David Catania's Record on Youth Welfare

David Catania is touting himself as Mayoral candidate who will improve the District of Columbia Education system. Let's examine Catania's record on youth welfare issues.

In 2007 Catania co-sponsored the HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS VACCINATION AND REPORTING ACT OF 2007, which requires a three shot regimen of Gardasil to supposedly protect against future cervical cancer for sixth grade girls.  Keep in mind that Human Papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted disease.  The only way to get it is to have sex with an infected person.  Parents may opt out of this requirement for any reason, and some 90 percent do (either opt out or simply fail to comply), fortunately.  This vaccine has been associated with over 50 deaths and one thousand serious adverse reactions.  Only the District of Columbia and Virginia require this vaccine.  See here for more information.  The pushing of this bill by Catania gives us an idea of how Mr. Catania handles school issues, parents concerns, if they are addressed at all, are secondary.  The District of Columbia Government will decide what is best for your children.  Also in 2007, Catania voted for switching control of DC Public Schools from an elected School Board to Mayoral control.

In 2009 Catania commissioned the Youth Sexual Health Report.  At that time I wrote: 

A proposed sexual health education curriculum for 7th to 12th grade instructs youth to view art that includes homo-erotic art by Jessica Walker (Caution:(includes macabre and pornographic images) .   It is interesting to note that parents were not included as one of the three groups that were interviewed to determine attitudes toward sexuality. Instead, youth, school nurses and health providers were interviewed.

It is time for David Catania to step aside, especially in light of the failure of leadership on HIV prevention.  The Youth Sexual Health Project report, which appears to be the impetus for the addition of the new condom brands, makes it clear that Mr. Catania’s focus is on encouraging acceptance of various sexual expressions and lifestyles, not on promoting what is in the best interest of the youth of the District of Columbia, which is risk avoidance by sexual abstinence outside of marriage. 

In my experience, parents overwhelmingly support the promotion of sexual abstinence as the best choice for their children.  The Youth Sexual Health Project report and the resulting recommendation to give out even more types of condoms show how out of touch Mr. Catania is with the majority of DC parents and voters.  Read more here

In 2011, in the aftermath of the tragedy of the murder of four DC youths on South Capitol Street, Catania introduced the South Capitol Street Tragedy Memorial Act of 2011.  This bill requires teachers to evaluate early head start preschoolers up to 12th grade students for mental health issues.  It is interesting to note that the report of such issues should include statistics on sexual orientation and gender identity.  The bill does not state at what age the reporting on sexual orientation and gender identity should begin.  As I write here the District should focus on incentives or programs that increase the number of children growing up with both parents, not on burdening teachers to become mental health evaluators.  This approach is again indicative of Catania's approach of government intervention versus supporting the role of parents as the primary educators and caretakers. 

In summary, what Mr. Catania fails to realize is that, regardless of social or economic status, youth in intact, two parent families do much better and are much less likely to become delinquent.  In fact, even in high-crime inner-city neighborhoods, well over 90 percent of children from safe, stable, two-parent homes do not become delinquents.  He is unable to realize the core importance of family structure and stability on improving education outcomes for DC youth.  Mr. Catania's focus on more government programs and interventions is the wrong approach.