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Monday, May 20, 2019

Columns

Teacher right to talk sex with kids


Everyone has a differing opinion on the grade in which sex education should be taught in schools.

Parents in Hitchcock, Texas, might not be able to tell you exactly when they want their children to learn about intercourse, but they seem to have a pretty good idea about what age is too young.

Hitchcock school board member Shirley Price spoke to an assembly comprised of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade girls Jan. 15 at Crosby Middle School and broached the subject of sex during the speech.

In a Feb. 16 article in the Houston Chronicle, Harvey Rice reported that Price was at the school to dispense some words of wisdom, but at some point decided to change the subject.

“(Price) had heard that girls were being pressured to have sex and took the opportunity to exhort the children to abstain from sex,” Rice said.

Parents called on Price to resign for her actions, and when she refused to do so, asked the Hitchcock Independent School District Board of Trustees to mete out some measure of punishment.

The board voted to admonish Price and also to prohibit her from speaking to students in the future without permission from the board.

Neither the board nor the school has made public what exactly Price said to the group, but according to the Chronicle’s story, Price was merely trying to give the girls counseling.

Assuming for the sake of argument that Price’s remarks were solely an attempt to inform the girls that they have a choice when it comes to sex, the parents are way in the wrong on this one.

On its face, the issue is that a teacher discussed sex with a group of kids. The reality, however, is that parents are mistakenly upset that someone else tried to protect their children.

It’s hard to believe that any parent would have a problem with a school official telling their child that they don’t need to have sex if they don’t want to, but that’s apparently what happened.

Those calling for Price’s head need to wake up and realize the world their children are living in.

From sexting to the “Stanky Legg,” kids today have more sex and innuendo thrown at them than any previous generation. If anything, Price should be commended for telling the girls they shouldn’t be forced into having sex.

While it is understandable that the board would want to act in some way to save face with the parents, Price didn’t deserve to be punished in any way.

There are few people in the world involved in academia who actually care about students, and making an example of one of them will undoubtedly send the wrong message to others. When another educator is faced with a situation similar to Price’s in the future, where they must choose between doing what they think is best for a child and doing nothing, they will undoubtedly allow the potential cons of their actions to affect their decision.

School board elections for Price’s position as a trustee are coming up in May, and it won’t be much of a surprise if she is left without a job after all of the ballots are counted.

If the Hitchcock community is misguided enough to vote out the one board member who has proven her commitment to the district’s students, then they’ll only get what they deserve.

There are plenty of other school districts that would be happy to hire someone who puts students’ interests ahead of their own.

Alan Dennis is a communication senior and may be reached at [email protected]


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