Recently it was brought to my attention that the Wilmington Schools Superintendent has informed the New Life Clinic that they will no longer be allowed to offer a class titled “Healthy Relationships” to any of the schools within this district.
This class in one form or another has been offered for several years and has been well received by both students and parents. The class discusses what it takes to have healthy relationships and the tools we have at our disposal to learn more about ourselves, thus promoting healthy relationships when dealing with family and friends.
When the Director of the New Life Clinic met with the superintendent, her rationale for stopping the class was that the New Life Clinic was a religious organization and this violated separation of church and state laws. She also stated that her teachers are certified to proficiently offer this information within the class and outside help is not needed.
The New Life Clinic is not a religious organization, but a non-profit 501(3)(c) organization that is a pregnancy resource center, that offers help to pregnant mothers, and assists families in making sound decisions. Funding comes from many sources including churches, but is mainly supported by individual donors.
If our teachers, who I have great respect for, are doing such a good job in educating our students on healthy relationships, why are we having 13-year-old girls coming to the New Life Clinic for pregnancy tests?
Our kids are exposed to all kinds of wrong information at our schools concerning healthy relationships. This information comes from other students as well as teachers who are not equipped to deal with today’s family issues. Our schools and students need help today to combat the alarming rise in teen and pre-teen relationships that result in pregnancies, drop outs, abortions and suicide. In many of today’s families, both spouses work or the father is non-existent, not allowing the children to see how a healthy family works together. The New Life Clinic offers hope and a chance for these students to understand what a healthy relationship looks like.
In closing, the Wilmington Schools superintendent is wrong, but should embrace the opportunity to invite outside help that could in fact reduce this above-mentioned trend. I encourage you to reach out to the Wilmington School superintendent and school board members to reverse this decision.
Editor’s Note: Below is a rebuttal from the WCS superintendent. Mr. Hatten is aware that WCS would have a chance to respond. We thank both parties.
The Wilmington City School District Board of Education reviews its curricular offerings on an annual basis to ensure that appropriate educational opportunities are provided to all students.
While, on occasion, informational programming is provided by community leaders, business leaders or others, we ensure that curricular programming, including issues related to health and wellness, is delivered by appropriately trained, licensed professional staff members employed by the district. All of our licensed teachers in this curricular area are designated as “High Qualified” by the Ohio Department of Education.
To say that our faculty is not equipped to address family concerns or social issues in today’s world is simply not the case. Our teachers, school psychologists and guidance counselors have the skills to competently address these issues on a daily basis in the classroom and through individualized interventions with students and families.
Aside from their professional qualifications, these dedicated staff members carry out their duties in a caring and compassionate manner consistent with board policies and guidelines.