Rhode Island: Groups Urge Educators to Reject Sex-Ed Program
May 11, 2007
The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, three medical associations, and 10 advocacy groups on Monday called on educators to reject a federally funded abstinence-only sex education program approved by the state Department of Education. The Heritage of Rhode Island (HRI)-run program promotes "dangerous medical inaccuracies about pregnancy prevention and [STDs]" and "sends an inappropriate message to students from non-traditional households," said a two-page letter signed by the organizations.
While the groups say they do not oppose teaching students about abstinence, they maintain that teens also need information about STDs, HIV, and unintended pregnancy. HRI's program, the letter states, teaches about contraceptive methods only "to emphasize failure rates."
The letter notes that state education department standards mandate that students show understanding of "responsible behaviors such as contraceptive [and] condom use" and know that homosexuals "can establish fulfilling committed relationships."
"Allowing [HRI's] five-hour program into your school will inevitably crowd out the time available for appropriate comprehensive sex education that should be taught by a certified teacher," the organizations said.
HRI Executive Director Christopher C. Plante said the letter seeks to "confuse the issues." The program emphasizes abstinence "so our teens can hear the most important message clearly," he said. "Our teens need all the information. [HRI] has never asked the Rhode Island Department of Education to only teach abstinence."
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.