When Alice Dreger, accomplished author and professor of medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University, attended her 9th-grade son's "abstinence-based" sex education class, she was so shocked by the presenters' baseless—and terrifying—claims that she took to social media to live-tweet her outrage.
“Terror base sex education” landed on these shores with the first boatload of uptight, joyless Puritans.
She’s got some points, but she’s being just as extreme and one sided as what she’s criticizing. Allot of people don’t want or need their 14 year old children preached to about the virtues of “oral” & “anal” over regular intercourse. That’s not to say the topics should be entirely overlooked, but to sort of suggest; “Ah-well, vaginal might get someone pregnant but there’s always oral & anal!!!” is just about wrong. And honestly immature and reactionary, as in someone pushed her buttons, her anger clouded her judgement, and she started sounding like an immature child.
I do kinda agree with sex being taught as part and parcel with drug abuse being wrong. But the term “high risk behavior” does encompass sex, drugs, and other various activities that typically children who come from bad home environments and poor parenting engage in. If there is a 12-17 year old engaging in sex with multiple partners, and it just being the “norm” to them, they are more likely to engage in drug use and abuse, I know I did.
Children shouldn’t be taught that sex is necessarily the pinnacle of a healthy relationship, the object of relationships is not sex, whether you believe in abstinence until whatever your stipulations are or not. But we can’t really get an accurate picture of what’s being taught from less than 144 characters of emotional reactions. Also pregnancy is linked to not finishing school, the social stigma of teen pregnancy or whether that’s fair or not is besides the point. Certainly more needs to be done to address the difficulties teen mothers, or expecting teens face in continuing their education, especially the stigma. Once again from experience, teen mothers do lose allot of regular interaction with their peer group by becoming pregnant, seen it first hand, they miss out on allot.
& sorry, it is a good indication that if a female isn’t the most gun-ho about sexual intercourse, and it’s not something she’s just open to sharing with every male interest, yes that is a good thing.
Anyway, just good “liberal” media whining and failing to examine the whole situation/picture, professor or not, her little emotive tirade isn’t that impressive. There are really bigger problems out there, and when we can’t even see and also fail to analyze the full scope of the ones presented here…
Who is teaching that “sex is necessarily the pinnacle of a healthy relationship”???
But if you think that ANY serious romantic relationship does not include sex then you are living on another planet somewhere.
By all means the education should include the consequences of getting pregnant as a teen. And study after study shows that the way to prevent that is through educating the kids on contraception, not puritanical exhortations to not have sex (my right-wing Catholic father used to scream on us about the evils of masturbation too) accompanied by totally fabricated nonsense about the unreliability of condoms.
The MORONS are in charge in Michigan! In the schools and in state government!
In all seriousness, this is a wonderful educational experience for her son and his classmates. One should learn, at the earliest possible age, the corrupt nature of our institutions. When corruption, in education in this case, reaches the comical extremes presented in this article, most kids will easily pick this up.
The religious fanatics really need to be cut out of the public education process. My memory may be a little fuzzy with age, but by the time I was 14, I just wanted to get virginity over with, in the worst hormonal way. Hot for teacher? Hell yeah! I was like a little yappy lap dog that wanted to hump every leg in sight. It’s a tough age, and if you want to deny teen boys even a little secret porn and masturbation by telling them it’s evil and sinful, well the sexual energy has got to go somewhere, and usually it ends up going somewhere not good. Nothing wrong with high school kids engaging in a little “hand-job” fun in the backseat. We need the Dutch attitude about sex, where mom asks her daughter if her boyfriend is staying over for breakfast, instead of chasing him out naked with daddy’s shotgun.
I disagree with her because she uses sensational shock jock tactics to influence and put that out into the media. She has a cultural push that is leaning toward LBGT like so many activists. I do not believe in this type of behavior and would never condone it as an option. She also condemns the Puritans like so many do today. The way I see it though is that the Puritans were some if not the first to bring this country. As far as I know they had strict values and it was from them the New England colonies were formed. People try to come here from all over the world. I think it was their order, non-violence, community and hard work that made New England livable. I believe Emily Dickenson came from Puritans and most people like her.
We must not forget that Alice is tweeting from a live event where she is not allowed to debate the issues being discussed to her son; in addition, her son was not allowed to argue the course’s merits either, which is why he invited his mother to the class.
We must not also forget that when one is teaching abstinence that he or she is imposing their morality on our children in accordance to some religious standard set by some biased politicians. Wouldn’t it be more practical to teach children about how to protect themselves against diseases and unwanted pregnancies rather than demonizing the act of sex itself? The moral standard of the government may be well-intended but it will ultimately lead to the vilification and isolation of teens who do not subscribe to that standard. According to Alice, this class ignores LGBYT issues. Given the suicide rate among teens in this community, is it wise to isolate them any more? I do understand that you feel that there needs to be some responsibility taught to children who want to engage in sexual activities but that will never happen if the goal is to distinguish acts of sex as being “good” or “bad” behavior.
If I am not mistaken, Emily Dickenson was a lesbian.
I do believe the mother was a bit radical in her behavior. A more civilized solution would be to sue the H___ out of the school for separation of church and state. No science?-no wonder our schools are in such sad shape. When a student has to teach the teacher its time to fire the teacher AND staff! Is it any wonder whole generations are rejecting religion? A school is for teaching the three R’s NOT
replacing family, social workers doctors and preachers. TEACH!
These Michigan schoolteachers must be a really uptight lot. I wonder what else they disapprove of.
I think you are mistaken.
She could just home school, but instead she chooses to sensationalize the sex-ed class that was probably mandated to teach. Why is she really trying to make this an issue? She is a provocateur.
Here’s Dickinson’s letter to her sister-in-law, written June 11, 1852:
I have but one thought, Susie, this afternoon of June, and that of you, and I have one prayer, only; dear Susie, that is for you. That you and I in hand as we e’en do in heart, might ramble away as children, among the woods and fields, and forget these many years, and these sorrowing cares, and each become a child again — I would it were so, Susie, and when I look around me and find myself alone, I sigh for you again; little sigh, and vain sigh, which will not bring you home. I need you more and more, and the great world grows wider, and dear ones fewer and fewer, every day that you stay away — I miss my biggest heart; my own goes wandering round, and calls for Susie — Friends are too dear to sunder, Oh they are far too few, and how soon they will go away where you and I cannot find them, don’t let us forget these things, for their remembrance now will save us many an anguish when it is too late to love them! Susie, forgive me Darling, for every word I say — my heart is full of you, none other than you is in my thoughts, yet when I seek to say to you something not for the world, words fail me. If you were here — and Oh that you were, my Susie, we need not talk at all, our eyes would whisper for us, and your hand fast in mine, we would not ask for language — I try to bring you nearer, I chase the weeks away till they are quite departed, and fancy you have come, and I am on my way through the green lane to meet you, and my heart goes scampering so, that I have much ado to bring it back again, and learn it to be patient, till that dear Susie comes. Three weeks — they can’t last always, for surely they must go with their little brothers and sisters to their long home in the west! I shall grow more and more impatient until that dear day comes, for till now, I have only mourned for you; now I begin to hope for you. Dear Susie, I have tried hard to think what you would love, of something I might send you — I at last say my little Violets, they begged me to let them go, so here they are — and with them as Instructor, a bit of knightly grass, who also begged the favor to accompany them — they are but small, Susie, and I fear not fragrant now, but they will speak to you of warm hearts at home, and of something faithful which “never slumbers nor sleeps” — Keep them ‘neath your pillow, Susie, they will make you dream of blue-skies, and home, and the “blessed contrie”! You and I will have an hour with “Edward” and “Ellen Middleton”, sometime when you get home — we must find out if some things contained therein are true, and if they are, what you and me are coming to! Now, farewell, Susie, and Vinnie sends her love, and mother her’s, and I add a kiss, shyly, lest there is somebody there! Don’t let them see, will you Susie?
Unfortunately they seem to breed like rabbits as they take the command, “Go forth and multiply” quite literal. It also seems that they have a problem justifying the partaking in sex for any purpose other than procreation.
The best example I had for being responsible about my relationships, sex, and reproduction was my much older brother’s “accidental” impregnation of a girl he hardly knew. Our family didn’t know her at all. We certainly didn’t blame her for the pregnancy. It happened a few years before abortion was legalized–so my brother married at 21 to a Catholic young woman he barely knew and did not love. She had been a virgin. The marriage lasted until she died of cancer at 62. They had two wonderful boys that I love with all my heart, but my brother and his wife were never happy, yet they remained together and they were both loving and good parents to their children. My brother died a few years after his wife of a heart attack. Neither he nor my sister-in-law experienced the loving marital relationships and happiness that they deserved.
By NOT teaching young people how to avoid pregnancy and STDs, by demonizing the very thing that drives the existence of all creatures on this planet, schools and parents are playing with kids’ lives and futures. Abstinence only teaching is absurd and very damaging. It is based on religion and not on BIOLOGY! Teach kids how to be responsible in their choices, even when their passion urges otherwise. Teach them about birth control. Teach them how to respect themselves and others. Tell them that drinking combined with recreational sex outside of a trusted relationship can bring regrets. Respect who they are as individuals with all their differences. Teaching them about sex is not telling them to have sex. It is protecting them, because sooner or later they will be sexually active. Like it or not, Mom and Dad!
I pity her son. Ms. Dreger’s views are very extreme and I would not trust a word she said about the class, so delusional with rage and her own twisted morality. That is not to say I defend the class but I would suggest that there is a happier middle ground. What seems to be lacking from both sides of this nonsense ‘debate’ is the fundamental respect that is due all Human Life and that starts with self-respect and then respect for others. Respect for females to say No. Respect for girls who have an unplanned pregnancy: it is a bummer for sure but not the end of the world. A more caring society would provide support, not dole out condemnation. But there is also huge pressure on young girls to have sex, from every section of society (including demented professor mothers) films, other girls, and of course, porn-addicted men. I do question how much sex education young children actually need. I went to an all-boys school and never received any, but never felt any hole in my education (unintended pun ;-/). Kids are smart and will figure stuff out for themselves. I also think that good literature can play a most important role e.g. Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” which I read when I was 30 but ought to have read it at 15 because it deeply instils respect for women, which cannot be a bad thing surely? However, I will doubtless be bombarded with abuse for holding such quaint old-fashioned views.
But both Puritans and Cavaliers believed in shooting all Catholics, particularly the down-trodden and colonized Irish, on sight.
Well if you don’t like morals why don’t you leave?