Crusading Juneau County DA Scott Southworth says he wasn't threatening sex ed teachers, he was just telling them what he could do if they teach the required courses, that's all. But his letter to the school district suggests otherwise.
A March 24 letter from Southworth to the Juneau County School District was taken as a threat by teachers, who are now afraid to teach a sex ed curriculum that explains contraception. The curriculum is required by law, but anti-abortion activists and evangelical Christians, such as Southworth, are on a crusade to cut the program, saying it will lead to teens having sex and will encourage sexual predators. He says he has no plans to run for higher office.
This is not the first time that religious zealots have stood in the way of educating teens in Wisconsin. According to the Juneau County Star Times:
The Necedah Area School District has been without any sex education curriculum for over 15 years — a product of the difficulty in navigating what many consider to be a personal or even religious issue.
Southworth told the paper, "I'm not threatening anyone. The letter was designed to warn them of the law when this act was put into place." He has threatened teachers with up to nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine for contributing to the delinquency of a minor if they teach the required course. This has obviously upset many in the area. Local paper The Tomah Journal said in an editorial:
Southworth's letter is absurd on many levels. First, it's a leap to assume that teaching factual material about contraception encourages anyone to have sex. Does presenting factual material about the impact of alcohol consumption encourage students to drink?"
In the letter, which can be seen here, Southworth paints himself as a hero who fights for victims of sexual abuse on a daily basis. He's threatening sex ed teachers with jail because teaching contraception will encourage rapists.
And what could be worse than sexual violence? Homosexuality, of course. If the kids don't even know what it is, maybe they won't be gay!
Same goes for contraception: If we don't teach the kids how to use condoms or birth control, they'll just be so confused that they won't even want to have sex until they're happily married in a church.
Did Southworth and his right-wing buddies not go to high school?
[Image via Star Times]