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Letters to the Editor : Sexual Ignorance

March 24, 1985

I would like to believe that the ingrained bias expressed by Tom Gorman ("San Marcos High's 1-in-5 Pregnancy Figure Shocks Community," March 11) that girls are responsible for their high pregnancy rate is simple journalistic oversight. Unfortunately, throughout the article, parents, teachers and administrators targeted their comments exclusively to and about females.

Sexual activity is a joy and a responsibility shared equally by the participants: Females are no more responsible for the pregnancy rate than are males. When our society is able to espouse and act out this fundamental truth, we may begin to find a solution to the sex-related problems in our society.

Please, parents: Look for a solution from all the young men and women. Unwanted pregnancy is not a female problem. It is a human problem that will begin to be solved when leaders will publicly and privately accept it without gender.



Something is awry in San Marcos ("San Marcos High's 1-in-5 Pregnancy Figure Shocks Community," Times March 11)!

A letter from the San Marcos School District notifying parents of the soaring pregnancy rate at the high school, asking them to "come to grips" with the problem of teen-age pregnancies and providing "parenting tips on . . . questions about sex and sexuality" are three small steps in the right direction toward calling a halt to this tragedy. A local minister urges people to "spend one hour a week in church and let their spiritual life develop" in order to "turn this problem upside down." In addition, he suggests a regular family dinner hour.

These small steps, seemingly born of frustration and pain, are simplistic solutions to a highly complicated problem. Our San Marcos community cannot afford to treat this open wound with Band-Aids.

The vicious cycle of sexual ignorance from parent to child will continue until we face it squarely. "Grounding" a child of 15 clearly solves nothing except a mother's need to do "something . . . anything!"

Every adult has experienced the rapid changes that have taken place in our society since we were kids: mobility and television, freedom and openness, working mothers, kids with cars, grown-up-looking children. These new realities require new solutions. Knowledge and understanding must replace our fear and embarrassment.

Classes in family living as well as sexual development should be required for all students, as for their parents. Instead of waging war against our children who are acting out, we should be waging war on our shared ignorance.

Education must start early for both parents and their children. Parents need know-how, training in answering questions, supporting concerns and, even, understanding their childrens' misdeeds. Trained parents support the professionals who are working with the children in school. It is never too early to help children understand and appreciate their bodies; they must learn, early, to respect themselves and each other and they need to feel free to turn to their parents for answers.

Once we have achieved that self-respect and mutual trust between parents and children, promiscuity will die a natural death. But sexuality has to be encountered early. Teaching an eighth- or ninth-grader about sex is like trying to teach a 12-year-old to ride a tricycle.

Mental health professionals and family agencies are eager to provide education for family life; school teachers and counselors are already in business; churches can join the team and provide such education, as well as inspiration, for parents and their children.

Something is awry in San Marcos! But it can be made straight! Let us all join forces: families, the school, the church and the community. Let us work together on behalf of today's children and their parents and the generations yet to come.


Lake San Marcos

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