California: Parents Criticize School District's Sex Education
June 1, 2011
Some Clovis parents claim Teen Choices, a sex education course, unlawfully focuses on abstinence to the detriment of presenting sound medical data. They are asking the Clovis Unified School District to discontinue its use.
The course for seventh-grade students was created by former Fowler City Council member Mac Shaw, who is also a former Fowler Presbyterian Church minister. According to an official, the state Department of Education will likely evaluate the course. Clovis Unified leaders indicate they, too, will assess the course this summer.
"Kids are going to get misinformation and make poor choices because of that information," said Aubree Smith, a labor and delivery nurse at Clovis Community Medical Center, and the mother of a Clovis High School sophomore who has not taken the course. Other complaints allege the course teaches that French kissing could spread HIV/AIDS, and that sharing earrings could spread other STDs.
According to Sharla Smith, California's HIV/STD prevention education consultant, the course is probably the same one that was used in the Selma and Dinuba school districts; both discontinued it after state audits in 2008 and 2010, respectively. Smith maintains those districts' courses fell short of state education regulations and contained some "fabricated information ... based on scare tactics."
Planned Parenthood health educator and parent Mica Ghimenti added that Teen Choices cites obsolete data on the failure rates of condoms.
Shaw, who initially drafted the course in the early 1990s, maintains it has been revised as recently as 2010 and is used in numerous schools. "Saying 'wait until you're in a committed relationship, such as marriage,' seems to make sense to us," said Shaw.
Smith noted that "'abstinence-only until marriage' education is simply not permitted in California public schools," and, that if a review discovers violations, the district would have 45 days to become compliant or face fines.
05.12.2011; Barbara Anderson
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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