To protest their school's abstinence curriculum, two students wear condom-decorated t-shirts.
Cheyenne Byrd, 14, and Victoria Shoemaker, 15, were suspended from their Illinois school after wearing protest shirts adorned with prophylactics. The girls disagreed with Wood River Middle School's sex education program and let everyone know by writing "Safe Sex or No Sex"
on their shirts. Mom•Logic spoke exclusively to both Cheyenne's mother, Cari, and Victoria's mom, Elizabeth, to find out how they felt about their daughters' suspension.
ML: What was your reaction when the school called you?
|Elizabeth:I was really upset with the school. They questioned Victoria and she kept saying, "Call my mom, call my mom." When they finally got done, they told me to meet her in front of the school. I did not feel it was right. I should have had the right to talk about the suspension with the school.
Cari: I got a call from the school on Monday morning saying they were sending Cheyenne
ML: Do you think sex education should be taught in the middle school?
Elizabeth: I don't agree with the abstinence-only class. They should be taught sex education.
Cari: I agree with the abstinence program. To me it makes sense, but you also have to be open with kids because they are going to do what they want to do, and you can't watch them 24/7.
ML: Does it scare you that your daughters aren't getting sex education in school?
Elizabeth: It scares me a lot. I hope they have the sense to come to me. I am not one of those parents saying, "Oh my kid would never do that." In the real world, a lot of kids do it.
Cari: They have to be taught. There are too many kids who had no clue. Parents around here treat sex like a taboo subject. We are a working class neighborhood and many of us hang on to the old ideas and turn a blind eye.
ML: Did you agree with what they did?
Elizabeth:When it first happened, I didn't know if I should have applauded her or grounded her. I think she was right, but she should have handled it differently.
Cari: I was very proud of her. I was painfully shy when I was young, and I never stood up or spoke up about what I believed in. I support her and I hope it will lead to other changes in the school.