“Yet again, our political leaders follow the trend of transferring authority to teachers from parents, and parents continue to lose the right to parent their own children. We will work with everyone, but especially with the parents of our public school children enrolled in our religious education programs, to assist them in asserting their parental rights.”
Zwilling said that parents have “the right and the responsibility to be the first and primary educators of their children.”
“This mandate by the city usurps that role, and allows the public school system to substitute its beliefs and values for those of the parents,” he added.
In the 1990s city school boards had the authority to bar the mention of contraception, abortion, and homosexuality. However, the boards are now under mayoral control.
Donohue said sex education should discourage sex the way other programs discourage smoking.
“We don't tell kids not to smoke and then instruct them on the proper way to inhale,” he added.
Students should learn about how abortion affects women and unborn children, about the greater likelihood of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease, and about the link between unwed motherhood and poverty, Donohue advised.
In January, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York decried the city’s “chilling” abortion rate. About 41 percent of all unborn babies in the city are killed in the womb.
Supporters of the sex education program include Vanessa Mercado, the after-school program manager at the Inwood Academy for Leadership.
“Children are exposed to sex in so many forms now that it’s better they get the right information from someone,” she told the New York Times.
However, Lucy Accardo, a mother of four on the Community Education Council for District 24, said sex education is not the proper activity of the schools.
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“I don’t agree with it, because I think parents should teach their children at their own discretion,” she said.