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New York Church Buildings Ban Sex Ed or HIV/AIDS Classes for Schools Renting Rooms

April 9, 2013

In New York, churches ban the teaching of any course on sex education or HIV/AIDS prevention in any church-owned building. However, New York state law mandates the teaching of sex education classes and, since 1987, the state decided that every student has to have classes on HIV/AIDS at least once a year. Also, in 2011, the state passed a law requiring students to have sex education classes in sixth or seventh grade and again in ninth or tenth grade.

To circumvent this conflict between church and state, many schools that rent space from a church-owned building make alternative arrangements for teaching the required courses. El Puente Academy in Brooklyn, which rents church facilities, has its students walk 15 minutes to the school's offices for their sex education class. Many students and parents have complained, but nothing has changed. The churches argue that it is in their rights to control what is taught under their roof. However, the church rule has not stopped schools from teaching students these required lessons; it simply adds a layer of inconvenience for the schools and students.

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Excerpted from:
04.08.2013; Julia Birnbaum

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