Only In Boulder
I can't begin to list the number of times it has happened over the years. Mostly the Denver shock jocks. This time it started with the KOA Denver radio host, Dan Caplis, but then even Bill O'Reilly got into the picture.
Yes, Mr. O'Reilly is up in arms about Boulder -- specifically Boulder High and the local school board. It seems that the Conference on World Affairs held a panel at Boulder High and invited the students, which they do every year. In fact, they held four panels, three of which generated no controversy: "Latin America: Political Forecast," "Marijuana Policies," and "Borat - Humorous or Hurtful."
But the fourth panel was titled "STDs: Sex, Teens and Drugs," and included a frank discussion of safe sex and drug use. One student complained to his parents, who complained to the school board. The school board initially apologized, and then back pedaled, saying the only error was that some students were required to attend the panel.
Now most Boulder residents don't know who Dan Caplis is, since he doesn't host the World Music hour on KGNU (the local left-of-Ward-Churchill public radio station). And they have only a vague idea that O'Reilly is a slim version of Rush Limbaugh, or perhaps just some weird half man/half bear that Stephen Colbert idolizes.
But now these media celebrities, who don't live in Boulder and who don't have kids at Boulder High, are pronouncing that students were forced to go to a seminar where they were encouraged to have wanton unprotected sex and use illegal drugs. Not the only lie foisted on the listeners and viewers eager for the next outrage. For example, O'Reilly stated that the school has invited the same folks back next year. While Boulder High will continue to host CWA events in future years, the same panel and the same speakers are not on the schedule (which of course doesn't even exist yet).
And now the principal, the superintendent, and the school board president are cowards because they refuse to talk to the O'Reilly and Caplis media machines and their loony followers who are harassing them non-stop.
There was a letter in today's Camera that made me laugh. Jack Strichman, upset about the panel, questioned whether the school district would be the subject of lawsuits when an attendee of the panel died of AIDS or an overdose of drugs. Amusing, when the panelists were encouraging responsible behavior, while Mr. Strichman clearly believes that children should not be taught responsible behavior. If his child were to suffer such a fate, I might not hold him directly to blame, but I would say that he could have done a better job for preparing that child for the realities of life.
The critics of this panel are quick to say that our children should be protected from such talk. In fact, the students we are talking about are not children, they are high school students, almost adults. If you as a parent have not instilled your moral beliefs in your children by that age, I would say that you have failed. If you can't trust your child in a discussion of beliefs that are different than yours, then you have lost your child. High school students are exposed very day to ideas just as "radical", on TV, on the Internet, from their friends, at the mall, etc.
So, Bill O'Reilly and friends, please keep it up. We Boulderites are all into feeling good about ourselves, and disapproval from you only helps!