By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Sex=death: The good news, for all you Texas parents out there, is that the state's public schools are not teaching your kids that babies are delivered by water fowl or that "touching yourself down there" leads to blindness.
At least as far as we know they aren't. Though, to judge by a report released this week by progressive watchdog group the Texas Freedom Network, it's entirely possible that somewhere a class full of 16-year-olds is learning right now about finding a newborn under a cabbage leaf.
In "Just Say Don't Know: Sexuality Education in Texas Public Schools," researchers David Wiley and Kelly Wilson of Texas State University took a comprehensive look at how sexuality is taught in Texas public schools. The short answer: It isn't really. Kids are, however, being taught: A) sex will KILL YOU DEAD RIGHT NOW; B) only depressive, suicidal, loser slutbunnies ever have sex outside of marriage; and C) condoms kill more people than handguns.
Why is sex ed here so far removed from reality? Well, we hate to say it, but there's really only one person to blame: Jesus. Despite the fact that Texas ranks third in the rate of teen pregnancies and that its students are more sexually active and that they have more sex partners than the average U.S. student, sex ed here is nearly exclusively devoted to abstinence education, often with a religious bent. Information about contraception, disease prevention and STD testing is most often scarce or, worse, wildly inaccurate.
TFN President Kathy Miller says polls show that the overwhelming majority of Texans want teens to get accurate, useful information about sexual health, but until this report, "legislators and other policymakers had no idea what sexuality education looked like in the state and neither did parents." She hopes that the information will inspire a grass-roots movement to encourage the Legislature to get off the "just say no" bandwagon and provide laws and funding for teaching that actually works.
Miller, apparently, is an optimist. She believes that facts and public opinion can counter the well-entrenched, sexually backward bigotry of a very conservative state. Buzz, who is not an optimist, prefers to place his faith in teenage cunning and the words of that great skeptic H.L. Mencken: "For youth, though it may lack knowledge, is certainly not devoid of intelligence: it sees through shams with sharp and terrible eyes. When a schoolmaster is an ass, which happens in Christendom more often than not, you may be sure that even the dullest of his pupils is well aware of it."