Monday, February 19, 2007

Scrotum Wars

There is a flap going on about the new Newberry Children's literature award winner. The book includes the word scrotum.

The same folks who complain about evolution are now banning this new book from school libraries and classrooms. “I don’t want to start an issue about censorship but you won’t find men’s genitalia in quality literature. At least not for children.” - a librarian.

The book is aimed at 10 - 12-year-olds.

In the book this is about a ten-year-old overhearing a conversation about a dog bite and wondering what a scrotum is.

Are we missing the big picture - when should children learn about the body parts and their names?

I would start very early, before the kids have adult development they should learn anatomy in biology and health classes. A good argument is made to start at home with your 3 and 4-year-olds.

According to the Guidelines For Comprehensive Sexuality Education kids should be taught the word scrotum in elementary school at ages 4 - 8, (page 25). Religious groups have been fighting these recommendations for the last few decades.

The Free Will Baptists deplore this program as teaching secular humanism and leading children to Satan. Another religious group considers it all part of the "secret, social and political corruption of America's powerful, government financed Lesbian Mafia."

Texas does not require sexuality education. The Texas Education Code states that if a school district does teach sex education, HIV/AIDS prevention, or sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention education, then it must stress abstinence only methods and have a board of parents, and not educators, overseeing the program.

Some Texas school districts, like Lubbock's, have turned over high school sex education to outside religious groups. This has resulted in a soaring teenage pregnancy rate and increasing STDs as students are told condoms don't work, a pledge of sexual purity will. This was documented in the documentaries Texas Teenage Virgins and The Education of Shelby Knox. According to the Texas Department of Health’s statistics, 3.64 percent of Lubbock’s teens were pregnant in 2002, and in 2003, Lubbock had 1,725 STD cases. Lubbock tops the charts for teenage gonorrhea rates, which are twice the national average. The Dixie Chicks support Shelby.

Texas ranks 45th in family planning. Texas also ranks 1st in pregnancies in young women under the age of 13. Department of State Health Services says:

1 of every 11 eighteen-year-olds gets pregnant
1 of every 16 seventeen-year-olds gets pregnant.
1 of every 27 sixteen-year-olds gets pregnant.
1 of every 58 fifteen-year-olds gets pregnant.
1 of every 967 thirteen-year-olds gets pregnant.
1 of every 5,280 twelve-year-olds or younger gets pregnant.

If your 10 and 12-year-olds don't know what a scrotum is and librarians and teachers want to keep it that way, America, you have a problem. This problem is worse in Texas.

PS - Amanda Marcotte wrote Texas conservatives want to force your little girl to have a baby among her other controversial posts.

1 comment:

rjnagle said...

at the risk of sounding incredibly backward, I don't think I had even heard of the word "scrotum" until high school--maybe even college.