Warning: This column contains grown-ups graphically describing teenagers as dogs in heat and comparisons between Planned Parenthood and the Ku Klux Klan. Young adults who are, like, totally grossed out by this behavior, might want to skip it.
On Feb. 13, a District 11 resident sent an e-mail to the seven elected members of the school board. Under the subject line "High School Sex in the Park," the resident wrote:
"I was dismayed with the school board's decision to allow Planned Parenthood to continue to teach about contraception and safe sex at our children's schools. I am even more dismayed after what I witnessed on Friday afternoon, 2/11/2005, and suggest the school board go one step further; provide a safe place for these kids to practice sex where kids and park visitors aren't subjected to it."
She went on to describe an incident she had allegedly witnessed two days earlier while walking her dog in Keller Park in northeast Colorado Springs. Two teenagers, whom she said she recognized as Doherty High School students, were having sex in broad daylight, "in the midst of a group of pine trees."
"The boy was on top of her moving up and down and she had her pants and her underpants off," she wrote. "As soon as I saw them and they saw me, I made a big circle around them and pulled out my cell phone to call the police, but the kids were so quick to jump up, put on their clothes and backpacks and walk off, that I abandoned the call; too late."
Eric Christen, an elected D-11 Board member, responded with this actual message:
"Thank you ... for sharing your concern," Christen wrote. "Our children, however, are just animals and the sooner you get over your 19th Century hang-ups about where these little creatures can and can't have sex, the less problematic you'll find all of this.
"But hey, on the bright side, maybe they used condoms!"
If Christen's comments were some sort of sick attempt at humor, Doherty High School Principal Jill Martin wasn't laughing. In an e-mail to the resident and the board, the principal said she was "shocked and disappointed" by what the resident had witnessed and vowed to investigate the "offensive, risky and illegal activity." To which Christen, who in real life portrays himself as a moral reformer, issued a second missive:
"Thanks for your response. I do have some questions, however:
1) Why are you shocked? This has apparently been going on for some time. Have you not been aware of it until now?
2) Why is what was witnessed "disappointing" or "shocking"? We teach kids to have sex, that there is no moral imperative to NOT having sex, and we then act surprised when they do have sex? I'm confused. Or is the shock and disappointment from the fact they did this in public? If so then that is what is disappointing.
"8,000 teenagers today acquired an STD and most did it in the confines of their homes. This is what should be shocking and disappointing, though hardly surprising in an educational system that treats them as little more than dogs in heat vs. the moral, cognitive beings they truly are."
A little clarification is in order. First, the city's largest school district has an abstinence-based sex education curriculum; that means that children are taught that not having sex is the only way to prevent STDs and pregnancy. Until recently, representatives from Planned Parenthood have been invited to several D-11 high schools to talk about abstinence, as well as how to prevent pregnancy and disease in the case that teenagers are sexually active. Parents who do not want their children learning this kind of stuff have the option of opting out. Few do.
Finally, and this is the kicker that Christen and the resident might consider: Doherty has refused for many years to allow Planned Parenthood to come and speak. Using logical deduction, Planned Parenthood thus cannot be blamed for the above alleged sex incident involving Doherty High School students. God only knows how they found out about SEX!!!
A couple of other points to ponder in this bizarre episode:
The alleged incident did not appear on school grounds. So why is the D-11 Board of Education even involved?
Why didn't the resident report this illegal activity to the proper authorities, the police? Does this make her an accessory to a crime?
This week, Christen did not respond to a message seeking clarification. Fellow board member Karen Teja said she found Christen's comments "appalling." But board member Craig Cox, whose views are closely aligned with Christen's, underscored his belief that Planned Parenthood, as well as the school district he helps oversee, encourages students to have sex.
"My opinion is Planned Parenthood has no problem with that type of behavior; [their message is] if you do [have sex], here's how, and just use one of our condoms that are a whole 85 percent effective."
Told that D-11 administrators emphatically deny that Planned Parenthood discusses abortion with students, Cox says this: "What if we invited the KKK to teach woodworking, [but tell them] just don't teach about killing blacks? We shouldn't have an organization in our schools teaching kids how to kill kids."
Cox, who is 41, candidly admits he personally didn't have sex until after high school. He learned about contraception by "reading about it, from other peers, stuff like that." And that, apparently, is how everyone else should find out about safe sex too. "I think they'll learn about that on their own anyway," Cox said, "and if parents are OK with [their kids] having sex, they'll teach them about it."
What's next? Neighborhood voyeur patrol?
Want to read the e-mails?