Teach students: Take morality seriously
This is in reaction to the proposal of Education Secretary Leonor Briones to enhance the teaching of sex education in public schools by introducing the human rights component that would allow young girls who get pregnant under very unusual circumstances to return to school (“Sex education to erase stigma of pregnant student—Briones,” News, 8/8/16).
One of the “unusual circumstances” cited was that many parents marry off their children at a young age, thereby contributing to the high incidence of teenage pregnancy. Then that is mainly the fault of the parents. If the girl gets pregnant in that situation, then at least she’s married. If she’s married, shouldn’t she stay at home and raise her child? If the pregnancy were the result of rape, then it’s even more important to shield the victim from the prying and malicious eyes of the public, who may not know about the “unusual circumstances” which led to her pregnancy.
Pregnant girls, according to Briones, have a right to go back to school and be treated humanely. The reason given is vulgar in the extreme: “This thing, after all, is not a do-it-yourself job of one girl. It’s a partnership enterprise!” Does the cooperative and collaborative nature of the effort between boy and girl exonerate them from the consequences of their “partnership enterprise”? Why is there a need to teach these “babies” sex education when they already know it, so exceedingly well that they are in fact making babies of their own?
The secretary’s errant and aberrant stand is tantamount to giving teenage students the go-signal to paint the town bloody red, go all the wayward way and engage in sex though the heavens fall! It opens the floodgates to all sorts of misinterpretations and misapplications by wanton, reckless and fun-loving teenagers and their irresponsible parents who are clearly remiss in their parenting duties.
Briones wants us to “understand” and not stigmatize teenage pregnancy to help these students rebuild their lives. A pregnant student running around the school campus scandalizes, demoralizes, corrupts and undermines the morals of the rest of the student population who chose to stay “clean and sober.” The presence of a pregnant and unmarried minor in school violates the basic right of other students to be in an institution of learning which is conducive to acquiring knowledge, skills and sound, solid values. A pregnant student ought to stay home, rest and look after the health and welfare of her baby and herself. After she has given birth and raised her kid to a level where it is able to attend to its own basic needs, the mother may then opt to go back to school and finish her studies, with her dignity intact.
Briones should instead be telling these kids to hold their horses till they’re fit and ready to race. She should promote the teaching of values education in public schools and refrain from condoning and justifying promiscuity and concupiscence in adolescent students. Moral education—the training of the heart and the mind toward the good—is what we need. And for students to take the issue of morality seriously, they must be guided, instructed and educated by adults who take morality very seriously indeed.
—ANTONIO CALIPJO GO, academic supervisor, Marian School of Quezon City, 199 Sauyo Road, Novaliches, Quezon City
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