Posted by Ryan Morgan on June 13, 2013 at 12:35 PM
At its best, the law protects citizens and inspires us all to respect the rights of others.
I’m talking the Law of Atticus Finch. There’s a value of fairness, of compassion, of sacrificing your own comfort or privilege to do the right thing and protect the most vulnerable in our society.
It’s like Rep. B.R. Skelton’s amendment to South Carolina’s sex ed law. His amendment
advocated for teacher training and medically-accurate information so South Carolina youth can have the best chances to make healthy choices that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
So naturally, Rep. Skelton cares about school districts actually following the law. His bill asked that school districts report their compliance to the State Board of Education, the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and the Chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee:
(B) By June fifteenth of each year, each school district shall report to the department an assessment of the district's compliance with the provisions of this chapter. This assessment must include:(1) a disclosure of health advisory committee meeting minutes; and(2) the compliance of the district to the South Carolina Academic Standards for Health and Safety Education.(C) The department shall compile information reported from the districts under item (2) and provide a summary of this information to all members of the State Board of Education, the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and the Chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee by December first of each year of implementation. This report also will be disseminated to the board of trustees of each school district and the legislative delegation for each school district."
[caption id="attachment_4798" align="aligncenter" width="300"]
Never received sex education[/caption]
This idea, of course, is that adding transparency to the system will motivate districts to do the right thing. There’s an assumption that we’re all on the same side, that we all WANT our youth to receive accurate information from trained professionals.
[caption id="attachment_4799" align="aligncenter" width="300"]
If all students wore this, there would be no need for sex ed[/caption]
But as we all know, the law can work another way. At its worst, it’s used as a tool of intimidation, as a way to crush souls into submission. It’s well, this:
Rep. Andy Patrick's reform language to the sex ed amendment takes a decidedly punitive approach. Instead of working with teachers and school districts to improve instruction, his amendment financially penalizes districts:
“Each school district is required to ensure that all comprehensive health education reproductive education and family life education conducted within the district, whether by school district employees or by private entities must utilize curriculum that complies with the provisions contained in Chapter 32 title 59. Any person may complain in a signed, notarized writing to the chairman of the governing board of the school district, that that manner not in compliance with the Chapter 32 title 59 is being taught in the district. Upon receiving a notarized complaint the chairman of the governing board must ensure that the complaint is immediately investigated and if the complaint is determined to be founded, then immediate action is taken to correct the violation. If corrective action is not taken, then the district must have its base student cost reduced by 1%” (Section 7, Paragraph b)
This is an intimidation tactic. Rather than working with teachers, this put teachers on the defensive and promotes a fear of funding loss rather than quality, accurate instruction--particularly when some parts of Patrick’s amendment are so broad as to outlaw hugging
Ultimately, we all want what’s best of South Carolina youth. We want them to be able to have a full range of possibilities, to be able to determine their own futures. Support the language reasonable reform, not intimidation