The syllabi for today’s sexual education courses, many critics would argue, look like they were ripped out of Playboy magazine. R-rated films, free condoms, and sexual demonstrations are all deemed appropriate lessons for schoolchildren by today’s classroom standards. Leaving whatever morals they are taught at home, young adults are told to embrace the notion that they are sexual beings by their educators. Now, parents are wondering if there’s any way to halt this dangerous agenda.
Medical professionals who are just as concerned as parents believe they may have the answer to sex ed’s dangerous “it’s up to you” mantra: abstinence education. Rooted in science, abstinence-only programs provide accurate information about sexual activity that is often too inconvenient to be included in comprehensive sex ed. Perhaps more importantly, abstinence-only courses teach the consequences of intercourse, emphasizing that refraining from sex is the only way to avoid dangerous physical and mental complications.
These courses, they hope, can empower parents in their battle to protect their children’s consciences against today’s classrooms of carnal sin.
Sex Ed as a Social Movement
In a phone interview with Townhall, Dr. Miriam Grossman, author of two books on the harms of sex ed, explained why she refers to comprehensive sexual education as an ideology.
“The problem is, in these so called comprehensive sex education curricula…these curricula are not medically accurate or up to date,” she said. “They’re based on an ideology of inclusiveness, non discrimination, and a view of how society needs to change. People need to be open and willing to experiment with their sexuality. They are based on the premise that we are sexual from cradle to grave. That children are sexual and that sexual behavior is healthy and a part of normal adolescence.”
Educators feed into this sexual philosophy by routinely providing students with information about intercourse, handing out condoms, and even, occasionally, taking them on field trips to adult novelty stores. A private school in Minnesota, for instance, thought it appropriate to take a busload of middle and high school-aged students to a place called Smitten Kitten. You can’t make this up.
“What I saw happening on our trip, I thought it was beautiful because kids could talk to these sex educators without any shame, without any fear,” said Starri Hedges, the director of the school’s sex education department, reports the Star Tribune. Pornography was “off limits” to the students, she added, but sex toys and other products were visible.
Hedges insisted the field trip offered students access to educators and products that could be used to practice safer sex. Some students even bought condoms.
While such trips are rare, the agenda is the same throughout the country. In New York City, the sexualized culture is especially potent. Just a glimpse at Grossman’s comprehensive NYC Sexual Education report is enough to send chills down many parents’ spines.
In her study, Grossman discovered that New York educators are teaching students that intercourse with a condom is just as safe as no intercourse at all.
The dangers of sexual education aren’t limited to what children are taught, but also in what information these programs decide to omit. New York educators, according to the report, are downplaying the risks of the Human Papillomavirus, and not properly educating students on the dangers of STDs like chlamydia. Sex ed teaches students that chlamydia is a dangerous consequence that can be treated, yet the educators barely acknowledge that the antibiotics are worthless if the damage is already done.
More proof this bias is being reported on a national scale is evident in a new report from the National Abstinence Education Association. In the survey, nearly 4 in 10 teens reported that sexual education programs, like those currently funded under the Obama administration’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, are “encouraging teens to have sex,” in many cases even more so than their dating partners.
So, who is behind these dangerous programs? For years, the major culprits have been Planned Parenthood (surprise!), Advocates for Youth, and the Sexual Information and Education Council of the United States.
The third, and what appears to be most recent, edition of the SIECUS guidelines for educators teaching kindergarten through 12th grade, indicates the following: “Sexuality is a natural and healthy part of life.” As for Planned Parenthood, it’s not unusual for a representative from the abortion giant to lead a sex ed class at your local school. In one high school in California, an educator reportedly handed students worksheets that read, “Sex Check! Are You Ready for Sex?” which asked the young teens very intimate anatomical questions. As you can guess, parents were not pleased.
It seems Planned Parenthood’s hyper sexualized agenda is even evident in middle schools, as they promote programs like Get Real.
“Many public schools have been on an agenda to give children sex education at odds with the values of their parents,” John-Henry Westen, editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews, an outlet that is “dedicated to issues of culture, life and family,” said in an email.
“In addition to the offense against parents’ rights this represents, it also proposes a danger to children who may experiment sexually with harmful behaviors. Sowing discord in families for the sake of your pet sexual agenda is shameful and harmful to society,” he added.
Waiting: A New Approach
Valerie Huber is the president of the National Abstinence Education Association, an organization founded in 2006. She shared her concerns that 95 percent of students are hearing lessons that “normalize sexual behavior.” Much of that has to do with the Obama administration’s decision to bankroll sex education.
As for the mainstream media, they don’t help, either. Sexual promiscuity is glorified on both the small and big screens.
“Young people get left behind in this debate,” she said.
Accepting the fact that they can’t bar sex ed from schools, some activists have embraced an alternative: abstinence education. Or, as Huber calls it, Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA.)
Some may think it’s naive to believe young adults will listen to calls for abstinence, especially in a culture that promotes sex, but the results speak for themselves.
Huber directed me to NAEA’s “Abstinence Works” report that focused on 25 independent studies throughout the country. Each offered unique proof for the effectiveness of abstinence-only programs.
Let’s put a spotlight on just a couple of the NAEA programs. In Arkansas, Sex Can Wait is a 5-week abstinence education curriculum consisting of 23 lessons at the upper elementary level and 24 lessons at the middle and high school level, according to the report. It includes three specific lessons: Knowing Myself (self-esteem, reproductive anatomy and physiology, values and decision making), Relating to Others (communication skills) and Planning My Future (goal setting and life planning).
The program results were described as “significant.” At the 18-month follow-up with the middle school, there were statistically significant differences between the treatment group and comparison group, resulting in fewer reports of participation in sexual intercourse ever, and in the last month. At the high school level, students in the Sex Can Wait group were also less likely to report participation in sexual intercourse ever, and in the last month.
Worth the Wait, a program in Texas, had similar success. Researchers noticed a considerable drop in teen pregnancy. The decline was “singularly dramatic” for the county with the longest period of intervention, with the pregnancy rate declining from 34.8 to 16.1. The rate for the whole area involved in the program saw a decline of almost one-third, from 35.1 to 23.8.
These NAEA projects prove that chastity can be a popular notion if taught in a way that boosts a student’s self-confidence and teaches them that waiting is the safest, and most rewarding, choice. Huber said her organization is currently working to earn more funding from the federal government.
Students shouldn’t have to hide their classroom materials in their backpacks. Parents should be encouraged to know an alternative to sex ed exists, is gaining ground, and is generating some positive results. Thanks to abstinence-only programs, classrooms can again be age-appropriate centers of learning.