A bill establishing standards for sex education in Wisconsin schools is headed to Governor Jim Doyle’s desk. Republicans criticized the human growth and development legislation on a number of counts, including a provision which prohibits bias against sexually active students. “I want the teacher to be judgmental,” said state Senator Luther Olson (R-Berlin). “I want them to say, ‘you know what, this stuff is right or wrong.’ Education is not just getting information, it’s helping you make decisions in life.” State Senator Glenn Grothman called that language in the bill “non-judgmentalism run amok,” and predicted many parents would not approve. An amendment offered by Grothman, to include the legal consequences of teen sexual activity in the curriculum, was adopted.
Proponents of the bill said Wisconsin’s crisis in teen births calls for the bill’s comprehensive approach. “If this was H1-N1, and the crisis that we are in our state, you’d be falling all over . . . to support it,” said Taylor. “Teen pregnancy is in a crisis in our state.”
The bill requires districts which offer a human growth and development course to incorporate sex education, and to explain the benefits of and reasons for abstaining from sex. Republicans said the measure takes local control away from school districts, and forces them to teach sex education as defined by the legislature. Senator John Lehman (D-Racine) said school districts – and individual parents – have the option to opt out. “What we want to do is say we’re going to be comprehensive, medically accurate, age appropriate, and then if a school district decides it can’t or it doesn’t want to do that, it informs the parents, and it doesn’t do it.” The bill passed on a partisan18-15 vote.
AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (1:10 MP3) AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (1:10 MP3)