THIS is the second time we’ve written about South Dakota recently. The first was South Dakota: America’s Dumbest State?
The intersection of education and religion separated three otherwise like-minded candidates in a fast-paced Sioux Falls School Board voter forum Thursday that covered 21 topics in one hour.
That’s a busy intersection, so this sounds like a wild event. Let’s see:
Questions from the audience and forum organizers at the Instructional Planning Center included whether the public schools should teach creationism alongside evolution and whether sex education should be comprehensive or abstinence-only.
We’ve often wondered how one would teach “abstinence-only.” We imagine the entire semester consists of the teacher exhorting his teen-aged students: “Don’t do it! Just don’t!” Then the final exam has a series of multiple-choice questions: “Should you engage in performing X?” “Or Y?” “Or Z?” And the possible answers to each question are: “Yes, No, Maybe.” That would be an intellectually challenging class.
How did the candidates handle the abstinence issue?
Hallickson, who works at the Abstinence Clearinghouse, defended abstinence programs as well-rounded curricula. She said only students 16 and older should get comprehensive sex ed, and said it’s not unreasonable to ask teens to abstain from sex. “My husband and I were both virgins on our wedding night,” she added.
That must have been some wedding night! We continue:
Alberty, who served on the committee that created the middle-school sex ed curriculum, said those lessons are “very effective.” He said abstinence is a good goal for students, but not every teen will make that choice.
Those who make the wrong choice deserve a big F. Here’s more:
Westra said a public school’s role is to give students age-appropriate lessons on the health aspects of sex, not teach religious values. “As far as much more than that, I think it needs to be done at home,” she said.
Wow, a rational response! Okay, that’s enough about sex. Let’s get to the creationism question: Should the public schools should teach creationism alongside evolution?
Julie Westra and incumbent Kent Alberty offered simple no’s to the creationism question.
Hey — not bad! Note that Westra gave an acceptable answer on the sex education question too. What about the third candidate — the wedding night virgin? Here’s what she said:
Jenay Hallickson said she understands the argument that if schools teach one viewpoint, they should teach the other. “I don’t know that I could give a concrete yes or no answer,” she said.
So there you are. If the good folks of Sioux Falls want their schools to teach abstinence and creationism, they should definitely vote for Jenay Hallickson.
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