WASHINGTON -- Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League, issued the following statement concerning the proposal to teach comprehensive sex education in grades K through 12 in the Helena, Montana, public schools.
"Parents in Helena are right to be upset about these proposed sex courses in their schools. Sex education is a value-laden subject, and information must be conveyed to each child at a level consistent with his or her mental maturity. Supporters of such classroom programs typically talk about presenting material that is 'age-appropriate.' But that criterion does not apply in this context.
"Because children mature at widely differing rates, one child may be ready for a great deal of information at 11 years of age or earlier, while another child, even in the same family, might not be ready for the same information until he or she is 14-years-old.
"School classrooms group children by the same chronological age, but they will each be at varying stages of mental maturity. In fact, the lower the grade level, the greater the disparity is among the children. It is impossible to design a classroom sex education course that is appropriate for all of the children in the class.
"As Dr. Melvin Anchell has pointed out for decades, the consequences of teaching sex education in elementary school are harmful and far-ranging. By introducing the subject of sex during this period of a child's maturity process, we interfere with his natural learning abilities and his development of social qualities such as compassion.
"The children who are unfortunate enough to be thrust into this kind of curriculum will suffer in countless ways, both academically and socially.
"American Life League encourages parents in Helena to continue to oppose these programs and demand that their public schools stop these social engineering schemes and instead use teachers' limited and valuable time to return to teaching basic academic subjects."