Sex Ed Would Also Require Marriage Ed in Wisconsin By Joanne M. Haas CNS
Correspondent April 27, 2001

Madison, Wisconsin ( - Attorneys and educators alike are
applauding a Wisconsin proposal requiring that instruction in marriage and
parental responsibility be part of any public school curriculum including
human sexuality.

"They need to know it is not just fun and games," Republican Rep. Carol
Owens said of her measure aimed at helping students understand the
consequences of their behavior.

Owens said she felt compelled to sponsor the bill after reading a report
that indicated about 40 percent of young people believe it is acceptable to
force sexual relations on another person in certain cases.

"If they (school districts) teach human sexuality, then I want them to
follow it up with the responsibility and the ramifications and results of
sexual activity," she said.

Wisconsin's Superintendent of Public Instruction John Benson said Owens'
proposal is in sync with the goals of the Wisconsin Plan to Prevent
Adolescent Pregnancy, involving the Department of Public Instruction,
Department of Health and Family Services and Workforce Development.

"Work groups are actively engaged in carrying out the plan's
recommendations," Benson said.

Specifically, Owens' proposal would change a Wisconsin statute by requiring
the linking of marriage and parental responsibility training with sexuality

"The purpose of the statute," Benson said, "is to encourage school districts
to provide human growth and development instruction in order to promote
accurate and comprehensive knowledge, responsible decision-making, and to
support the efforts of parents to provide moral guidance to their children."

The Family Law Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin also is on record in
support of Owens' proposal and requested an amendment to require that the
courses "deal with the statutory and legal standards that pertain to
marriage, families and divorce." The Bar also cited its own marriage and
family curriculum, which it offers to high schools.

A report released earlier this year by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a
national charity and research group devoted to disadvantage youth, found
that Wisconsin's largest city, Milwaukee, had the sixth highest rate among
U.S. cities for teen births in the 1990s. The study shows about 20 percent
of the city's births are to teens. The city also ranked second, behind
Atlanta, in terms of births to teen mothers who have already had children.

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