Parma High School teens make a request for real sex education: Connie Schultz - Cleveland Plain Dealer

On Monday night, two teenagers stood before Parma's school board and essentially pleaded that the grown-ups in charge change how sex education is taught in their district.

Their courage was a timely reminder that we ignore our children at their peril.

The first student to speak in the room of 150 or so in attendance was 17-year-old Daniel Sparks.

Teenage boys don't come any cleaner-cut or more poised than Daniel.  In a strong, steady voice, the junior at Parma Senior High School attacked the district's abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education program, taught by Operation Keepsake.

The program sounds like a military exercise, but it sends kids virtually unarmed into a sexually complex and potentially dangerous world.

This, Daniel told the school board, is poor public health.

"Operation Keepsake has made me question education as a whole, for while they scared us into understanding what could go wrong, they afforded us no information on how things could go right," he said. "On how to protect ourselves, on the effectiveness of contraception, and empowering us with knowledge to make the right decisions before making the wrong ones."

Remainder of article here.


Being pro-choice isn't just making wise choices regarding our own sexual conduct but making sure our children are equally well-informed. Daniel Sparks and the other teens mentioned in the article are an excellent example of kids who, whether on their own initiative or with help from their parents, are sufficiently aware of their sexual environment to know when they are being short-changed ... and gutsy enough to speak out about it.

I was pleased as hell to see Ms. Schultz's piece in this morning's (2/24/2010) PD, and I thought it worthy of sharing here.

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Replies to This Discussion

Great article! I work in a small and very poor town. Not only is abstinence education what is taught at the schools, but access to birth control (aside from condoms) is nearly impossible.

I am always saddened, but never surprised, at the continual stream of young girls in our education program who come in pregnant at 16.

My daughter was privy to one of these abstinence only classes at her school last year. She said condoms or birth control was never mentioned. Rather, the emphasis was on how "great" sex was, but only if you'ere married. Thank goodness I've been talking to her about sex since she first asked.

But too many girls and boys do not have anyone to talk about this with. School is worthless for this after the fundies started running the show, so they must learn from each other. Kind of like the blind leading the blind.

Bravo to those two young people.


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