High school paper’s oral sex article garners mixed reactions

INDIANA — The student newspaper at Columbus North High School is receiving both praise and criticism after it printed a spread on oral sex last week.

The feature, titled “That Other Sex,” discussed the medical and psychological risks of participating in oral sex and included national statistics about the number of teenagers engaging in the behavior, as well as articles about abstinence.

Kim Green, The Triangle‘s adviser, said community support for the paper has been overwhelmingly positive since the spread came out.

She said that since the initial shock of seeing the topic in the student newspaper has worn off, the articles have helped get community parents talking to their children about the issue.

But according to Indianapolis’ WISH-TV, a 24-hour news station, some Columbus residents are unhappy with the article.

“I’m concerned about the morals of the people who are allowing that to happen in my school system,” community member Paul Boaz told the station.

Boaz said he is circulating a petition calling for school administration to prohibit publication of similar articles in the future, WISH-TV reported.

Green said she knew that two teachers who disagreed with the article refused to distribute the paper, but that their decision only prompted students to come to the newspaper room to get a copy.

Principal David Clark said that if the article is helping students make responsible decisions, he is willing to take the heat from community critics.

“It’s a tough subject for parents to broach,” Clark said. “As a parent I was uncomfortable with it. But the students [journalists] were absolutely compelling in their argument that this affects the community.”

Clark said the article was not some “liberal thing” promoting oral sex.

“We’re pretty conservative here,” he said of Columbus, but we “can