Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Middle schoolers having sex? In public school? On school busses? Rainbow Parties? What is going on?!?

What is going on in the public school busses and public schools apparently all over America AND in the county I live in? And sex parties in private homes? Gasp—“not in my town” was what I first thought, and apparently that is what parents all over America are saying! But we are wrong, it does happen in our towns! I heard last week of an oral sex incident on a school bus in my town, an 8th grade girl gave “a birthday present” to a boy-- performing oral sex on him, with onlookers! I believe most kids are 12 going on 13 in 8th grade, right? What is going on that the attitude now is that things like that are done at all at that age, or in public places or intentionally with people watching, even at school or on a school bus, and there is no stigma? What is happening?

Perhaps another thing that irks me is the complete lack of coverage of this in my town’s newspaper. I would think this tidbit of information would be something that parents and citizens would like to know about. If the village is to raise the children, then the villagers should know what the children are doing!

I think that the public schools should play a larger role in "in loco parentis". It seems crazy to me that anything from verbal bullying to fighting to sex can happen on a bus or even in the school. It seems as each year goes on we hear more and more about “what really goes on” and sometimes video footage shows it…such as the incident last year where a brutal girl-girl bullying incident was filmed by school bus video cameras. The girls and parents were interviewed on television (I can’t remember if it was on the Oprah show or the Dr. Phil show). When there is video footage, it gets hard to deny or refuse to believe. Also as the years go on we seem to have more and more psychologists saying the damaging effects of bullying, but still nothing changes. If the schools keep kids for so many hours per day and with long bus rides, why can’t they take more of a role to prevent this from happening?

Let us also consider that when our citizens have sex when under the age of consent, it is an illegal activity! In my state the age of consent is 16. When 12 and 13 year old middle school students can have various forms of sex during the school day in the school building and on the school bus, it is illegal, and something is very wrong, and I think something should be done about it! I have a theory that there are moral issues at play here. Perhaps the continued notion of late that public schools are a place to provide information not values and morals has finally taken its toll?

The reason that I thought of "in loco parentis” is because my husband has spoken of it being the policy at his alma mater and that we hear so much from the public education folks that socialization is a very important role that public schools play. If this is true, how can they justify condoning and allowing illegal sexual activity to take place in the school and on the bus? Is this considered acceptable "socialization"?

I found on the web, two graduates of my husband’s University, putting down this Catholic University’s continuation of the policy of “in loco parentis”. I was surprised to read this letter to the editor dated spring 2004:

“The title "What's So Great about Notre Dame?" gives one a warm, cozy connotation of provocative intimacy and ethical superiority. And while the musings and remembrances are nostalgic, we must take dead issue with a clear theme of the article. Specifically that it is "great" and "special" for Notre Dame to have single-sex dorms, parietals, in loco parentis and "SMC chicks." We are considerably shocked to think that there are still people in the third millennium who champion parietals and university babysitting. I dare say a majority of the alumni and a nearly unanimous student body do not feel the same. What was distinctive and "Catholic" for the 1960 and '70s is downright absurd and ludicrous for 2004.’

I have deleted the author's names, if you want to see their names, click on the link. The letter was co-signed by two graduates of the class of 1973 and 1974 who are now married.

The original article was a list of submissions from the alma maters published in the Winter 2003-2004 issue of Notre Dame magazine, What's So Great About Notre Dame? and “in loco parentis” was one "great thing" on the list.

To compound my thinking about this issue, last night my husband and I viewed a Dr. Phil show which aired on April 4, 2005 Too Old or Too Young for Babies and Sex?”". A portion of the show was an interview and discussion with a 55 year-old divorced mother who used fertilized embryos, which were prepared when she was married and undergoing infertility treatment, while to get pregnant. She and her husband never did have children while they were married. Later they divorced, and she chose to get impregnated with the previously frozen embryos, and at the age of 52, she birthed her first child and recently gave birth to her second child at age 55. She said that her earlier years were spend in getting a college and law degree and having a successful law career. She then went on to say how fulfilling motherhood is and that it is such a great thing. But then she went on to state that she and other mothers in their 50s can and do make better mothers than women in their 20s and 30s as they want to be mothers. Speak for yourself, lady! Some of us put our careers on hold to have babies in our 20s and 30s because we were ready for motherhood and wanted to be mothers. But I digress.

Then I saw that Dr. Phil was asking the question “how young is too young to have a baby and to have sex” I was happy to see that SOMEONE in the media is asking these questions! I know some people don’t like Dr. Phil or the show but I applaud him for raising moral issues and bringing these issues up for discussion on his show. Other than Dr. Phil and Oprah, I can’t think of anyone else bringing this discussion (in an intelligent format) to the mainstream media.

Anyway, the biggest shock revealed to us on this Dr. Phil show, was hearing an expert who works with children’s sex issues and STDs was quoting statistics about children (I can’t even say teenagers). Brace yourself—she said the bottom age now for intercourse is age 9! And by 12 it is numerous and by 13 it is definitely not uncommon at all. There was a girl on the show who is now 13 years old, who has had 5 intercourse partners and who lost her virginity at age 12. She and her mom and they were talking about her promiscuity and the mother was asking for help and advice. The girl also stated that she felt the mother should buy her condoms (which the mother refused to do). The girl also stated that it was alright if she got pregnant as her sexual partners all told her that they’d help her raise the baby. Dr. Phil pointed out her last partner is presently in jail on a drug related charge, so how could he help her if she had gotten pregnant? The girl claimed that a lot goes on at school and she knows from schoolmates of the prevalence of intercourse and oral, and talked even of, and I had not heard the term before, "rainbow parties" which I don't even want to describe on my blog lest it be labeled an x-rated! If you want to know what it is, and just in case you want to make sure I am not making this up, a bunch of different definitions are here. I think it is important to note that some submittors of the definition of this phrase at this site believe this is an urban legend. It is not an urban legend according to teens on the Oprah and Dr. Phil show! This goes to show that some (many?) adults refuse to accept reality and instead choose to fool themselves about what their pre-teens and teens are doing in their spare time!

Google came up with a link to a 2004 Oprah show titled Do you know what your teen is doing?”" which I didn't see that gives the definition of a rainbow party (and other slang sex terms that teens are using to label what they are doing).

I am curious what other parent’s think, especially parents of children who go to public school. What is the cause and root of this? I think the root of this is "peer dependence" where the moral beliefs and behaviors are taught by "the pack" and that pack is the peers at school. It seems to me the peer dependence is so high that all moral and good-behavior teachings done by parents are disregarded and replaced by what the other kids are doing. This goes for bullying, drugs, alcohol, disrespect for teachers/adults, sex, the way they dress (too sexy for young girls), etc. In my opinion "peer dependence" starts at either daycare, preschool, or Kindergarten, whichever the child experiences earlier.

I also wonder if the slippery slide of television of having more graphic content has fueled some of this, to give the idea that some sexual acts are so great that they are (somehow) okay to be done at younger ages. Examples of some HBO shows that probably many preteens and teens can access to watch in their bedroom televisions, at sleepovers or while alone in a room are:

a. Sex in the City: if you would like to see this show for free, check your local public library to see if they have it to borrow, as mine does.

b. G String Diva's (one of HBOs documentaries in the "America Undercover" series: If you are curious about the content of the show there are some free clips online that you can view, which I just discovered so I could post the link for this email.

c. "Taxicab confessions", another "documentary", there is a lot of graphic language, and telling of sex stories, and even sometimes showing heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual passengers having (a range of different kinds of) sex in the back of the taxicab!

d. HBOs documentaries about prostitutes on the America Undercover series “Hookers at the Point” (and its sequels) are very graphic with sounds of interactions and sometimes even video footage of the interactions with the John (shot from a distance with secret cameras).

For now I am happy my kids are homeschooled. A part of me is saying, "my kids will be immune to this as they will be homeschooled" but I can't help but wonder though if for whatever reason they end up in school in the future...I am not happy with the idea that they would be surrounded by things such as witnessing sex at school or on the bus...yikes. Also, I am not happy with this being the general climate of what their same aged peers are doing and I wonder what kind of world it is and what it will become if children are sexually active at age nine, and growing up too quickly. Because I tend to think about parenting issues I just can’t get this off my mind today!

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Personally, I don't have an answer for you (as a parent of a 5th grader in public school). But my son moves to middle school next year, and I'm concerned. Am actually considering home-schooling for the first time. If I can convince my husband, I'm motivated (and frightened) enough to do it.