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Good Idea, Bad Idea - Jason Lindquist
Idle ramblings of an idle mind
Good Idea, Bad Idea
Good Idea: High school newspaper prints an article about students' sex lives. It discusses acts they've engaged in, and the circumstances. It also discusses this in relation to the sex ed curriculum used in their school district. At least four students are quoted.

Bad Idea: Four students were named in the article, with their quotes, at Emerald Ridge HS in Puyallup, WA.

The paper is called the "JagWire", which seems appropriate. Only a real jag would print names in an environment where it will draw massive negative attention. The paper's editors and advisor say they got the students' permission to use their names. Kathleen Merryman of the Tacoma News Tribune supports the printing of names: "Anonymity is the enemy of action. It dilutes the message. It signals that someone is ashamed or fearful."

Those kids shouldn't feel ashamed. What they did and why they did it, in the absence of coercion, is their own business. But guess what, they had reason to be fearful. One of the issues that this newspaper issue could have addressed is the adolescent social double standard about sex, and its effects are front and center. The girls were widely and loudly denegrated as sluts and whores. You can't operate in that environment. I'm amazed that not only could a professional journalist, but a group of current high school students, could be so short-sighted as to miss that.


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