Last month a district attorney in a rural Wisconsin county decided to take it upon himself to force school districts there to suspend teaching sexual education.
(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) Madison — A district attorney is telling Juneau County schools to abandon their sex education courses, saying a new curriculum law could lead to criminal charges against teachers for contributing to the delinquency of minors.
Starting in the fall, the new law requires schools that have sex education programs to tell students how to use condoms and other contraceptives. Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth said such education encourages sex among children, which is illegal, and could lead to charges against teachers.
The new law "promotes the sexualization - and sexual assault - of our children," Southworth wrote in a March 24 letter to officials in five school districts. He urged the districts to suspend their sex education programs and transfer their curriculum on anatomy to a science course.
"Forcing our schools to instruct children on how to utilize contraceptives encourages our children to engage in sexual behavior, whether as a victim or an offender," he wrote. "It is akin to teaching children about alcohol use, then instructing them on how to make mixed alcoholic drinks."
So how far would Southworth be willing to go?
Southworth, a Republican, says in his letter that he could charge teachers with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, depending on the specifics of cases he reviews.
"If a teacher instructs any student aged 16 or younger how to utilize contraceptives under circumstances where the teacher knows the child is engaging in sexual activity with another child - or even where the 'natural and probable consequences' of the teacher's instruction is to cause that child to engage in sexual intercourse with a child - that teacher can be charged under this statute" of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, he wrote.
He said the law went too far because it required teachers not to teach students about the effects of birth control, but on how to properly use them, "which turns objective instruction into implicit encouragement and advocacy."
And his reasoning?
He disputed claims by Roys and Grigsby that he was inciting fear in teachers or trying to promote his political views, saying he had an ethical obligation to tell districts his interpretation of the law.
"If I'd wanted to be ideological, I would have said in the letter you shouldn't have sex before marriage because that's the Christian perspective. I'm an evangelical," Southworth said.