As an Indiana licensed social worker, I was delighted when the referendum to provide more therapists and other behavioral health services to the students in Carmel Clay Schools was passed. However, I was very disappointed to read in Current in Carmel that the school board did not listen to the wise words of recent graduate Chris Nardi who tried to point out the difficulty of having awarded a contract to provide those services to an institution which clearly cannot provide many of the services which are most needed by many of our students.
Ascension St. Vincent is a competent provider, and I am sure they would not discriminate against any of our students. However, what the board apparently does not understand is that many problems facing young teens today are associated with the student’s own feelings and views about sexuality. And because of the very strong positions the Catholic Church holds about human sexuality, no young person who has questions or feelings about his or her sexuality will go to a therapist who cannot discuss sexuality outside of marriage.
What young man or woman who is considering becoming sexually active will go to the school therapist knowing they cannot refer them or offer counsel to them regarding birth control or how to discuss the issue with a parent? A large percentage of issues that teens need to discuss with a therapist are sexual in nature. Young teens will know the counselors that we are paying for cannot help them, not because of discrimination, but because of the positions on sexual ethics which are unique to that church.
The statement of the assistant superintendent is totally irrelevant. I do not believe Ascension St. Vincent will discriminate. But I know that they are unable to give total information regarding sexual behavior because of the position of their church. The Catholic Church is entitled to their own standards of conscience. However, those standards prevent them from being able to provide all appropriate and legal information and referrals for some problems.
Rikki K. Goldstein, Carmel