Thursday, September 30, 2004
Sex-Ed Southern Style: Hush, Puppies 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
FORT MILL, South Carolina (AP) -- Administrators at Fort Mill High School decided to remove gay marriage, abortion and stem cell research from the agenda of a planned student debate out of concern that they might clash with a state law on sex education.

Two of the three topics originally were on a list of eight approved by Principal David Damm for use in a student-run debate scheduled for October 19. The debate is intended to mirror the debates between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry.

A debate announcement said issues such as education, taxes, jobs, the war in Iraq and faith-based initiatives would be discussed, but "because of South Carolina laws, we cannot discuss such controversial issues as stem cell research, abortion or homosexual marriages." Both Damm and Superintendent Thomas Dowling said the restriction referred to the state's health education act, which prohibits health class discussion on abortion and homosexual sex.
[The State, South Carolina] The National Association of School Boards of Education site has the text of South Carolina's policy, which mandates that
...[t]he program of instruction provided for in this section may not include a discussion of alternate sexual lifestyles from heterosexual relationships including, but not limited to, homosexual relationships except in the context of instruction concerning sexually transmitted diseases.

The Act further states, 'to assist in the selection of components and curriculum materials, each local school board shall appoint a thirteen-member local advisory committee consisting of two parents, three clergy, two health professionals, two teachers, two students, one being the president of the student body of a high school, and two other persons not employed by the local school district.'
Isn't it interesting that each category on the committee is represented by only two people, except for the clergy - represented by three individuals? Priorities, priorities.