parent-based organization that was formed in direct response to the new curriculum, and Parents and Friends of Gays and Ex-Gays (PFOX), a national group that believes that homosexuality is a "decision," not an innate characteristic of some individuals.

Judge Williams said in his 23-page memorandum that based on the evidence presented to him, the curriculum, developed by a citizens' advisory committee last year, posed a potential "chipping away at plaintiff's First Amendment freedoms." His arguments centered on resource material for teachers that discusses the moral debate over homosexuality, defining gay-friendly and anti-gay churches and discerning between myth and fact about the homosexual lifestyle based on differing belief systems. "The revised curriculum presents only one view on the subject — that homosexuality is a natural and morally correct lifestyle — to the exclusion of other perspectives," said Williams, a Clinton administration appointee.

He added that he did not know why the school system felt it necessary to "bound into the crossroads of controversy where religion, morality, and homosexuality converge." He was also disturbed about one of the resource materials that implied that the Baptist Church's views against homosexuality are theologically flawed, and that the church once expressed the same intolerance toward African-Americans during the era of slavery.

Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of Montgomery County Schools, called a halt to the pilot program, which was to commence on Monday, until further review. He also said that a new videotape slated for the sex-ed classes, "Protect Yourself," which parents' groups said included a misleading and gratuitous condom-use instruction on a cucumber, will also be suspended.

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Girls who wrestled for several Puget Sound-area middle schools this year easily won their matches against boys from two private schools. The girls stepped onto the mat. Their opponents from Tacoma Baptist and Cascade Christian stayed in their seats. The referee then raised the girls' hands to signal they'd won by forfeit. But the easy victories didn't sit well with the girls, including Meaghan Connors, a seventh-grader at McMurray Middle School on Vashon Island. Her father, Jerry, is prepared to go to court over what he considers a clear case of sex discrimination.

For years, schools in the Rainier Valley League, including McMurray, have honored the ability of the two private schools to forfeit matches rather than have a boy wrestle one of the handful of girls on the public-school teams. League President Dan Petersen said it was the same as honoring desires of other religious schools not to compete on certain days. He noted that wrestling rules allow a forfeit for any reason. "I don't care if it's a religious school or not," he said. "If a person chooses not to wrestle, they don't have to wrestle."

Tacoma Baptist's superintendent did not return phone calls about the policy and the reasons for it. At Cascade Christian in Puyallup, Superintendent Don Johnson said the school "does not want to put our young men in a situation where they would be inappropriately touching a young lady."

Connors, however, believes the forfeit rule shouldn't be used to discriminate against girls, including his daughter, one of a half-dozen girls on teams in the league, drawn from schools in King, Pierce and Mason counties..... He's filed a complaint alleging the Vashon Island School District is violating Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in schools, by allowing the policies to exist. If the policies aren't changed, he says, he'll make a complaint to the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education and, if necessary, file a lawsuit.

What's happening now in the Rainier Valley League, however, is not as clear cut, Lees said. Wrestling rules allow for forfeits. Girls get the points for the win. Private schools don't have to adhere to Title IX. "I'm struggling with whether we would have any kind of authority," she said.

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