Update (6/5): Open blogging keyboard, insert foot. I clearly glossed over the problems with O’Reilly’s reporting of the situation. Upon closer examination and analysis, he clearly has distorted the goings-on in Boulder (to be sensational? to fit the thesis of his book? I don’t know). Boulder school officials aren’t to be completely exculpated, but they have handled the matter more responsibly than the Fox News commentator has given them credit for doing. So, regretful apologies for my earlier misstatement, and hope this adds a little clarity.
Republicans in the Colorado legislature have taken their turn now putting the heat on leaders of Boulder Valley School District for putting on a mandatory pro-sex, pro-drugs seminar for high school students and refusing to take any responsibility for it:
“…The minors who sat through this dubious discussion were subjected to the most dangerous kind of input any youth could get from a presumed authority figure: a green light to engage in destructive behavior,” the letter states.
Sen. Steve Johnson, a Fort Collins Republican who signed the letter, said everyone with whom he has discussed the matter has expressed outrage.
“This is ludicrous. Here we have a school that actually required students to attend an assembly where they were urged to try sex and drugs,” Johnson said. “Is that really the biggest challenge facing today’s youth — getting them to try sex and drugs? It’s like the people in charge over there are operating in some alternative universe.”
The letter from Senate Republicans follows extensive media attention locally from Dan Caplis & Craig Silverman (630 KHOW), and nationally from Bill O’Reilly at FoxNews.
A lot of these shows’ listeners & viewers have been making their opinions known to Boulder Valley officials. While some seek to deflect attention to a handful of over-the-top, rude cranks who have said obnoxious things, the irresponsible approach of school administrators should be the central focus. And the issue remains one for Boulder parents and taxpayers to take the lead in expressing their opinions. (And, no, O’Reilly is not making “borderline slanderous” remarks about Boulder – he’s painted a fairly accurate picture of events for the outside world.)
For the rest of us, as I advocated last year after the Jay Bennish incident, the best thing we can do is to empower parents with more educational choices. Sure, some in Boulder may be happy with the way the sex-and-drugs talk was presented. But instead of having to raise their voices fruitlessly to get school officials to step down or take responsibility, they should have easier access to charter schools, online education, private schools through tax-credits, or some other form of schooling that suits their values and ideals.
The best thing these concerned state legislators could do would be to pass laws expanding school choice.
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