Tuesday, May 24, 2005

On The Sun: Parental Responsibility

One of the facts of the Sun's recent story, was the girl's mother insisting on the responsibility of the school for her children's pregnancies. This seems absolutely bizarre, and an abhorrent response. While sex education in schools is a valuable weapon in empowering young people to make sexual decisions, it is a marginal role compared to that of parents. It is completely hypocritical for the mother of these children to shift responsibility to the school. While we do not know sufficient details of the case to judge her own culpability, the circumstances of this story do not make the state's schools as culpable.

Ironically, many sex education complaints frequently run in the opposite direction: with parent's preferring their children not to attend such classes. While it is deeply regrettable than anybody would fall into such a viewpoint, I think ultimately we have to respect the right of that parent to be wrong, on this issue of sex education, than impose the diktat of the state. While the state may intervene in the upbringing of children under certain circumstances, the gains we make for sexual education are sucrely less than we would give up to parental liberty. Just as the state cannot be blamed by parents as responsible for the upbringing and fate of their children, so the state cannot remove from parents the right to make decisions about almost all elements of their children's upbringing. That will occasionally allow them to make mistakes, but at the end of the day the average parent is far, far better than the nanny state, and so we must accept that the virtues of sex education will necessarily lost to some children.

Their parents, and parents who do not take up their responsibilities for all aspect's of a child's life, even when the school plays a part, will have let such children down.