By Kathleen Gilbert
JUNEAU COUNTY, Wisconsin, April 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Teachers implementing a new law that requires explicit, pro-contraceptive sex education in public schools may risk criminal prosecution for promoting the delinquency of minors, a local district attorney warned Juneau County schools last month.
In a letter to school districts March 24, Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth urged school administrators to withdraw from the human growth and development courses altogether, rather than submit to the new mandate requiring children to be taught how properly to use condoms and other contraceptives.
"To adopt the highly-controversial mandates of Act 134 risks the safety of our children and the careers of our teachers - something I implore you not to do," he said.
Southworth characterized the new law as "requiring that you transform your current human growth and development curricula into programming that promotes the sexualization - and sexual assault - of our children."
Both of the representatives of Juneau County, State Senator Dale Schultz and State Representative Ed Brooks, had voted against the new mandates.
The D.A. warned that the new law promotes the sexual assault of children, exposes teachers to possible criminal liability, undermines parental authority, and requires school districts to condone controversial sexual behavior.
"It is a crime to engage in sexual intercourse with any child under the age of 18," pointed out the DA. "Forcing our schools to instruct children on how to utilize contraceptives encourages our children to engage in sexual behavior, whether as a victim or an offender. It is akin to teaching children about alcohol use, then instructing them on how to make mixed alcoholic drinks. While it is true that some children will wrongly choose to engage in sexual behavior before entering adulthood, our school districts should never promote illegal activity."
A major study released in February showed a higher rate of sexual intercourse among teens who had undergone pro-contraceptive sex education, compared to teens attending an abstinence-only course or no sex education at all.
The DA also said out that under the criminal code, "Anyone who intentionally encourages or contributes to the delinquent (criminal) act of a child can be charged under this statue. For example, if a teacher instructs any student aged 16 or younger how to utilize contraceptives under circumstances where the teacher knows the child is engaging in sexual activity with another child ... that teacher can be charged under this statue."
Southworth also blasted the law for giving the contraceptive industry a new inroad among children. Whereas sex education had previously been the domain of schoolteachers, Southworth notes that the new law allows "volunteer health care providers" to teach the material.
"Now, schools can utilize these 'health care providers,' who may come in the form of contraceptive industry representatives (e.g. employees of Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion and contraceptive provider, which lobbied in favor of this new law) and who can effectively market sexually-oriented products to our children," he wrote.
"Our children receive enough sales pitches from television, magazines and radios - they should not be subjected to pandering by 'volunteers' from local contraception businesses whose real interest is likely obtaining new, young customers."
"I am forced to deal with the numerous sexual assaults that occur in Juneau County each year. I witness first-hand the pain and suffering child victims must endure," wrote the D.A. "However, these new mandates will make my job much more difficult by converting objective human growth and development programming into a radical program that sexualizes our children as early as kindergarten.
"This, in turn, will lead to more child sexual assaults."
The letter was blasted by one of the authors of the new law, who accused the attorney of attempting to intimidate teachers. "Using condoms isn't a crime for anyone," Democrat Rep. Kelda Helen Roys told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "His purpose is to intimidate and create enough panic in the minds of school administrators that they'll turn their backs on young people and their families."
Southworth, however, insisted that he had an obligation to publish his interpretation of the law, and that he was not doing so to incite fear.
"If I'd wanted to be ideological, I would have said in the letter you shouldn't have sex before marriage because that's the Christian perspective. I'm an evangelical," Southworth told the paper.
Tom Andres, superintendent of the New Lisbon School District, told the Sentinel that district officials are taking Southworth's letter into consideration as they map out how to handle the new law.
Matt Sande of Pro-Life Wisconsin commended Southworth for informing school administrators how he would interpret the law, which Sande says he considers a reasonable reading.
"It's such a conflicting message to the kids: here theyr'e saying this is a crime, but we're going to show you how to do it," Sande told LifeSiteNews.com Wednesday.
"We commend District Attorney Southworth for his frankness and courage in examining this new law and providing this information to district administrators and teachers, and we encourage every district attorney in this state to do the same," he said.
The D.A.'s pro-life values have won praise from Pro-Life Wisconsin in the past, who called Southworth "unwavering in his defense of the disabled and strongly supports establishing legal personhood for preborn children."