January 11, 2008 at 7:51 pm Leave a comment

Funny that I should find this site. After reading some of what others have written I thought I would put my two cents in as today during a class was a prime example of how ignorance can really be a parent’s downfall.
I work in a class which teaches high school students to think at a higher level, among other things. I’ve been in this program for two years now and really love my kids. My daughter is actually one of my students as well, and even her friends have asked me all sorts of questions. I answer honestly but always with an air of caution to be sure I don’t offend anyone – including their parents. Today was one of those days.
The 10th grade class is much smaller than the freshman class (for AVID, where I tutor) and they are encouraged, nay required, to bring a question to class everyday pertaining to their other classes. This year there is a new tutor who I have tried to help learn the program. I took over working with this class today as she and the teacher were busy doing other things. One student finally asked this question from reseach she had done for Health class: “Aside from getting STD’s and pregnant, why do adults think having sex is bad?” Long story, short, she was actually asking why do adults think kids shouldn’t have sex. I could see in the other tutor’s eyes she was not truly comfortable with the nature of the question but I wasn’t going to let it deter me in answering. The student had said that in her research sex was supposed to be healthy, something about even making your teeth stronger and helping with depression (yeah, I laughed). I explained that while sex can be healthy and you can even burn calories, it certainly isn’t a replacement for regular excercise and that it can promote endorphins which can curb depressed attitude but that’s not its goal either. On the health side I also asked about prostitutes. They aren’t always the healthiest group and they certainly aren’t the happier group because of their profession so her original research probably wasn’t all that accurate. Another student added it was about your morals, and I quickly agreed but then asked the students to take that away for the moment, along with the religious aspect and focus on the other issue – the one no one had mentioned – the emotional health and well-being of a person. All the other stuff aside, this was the most important because that’s really what sex is about when it comes down to it. And at their age, they really aren’t equipt to handle all that comes along with the actions.
Though this was about a 10 minute discussion, I was about to wind down the other tutor piped up in a rather cold tone stating that this had really gone on long enough and that she knew parents of two of the students and personally wouldn’t want her daughter listening to any of this. I said nothing for the moment until she looked at me and said she could see on the students’ faces that they were uncomfortable (they were mostly facing me and she was in the back of the class) and because of that the discussion needed to end. She felt that no one needed to talk to them except their parents because her child talks to her. And though this may be from Health class, this wasn’t the place to talk about it. What I found even more interesting was the student who asked the question originally asked the other tutor why what I was saying was wrong? The tutor’s answer, you should be talking to your parent.
Why would anyone in their right mind think that’s the cure-all? Maybe if parents were more comfortable and children felt like they could have these types of conversations then there wouldn’t be a need for health class. Because I’m in a public school I can’t discuss religion but heaven knows there are a lot of religious people out there, unmarried, having sex and getting pregnant – and guess what? A lot are teenagers. And why is it okay to discuss this in Health class but no where else? It just didn’t make any sense!!! I wasn’t being obsene, graphic or even promoting sex in any way. The other tutor felt I should have kept the answer short and go on to the next. But I don’t care how you look at it, that one student who asked the question would have known it as a brush-off had I done that.
You have to be upfront and honest without losing site of the responsibility of what you’re saying. I think that’s the key. If someone, like this other tutor, thinks I have crossed a line in someway, then it shows the amount of ignorance one can have. Its not just up to the parents – it takes a village to raise a child.

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