National PTA delegates began returning to their homes Wednesday armed with new resolve to address issues that affect the well-being of children.The delegates, meeting in Salt Lake City for their 92nd annual convention, passed nine resolutions after debating their pros and cons.
The huge child advocacy organization resolved to increase its emphasis on AIDS education, emphasizing the avoidance of sexual relations among adolescents until they are ready to establish mutually monogamous relationships within the context of marriage. The injection of illicit drugs also will be condemned as part of the defense against AIDS. The risks in alternative choices should be made clear.
The national PTA will support research and disseminate information and share effective programs and curricula focusing on sexual restraint and responsibility.
Child support is a PTA concern. The growing problem of single parents and the proverty many of them face is creating social problems and interfering with the education of many children, the resolution says.
States will be urged to support legislation for more adequate, equitable and consistent child support, along with stiffer enforcement. The national association also supports legislation that would require the parent who financially abandons his or her family to be equally responsible for any essential debt incurred prior to the granting of child support.
The organization also toughened its position on smokeless tobacco, calling for Congress to enact legislation mandating highly visible warnings on the dangers of the products in billboards advertising.
Other resolutions call for a focus on and identification of gifted and talented students; reaffirmation of the PTA dedication to lowering America's infant mortality rate; encouragement of state units to seek legislation making dangerous hazing practices illegal and to support education against the practice; promotion of greater awareness of Tourette syndrome, a debilitating genetic defect that affects a child's ability to learn; and a call to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to devise safer rules for the disposal of butane lighters and to ban novelty toys that resemble cigarette lighters.