Making teen moms disappear

Wed 05 Mar 2008 07:35 PM

PZ Meyers links to a news item about a Texas high school that is censoring the yearbook. The students staffers of the yearbook wrote a profile of two teen mothers who are part of the graduating class. The excuse for the censorship?

Principal Paul Cash said the topic of the article conflicts with the school's abstinence-based curriculum. He also said he does not think the community would want that topic covered in the yearbook.
Yet, as the story notes, these two girls are among eight or ten students at the high school that are either pregnant or have children. Add to this an untold number of girls who have had abortions, girls who use some form of birth control, and girls who have thus far managed to dodge the sperm-meets-egg bullet in all their carnal recreation.

Although fodder for blogs, this would not be in the purview of this blog if not for one little fact: The high school in question is Burleson High School, my dear alma mater. As I am writing this, I happen to have a copy of the 1992 edition of The Elk yearbook on a shelf within arm's reach. I don't live there anymore, but this hits close to home.

When I was in Burleson, we had informative if disappointingly non-salacious sexual education. I can even recall specific filmstrips from the sex ed in Mrs Pressel's science class. (Remembering filmstrips makes me feel old.) There was some component of parental permission, so that psycho-fundamentalist parents could shield their kids from Captain Condom, but I don't actually recall anyone opting out. We learned about STDs, birth control, and possible consequences of bumping and grinding. Now these banal but useful facts are verboten in elktown, because useful truth is at odds with the school's grotesque sensibilities.

If you find that acknowledging the existence of some of your students conflicts with your curriculum, Principal Cash, the wrong response is to efface the record of their existence.