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Children need better info about sex

A story this week out of Minnesota suggests gun violence might be the only concern parents will face as their children attend school or play in their neighborhood.

Thursday, September 23, 1999

A story this week out of Minnesota suggests gun violence might be the only concern parents will face as their children attend school or play in their neighborhood.

In this case, an 8-year-old girl was lured into a warehouse and then gang-raped by a bunch of boys – most under the age of 12 and some under the age of 10.

And, as if that was not enough of a reason to yank your daughter inside, it seems the leader of the attack was her 9-year-old brother.

It would be easy to blame such a horrible action on a disturbed child – a boy who was never taught right from wrong. And some of the reason for this attack was probably a rather skewed value system.

But there is another aspect to explore. This time, not just the theory that our children are growing up too quickly and without the judgment necessary to make adult decisions. What stands out here is that sex is not the mystery it used to be to most of our children.

They are exposed to sexual innuendo, sex on TV and increasingly more permissive discussions of morals, marriage and premarital relations.

It is no wonder some children are confused about what the rules are – they are getting them from television, their peers and some pretty worthless adults.

Sex education has always been a subject few people have wanted to talk about – let alone allow in their schools. The idea is that children should be protected from too much knowledge and decisions they are not old enough to make. Teaching them about sex will encourage them to think that premarital sex is fine, some critics say.

Sex education is not about teaching our teenagers to take the responsibility of such a relationship lightly. It is about giving them the real story about sex – the decision and its consequences. Sex education can stop the curious from experimenting or imitating something they saw this week on "Felicity."

In this computer age, there are few children who don’t know where to go to get information. They cannot be protected from sex, drugs, violence, the world anymore. And even if you can protect your own children, there are always a few parents out there who don’t bother to pay attention to what their children see and hear. Ignorance spreads like wildfire.

Arming our children with information is a lot better than sending them out to try to determine what is correct on their own. Information about such a possibly life-altering decision should come from us – or an adult – not your child’s 10-year-old neighbor.