Friday, April 9, 2010

Moron Report #39: Scott Southworth's Right Hand

It has been awhile since I have done a moron report. It is not for a shortage of morons. Goddess knows, this country is full of them.

No, it is that there are so many of them I do not know where to begin. Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck viewers, the bigoted parents and educators of Itawamba, Mississippi? The list of potential candidates is so long, I do not have enough time in the day to spend it on the members and supporters of our stupid party.

Low and behold, every so often there comes along a special person who begs for inclusion. Meet Juneau County, Wisconsin, DA Scott Southworth. When not praying to his dead carpenter to deliver the unborn, he takes to threatening educators with prosecution for obeying the law, least the little buggers go out and have the kind of fun that Mr. Southworth likely never had with anyone other than his right hand when he was in high school. Don't believe me?

The '80s must have been hell on that right hand.

Wis. DA Threatens Arrest for Local Sex-Ed Teachers

(April 7) -- A Wisconsin district attorney is urging schools to drop their sex-education programs, warning that the teachers involved could be arrested if they follow a new state law requiring them to instruct students on how to use condoms and other contraceptives.

In light of a letter from Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth, leaders at the five school districts in the county are evaluating what to do now, New Lisbon School District Superintendent Tom Andres told AOL News today.

"I don't intend to put our teachers in harm's way," he said. "We were just about to meet to discuss how to comply with the new law. Then this letter came, and this is another piece of the puzzle that we'll have to consider as we figure out how to move forward."

The state law, called the Healthy Youth Act, took effect in March. Starting this fall, it requires schools with sex-education courses to teach students medically accurate, age-appropriate information, including how to use birth control and prevent sexually transmitted diseases. It also requires the classes to include information about how to recognize signs of abuse and how alcohol can affect decision making.

Parents will be permitted to remove their children from sex-education classes, as they could under previous state law. Schools also will be allowed the choice of whether to offer sex education, but must notify parents if they decide not to.

In his letter, Southworth told school district leaders the new law promotes sexual assault of children, and warns that teachers who follow the law could be charged with misdemeanor or felony delinquency of a minor, with maximum punishments ranging from nine months in jail to six years in prison.

"For example, if a teacher instructs any student aged 16 or younger how to utilize contraceptives under circumstances where the teacher knows the child is engaging in sexual activity with another child -- or even where the 'natural and probable consequences' of the teacher's instruction is to cause that child to engage in sexual intercourse with a child -- that teacher can be charged under this statue," Southworth wrote.

"Moreover, the teacher could be charged with this crime even if the child does not actually engage in the criminal behavior," he wrote, adding, "Our teachers should never be put in this position."

Southworth did not return calls or e-mails from AOL News for comment today.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services released a statement Tuesday disagreeing with Southworth's interpretation.

"The law provides comprehensive, medically accurate, unbiased and age-appropriate information, and teaches teens about the potential negative consequences of their choices," said department spokesman Seth Boffeli. "The law helps identify abuse and prevent teen pregnancy.

"Study after study has shown that abstinence-only education does not work. The Healthy Youth Act updates our standards to reflect the health risks teens face today," the statement said.

Southworth's letter also said the new law requires schools to condone controversial sexual behavior because they must teach students about gender stereotypes. He said that would likely mean teaching about homosexuality and transgender and transsexual people.

"In effect, the new law injects an intense amount of unnecessary politics into our human growth and development classrooms, and places our teachers and children into a position of discussing extremely controversial issues that will likely conflict with the religious beliefs and values of most Juneau County families," he wrote.

He urged school district leaders to simply drop their sex-education courses until the state Legislature "amends or repeals these new mandates."

Andres, whose district is in a small rural area of Wisconsin, near Madison, said his teachers are already walking a tightrope in sex-education classes, being careful that the information they present is age-appropriate and respectful of various religious and family views. But, he added, the schools also must fulfill their responsibility to students.

"You look on YouTube and you can see there already is a significant amount of sexual activity going on among our youth," he told AOL News.

"We have a responsibility to talk about it. We need to do it in a safe and responsible way," he said. "It's already difficult, and this [letter] makes it more difficult. ... We certainly don't want to contribute to the delinquency of a minor."

His district leaders will meet next week to decide how to proceed, he said. The school board will make the final decision.

Funny how these right-wingers never seem overly motivated to go after the priests who rape little boys, but if you learn how to put on a condom before prom (and prevent the birth of someone like him), oh ye damnable offense.

What I do not understand is how is it that this man could be allowed to practice law? For those of you not in the know, the whims of a local prosecutor are trumped by that pesky thing known as the law, particularly laws passed by states and the federal government. This would be like a local DA threatening stores after 1964 for refusing to racially exclude customers from their place of business. Mr. Southworth, a law school graduate and full-time district attorney, is threatening to throw people in jail for following state law, merely because his make pretend skygod tells him to.

If any of you would like to contact this sweet guy, here are his particulars. I am sure he would love to hear from you.

DA Scott Harold Southworth
Justice Center
200 Oak Street
Mauston, Wisconsin 53948
Phone Number: 608-847-9314

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