Concerns remain with VCSC’s sex-ed program

We are concerned parents and educators who have been closely following the debate about sexual education at Vigo County School Corp. We have written letters to the editor, emailed and called VCSC, and spoken up in School Board meetings in order to express our serious reservations with the current sex-ed program, Creating Positive Relationships (CPR). We are hopeful that there is now some momentum for change to a medically accurate, inclusive, and body-positive curriculum.

We read with interest Sue Loughlin’s front-page Tribune-Star stories, “Sex ed question before VCSC board again” (Jan. 28) and “VCSC to seek external review of sex ed curriculum” (Feb. 1). Although Ms. Loughlin provided needed context about the law in Indiana and sought a statement from the VCSC spokesman, Bill Riley, she did not mention the significant financial connections between CPR, the Wabash Valley Crisis Pregnancy Center, and Maryland Community Church. MCC’s Missions page clearly reveals the relationship: “CPC offers medical services for men and women in Terre Haute and now in the surrounding area through a mobile unit that visits outlying areas. Through the visits they develop relationships with the ultimate goal of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ” (www.mccth.org/missions).

The religious organization CPC, which runs the CPR sex-ed program at VCSC, receives public funding, including a $76,700 grant last year for their Healthy Start initiative. The connection between CPC and CPR is well known to anyone closely following this issue nationally, and Eliza Griswold documented the financial and ideological relationship in a New Yorker article about the WVCPC in November 2019: (www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/11/18/the-new-front-line-of-the-anti-abortion-movement).

These financial ties and MCC/CPC’s stated “goal of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ” clearly raise questions about their provision of sex education and the unconstitutional intrusion of religious organizations into our public schools. As parents of VCSC students who want qualified, unbiased instructors to teach this important subject, we feel strongly that the Tribune-Star should be researching and informing the community about these financial ties and the CPR/CPC’s religious affiliation. At the very least, in the interest of full disclosure and fair reporting, the money trail should be mentioned in all news stories about CPR and sex ed.

There are clearly better sex-ed programs available that meet state requirements. As Ms. Loughlin reported on Feb. 1, only 21 out of 290 Indiana school districts rely on CPR. Yet, VCSC’s presentation during the Jan. 30 committee meeting and Superintendent Haworth’s recent “News and Notes” suggest that VCSC intends to tweak CPR rather than replace it. 

While the proposed improvements (such as elimination of the Oreo-spitting activity) are long overdue, the larger issue with CPR/CPC remains. We object to members of a religious organization being invited into our public schools to impart their arbitrary view of sexuality to a captive student audience.

— Veanne N. Anderson, Stephanie Downing, Rebecca Dyer, Namita Goswami, James Gustafson, Mark Minster, Francois Mulot, Carly Schmitt, Antonia Taylor, and Corey Taylor

Terre Haute and Vigo County

We need someone we can trust again

During one of the last days of 2019 I read that Trump had lied or made misleading statements 15,413 times in his 1,055 days in office. That sounded exaggerated, so I Googled it. I read about 20 different sites, but they all agreed. 

That was stunning. I have been following news and politics and reading a daily newspaper since I was a boy. My mind went back to the day that Eisenhower told a lie to the whole world. A lie, one lie. It was when the Cold War was very competitive and tense between our country and Russia. We had been making secret flights over Russia, taking amazing photographs, with a U-2 spy plane that could fly higher than any of their fighter jets or guided missiles could reach. Or so we thought, until a Russian missile shot the U-2 down. 

Russia told the world that they had caught the U.S. at an illegal spy game, according to existing treaties. Eisenhower knew the plane and pilot were missing and assumed both had been totally destroyed, so he said that it was just a weather forecasting flight that had strayed off course and the pilot had radioed that he was experiencing “oxygen problems” shortly before they lost contact with him. 

Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev had purposely neglected to mention that the pilot and parts of the plane had survived the hit and so had the photographs. So now Khrushchev seized the “high ground” and told the world how the U.S. had violated the treaty and no-fly zone and he sanctimoniously backed out of an upcoming summit meeting. Russia put the pilot, Gary Powers, on trial and sentenced him to prison as a foreign spy. 

Eisenhower had no options now. He admitted his lie, and went into damage control. The U.S. finally negotiated a spy trade with Russia, but the Cold War had been escalated, the damage was done, and the U.S. lost face in the eyes of the world.

I rode to town with my dad from our farm shortly after this incident and he stopped by his farmer friend, Carl, to discuss it. Dad and Carl had voted for Eisenhower, but now were deeply troubled about the lie. I was very interested in what they had to say, but said nothing because I was a kid. They both were so disappointed that a President of the United States had lied. Now how could he ever be trusted again? He would be like the shepherd boy who cried “Wolf.” The United States had given away the high ground and we were embarrassed before the whole world.

That attitude and set of values is what we need to get back to. And the Free World nations need us to get back there too. Wouldn’t it be nice to win an election without having to cheat? Wouldn’t it be nice to see Congress actually work for the good of the American people as a whole? Wouldn’t it be nice to actually believe your President was on our side and not Putin’s? Wouldn’t it be nice to be united rather than divided? 

When Eisenhower was President he was able to stop the Korean War, build the interstate highway system, partner with Canada to build the St. Lawrence Seaway project, make progress at paying down the national debt, sign the Civil Rights Act of 1957, establish NASA and start our space program, strengthen and expand Social Security, strongly advocate for NATO and the UN, promote science education through the National Defense Education Act, found time to hold almost 200 real, sensible, believable, civilized press conferences, and got re-elected in a landslide (without the Electoral College, gerrymandering, voter suppression, false promises, smearing his opponent, or welcoming help from Russia). 

Let’s be that way again. America is just too good to let it slip away like the Roman Empire.

— Roger Tonsfeldt, Terre Haute

Ignore silliness about a civil war

On Jan. 23 letter writer Jeffrey Aitken saw fit to write a letter threatening civil war after the November 2020 election, regardless of the outcome, and then proceeded to blame it on liberals, which are notorious peace activists in the tradition of Martin Luther King. 

Mr. Aitken, the only one that you are scaring is you. President Donald Trump, the most divisive president in our nation’s history, was recently at an economic conference overseas pledging to cut Medicare and Social Security in America. In addition, he still wants to argue the point of climate change with 17-year- old Greta Thunberg, a Nobel Prize winner for her activism supporting Climate Change.

Please take this pledge, if you do not want to take part in Jeffrey’s civil war.

Life is precious and fragile and our time here is fleeting. I will not waste a second of my time arguing with someone whose primary source of news information is from one source. Instead, I will ignore the radical position at each end of the bell curve that defines the news sources, some of which are owned and operated by billionaires.

We have a billionaire as president in criminal Republican Donald Trump. Trump is too cheap to use his own money, so he used laundered Russian money in 2016 to get elected. His campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is in federal prison for that. We shall see if Trump finds another sucker to do the same thing this time. Two self-funded billionaires are running in the Democratic primary for president, Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer. 

In closing, good luck running your billionaire civil war, Jeffrey. The billionaires are apparently more scared of the electorate than you are.

Did you enjoy all the teachers dressed in red and white protesting the criminal Republican treatment of public education in Indiana? I did.

— John Garner, Terre Haute

Questions about the impeachment

Here’s what I do not understand. If Hunter Biden served on the board of the Ukraine gas company Burisma, and his father was vice president of the U.S., how come we should not investigate them if Biden is running for president. When Trump was running for president he got investigated, even with phone tapping.

I have never seen a country work so hard to get rid of a president but not illegal immigrants, drug dealers or child traffickers.

— Barbara Stoffer, Terre Haute

III

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