Monday, August 19, 2013

Illinois Legislature addresses sex ed issue for kids in an adult manner

Being a “blue” state is a complicated matter.

There are those ideologues of a conservative bent who want to believe that everything that happens in this state is somehow out of touch with “real America.” Heck, there are those residents of the rural parts of Illinois who think the Land of Lincoln is somehow lost.

BUT IT DOESN’T always work out that way.

Take the whole political fight over gay marriage. If any state ought to have been capable of being at the forefront of altering the laws on this issue, it should have been one with as dominant an urban area as Chicago is over the rest of the state.

Yet as we all know, that issue got all tangled up. It never did come up for a vote in the Illinois House of Representatives, and the conservative-leaning interests are taking pride in that fact.

The Baptist religious influence that impacts many African-Americans has the black caucus being separate from the rest of the Democratic majority on this issue. It’s not clear when this issue will come up for a vote again.

SO MUCH FOR Illinois being some sort of liberal bastion that won’t respect the concerns of the ideologues!

Keeping that fact in mind, we ought to consider it a part of the partisan balancing act that is the real way things work amongst our political people.

SEX ED: From the Statehouse ...
How else to consider the fact that the Legislature this spring approved, and Gov. Pat Quinn last week signed into law, a measure that expands the content of what is taught in the public schools as part of sex education programs.

The change, which along with many other new laws will take effect Jan. 1, says that sex education programs must include provisions about birth control methods. Existing laws allowed for schools to offer sex education programs that emphasized abstinence – as in telling children that “no sex” is their only option.

AND IF BY chance they chose to ignore that advice in their daily lives? Then I guess they were just on their own – going about their lives in ignorance.
... to school boards across Illinois?
The ideologues, many of whom were the same ones who ranted and raged this spring against gay marriage becoming a legitimate concept in Illinois, hated this bill too. They want to say that parents should be the only ones determining what their children know about sex.

Ignoring the fact that some people are determined to keep their kids clueless – leaving them vulnerable to the realities (which can be scary) of life. It most likely was this bill's relative anonymity (compared to the gay marriage issue) that let it slip through the legislative process and gain approval.

Although those people who really hate the idea of sex education including information about contraception and protection for health reasons still have an out.

SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVE the option of dropping sex education programs altogether – if they so wish. It has me wondering if the ideologues who failed to get the General Assembly to kill this bill will now be nagging their local school boards.

All in an effort to get them to do away with sex ed, health class, personal biology, or whatever label the local schools choose to put on the issue of letting young people know that sex isn’t just about Whoopee!!?!

And yes, I have dealt with enough school board officials throughout my decades as a reporter-type person to know that some of them will be susceptible to such an appeal. This issue may turn into a reminder about how the real governing of our society is done at the local level that most people pay no attention to.

Before anyone starts to nag me on the grounds that I’d feel differently about this issue if I had kids of my own, I should point out that I have two nephews and two nieces who are exactly the age that they’re going to be impacted by this change.

I’D RATHER THEY have some sense of reality about this issue, even if it might make someone else feel uncomfortable.

That strikes me as being less embarrassing than having a youthful family member either pregnant or suffering from chlamydia because he/she truly didn’t know any better!


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