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We blew sex seminar, school chief says
Posted By Bob Unruh On 05/25/2007 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
It took multiple violations of school policy to allow a seminar at Boulder High School in Colorado to turn into an explicit sex rally in which a guest speaker told students as young as 14 to go have sex and use drugs, according to the superintendent.
However, Supt. George Garcia is defending the seminar anyway, and promised that they will continue.
“The existing partnership between the Conference on World Affairs and Boulder High School is a positive and beneficial one for engaging students in a thoughtful and thought-provoking discussion of often controversial issues,” Garcia said in a statement released by the district.
“This partnership should continue into the future,” he said.
The controversy developed during a recent Conference on World Affairs seminar at the school. There, forum panelist Joel Becker, a psychologist from UCLA, took over.
“I am going to encourage you to have sex and encourage you to use drugs appropriately,” Becker said.
“Why I am going to take that position is because you are going to do it anyway,” he continued. “I think as a psychologist and health educator, it is more important to educate you in a direction that you might actually stick to. So, I am going to stay mostly on with the sex side because that is the area I know more about. I want to encourage you to all have healthy, sexual behavior.”
WND also has reported on similar assemblies that have been used by schools to promote homosexuality, including one where parents were banned from the event, and a second where WND reported school officials ordered their 14-year-old freshman class into a “gay” indoctrination seminar after having them sign a confidentiality agreement promising not to tell their parents.
It Garcia’s statement, he noted that the panel “STDs: Sex, Teens and Drugs” attracted controversy because some of the comments were crude and violated district health and conduct standards, students were required to attend in violation of the district policy, and the make-up of the panel also violated district policy.
The panel was intended, Garcia said, “to discuss with students the risks of engaging in certain behaviors… This is not to state that certain comments were not, in any context, unnecessarily crude or that certain points were not in direct contradiction with district health and conduct standards. They were.”
He also said a requirement that some students attend “violated existing district and school practice. Further, “my … conclusion is that the make-up of this panel was not in compliance with BVSB Board Policy… Though this Board policy has no direct effect upon the Conference on World Affairs Staff, it is binding upon BVSD faculty and students and was not followed in so far as the panel did not reflect a broad range of views and perspectives much less opposing points of view.
“I hold that it is the mission of any school district not only to impart factual information to its students but to assist students in the development of their ability to think critically and creatively. Community partnerships such as the one between the Conference on World Affairs and Boulder High School are valuable tools in that development,” he opined.
“A key element in that development is to provide thoughtful and balanced perspectives on difficult issues,” he added.
That is exactly what Boulder High sophomore Daphne White and her mother, Priscilla White, confronted the board about. They said there was no balancing message, that the entire presentation was geared to denigrate abstinence and religious faith, and promote free sex and drug use.
Priscilla White told board members it’s inappropriate for such a message to be delivered by a public school. She was reading excerpts of the presentation to the board when board President Helayne Jones told her to stop, because the language was inappropriate.
“The panel discussion was a completely irresponsible and dangerous invitation to Boulder High students to have sex and take drugs,” her daughter, Daphne, told the board.
The issue, while gaining little traction in the mainstream media, however did attract the attention of some talk show hosts on Denver’s KHOW radio. There, officials have posted audio as well as a transcript of the seminar, and their followup questions to school officials.
The panel included Becker; Andree Gerhardt, a community engagement leader with Ernst & Young; Antonio Sacre, an LA-based performing artist, and Sanho Tree, of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington.
They were assembled for the discussion as part of the university’s Conference on World Affairs, which has been described as a forum for anything.
Conference leaders also defended the radical comments to students as young as 14, saying the forum speakers talked “candidly and sensibly to the high school audience.”
The White family said the conference statement wasn’t even accurate.
“The panelists irresponsibly advised Boulder High students to have sex and use drugs,” the family responded. “Teenage abstinence was dismissed as an unwise choice and indicative of religious hang-ups.”
Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly said Boulder already is known as a “far left” town.
He played a recording of an “unidentified male” saying: “We all experiment. It’s very natural for young people to experiment with same sex relationships. When you are 13, 12, 13, 14 certainly probably one of the most appropriate sexual behaviors would be masturbation. Even today, there are psychiatrists who will do sessions under the influence of ecstasy. If I had some maybe I’d do it with someone, but you know.”
The transcript obtained by WND showed those comments also were from Becker.
Dan Caplis, a lawyer and radio talk-show host on KHOW, said the principal should have been fired, but wasn’t.
“We had the president of the school board on, as well as the head of the school district. And they just kept dodging us. Finally, we pinned them down and we said don’t you agree this was harmful, this was dangerous? Finally, they agreed to that,” Caplis reported.
The conference was begun in 1948 to discuss international affairs, but has expanded to become a conference, as it describes itself, on “Everything Conceivable.”
Past participants include Henry Kissinger, Yitzhak Rabin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ted Turner, Arianna Huffington, Ralph Nader and George McGovern.
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