Keep the condoms away from this troop

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 8, 2004

Reverberations from a controversial sex education program in Texas have left the Tombigbee Council of Girl Scouts in Tuscaloosa scrambling to distance itself from the organization involved.

Tombigbee Council Public Relations Director Jean Caldwell said her organization began getting calls from concerned parents after a newspaper ran a story about the program.

“I’ve received so many phone calls today, thanks to that article in the paper,” Caldwell said. “I regret they did not contact me at the Tombigbee Girl Scout Council before choosing to run a news story from The Associated Press regarding the Council that serves Waco, Texas.”

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According to the story, parents in Waco began pulling their daughters out of the local Troop after finding out that Planned Parenthood was handing out literature dealing with homosexuality, condoms and masturbation as part of the sex education program it offered in conjunction with the Bluebonnet Council of Girl Scouts there.

More than 700 fifth through ninth graders attend the half-day conference entitled Nobody’s Fool held in Waco each July. The children received a hardbound book that had chapters dealing with masturbation and homosexuality.

The book also contained pictures of couples having sex, people examining their bodies while being naked and also a picture of a boy putting a condom on.

Some parents called the material nothing more than soft-core porn.

Following the uproar from parents, the Bluebonnet Council announced that it would no longer be associated with Planned Parenthood.

Caldwell said that while the Tombigbee Girls Scout Council does offer workshops addressing sexuality, entitled “Looking In, Reaching Out,” it is not associated with Planned Parenthood in any way.

“Our workshops are run by the University of Alabama’s Student Nursing Association,” she said.

Caldwell said the workshops discuss the topic from an informative rather than an advocacy point of view. She also said that before the girls can attend any of the workshops, they must have a parent-signed permission slip.

“Participation in these discussions is totally optional, and each girl who participates must provide written consent from her parent or guardian,” Caldwell said.