by Max Brantley
The Iconoclast votes for abstinence -- as in abstaining from sending any more taxpayer money to abstinence-only sex education programs. They are but religious missions whose proven impact is negative. But Rep. John Boozman and Sen. Blanche Lincoln have voted for them repeatedly, including sending a half-million taxpayer-provided smackers to the godly purveyor of such programs in Arkansas, an outfit called Reality Check, based in Lowell.
The "hook" for The Iconoclast's further education on abstinence education?
Here's one reason that Reality Check's services might not work. Tobias Patrick Lyons, a former employee of a Fort Smith private nonprofit that operated a program called Reality Check in Fort Smith schools [but which is unrelated to the Reality Check in Lowell], was arrested Friday for sexual indecency with a child after he admitted texting a 14-year-old girl to ask for sex and asking another minor female to send him nude photographs of herself, which she sent to his cell phone. He is facing up to six years in prison for a Class D felony.
Just two years ago, our local Congressman John Boozman (R-Dark Ages) said, “I am a strong supporter of abstinence education, and I am glad to see Reality Check [of Lowell] taking a leadership role in providing this type of learning to our youth, This money represents an investment in the future of our children and in the ‘positive life choices’ that are part of Reality Check’s mission.”
Senator Lincoln and Congressman Boozman should think on these things whenever they go spouting off about how lucky we are that they funneled $532,509 of our tax dollars on a grant to Reality Check of Lowell for such programs that not only don't work but make matters worse.
News today suggests the suspect was cruising an abstinence-only after-school program for pickups.
CLARIFICATION: Reality Check of Lowell, the recipient of the federal money, says it has no connection -- financial or through any organization -- with the Reality Check program of Fort Smith that employed the man charged with sexual indecency. I have edited The Iconoclast's post to indicate that they are programs with similar missions, but unconnected. The research remains overwhelming that such programs aren't as effective as comprehensive sexual education. Reality Check of Lowell issued a news release:
This alert is in regards to the recent news reports and arrest of Tobias Lyons, former employee of Tree of Life Preventative Health Maintenance, Inc. Mr. Lyons was arrested on suspicion of ‘sexual indecency with a child’ charges, by the Fort Smith police on Friday, Oct. 2, 2009. Mr. Lyons was employed as a counselor for Tree of Life Preventative Health Maintenance, Inc.’s school programs in the River Valley.
Mr. Lyons has NEVER been connected to, nor worked for, the program, Reality Check, Inc. based out of Lowell, AR. There is no program connection or affiliation between Reality Check, Inc. and the program “Reality Check” supplied by Fort Smith and the river valley.
Reality Check, Inc. works very hard to build and maintain a trust with the schools, parents, and students that they partner with. Reality Check, Inc. requires stringent background checks and training for all of their instructors. They create safety precautions to ensure a responsible and secure environment for those involved in their program.
Reality Check, Inc. is a non-profit organization in Northwest Arkansas that serves Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Reality Check, Inc. teaches character skills that help guide individuals in making positive life choices. This year alone, Reality Check, Inc. has reached approximately 13,400+ students and adults. Reality Check, Inc. has a strong belief that youth armed with knowledge and skills can make positive choices for their future.