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Archive for Friday, February 3, 2006

Proposal would require age-appropriate sex ed, emphasize abstinence

February 3, 2006

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— Free State High School students Laura Kelly and Ashleigh Coleman visited the Capitol on Thursday to support legislation that would emphasize the benefits of abstinence and provide information about preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

"We feel it is important for students to have factual information about sex," said Kelly, a senior. "We want a program based on scientific facts."

Coleman agreed. "Many people don't seek out the truth," she said. "People need to have medically accurate information."

The two students were part of a coalition made up of education, health, religious and civic groups supporting the Abstinence Plus Education Act that was filed in the Legislature.

The bill would require schools to provide age-appropriate human sexuality programs taught by trained instructors.

The program would emphasize sexual abstinence but also inform students about sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS.

To reduce teenage pregnancy and the spread of STDs "we must make sex education a long-term part of our goal," said Angie Blair, a Lawrence school nurse.

"Kids want to know and need to know how to protect themselves," she said.

The coalition also said the state needed the opt-out policy, which gives parents the option of removing their children from sex education classes.

Some members of the Kansas State Board of Education have supported what is called an opt-in policy, which would require a permission slip from parents for the student to take sex education.

But experts on sex education say opt-in would result in fewer students getting information they need simply because their parents were too busy to sign a permission slip.

The hang-up over opt-out versus opt-in has bottled up sex education standards at the state education board for several months.

This new bill, supporters said, would reinstate guidelines on comprehensive sex education on a statewide level.

Sen. Kay O'Connor, R-Olathe, however, said she would prefer the opt-in method. "I think parents need to be a little more involved," she said.

She said the proposed bill "would be a powerless piece of legislation" if the education board ever adopts the sex education standards before it.

But coalition members, which include the Douglas County AIDS Project and Kansas University Students for Reproductive Choice, said the legislation was needed to ensure that students get accurate information about sex.

"Sex education is not something to be ashamed of," said Laura Adams, a parent form Fairway. "It shows our children that we value their health, their safety and their future."

Comments

Ragingbear 8 years, 10 months ago

Abstinence, while the best thing, does not work. The lack of teaching of other issues in sex ed actually causes activity to work. Basically boiling down to "Here's how it's done, now don't do it".

Idiots in the white house, spying on my phone, to find out my views on something trivial... Par for the course.

mefirst 8 years, 10 months ago

Again, more policy dictated by religious fanaticism. Anyone with a brain would argue that abstinence is the best choice, but anyone with a brain also understands that withholding information is wrong and dangerous. There have been so many advances in prevention of STDs and with birth control, to not share that info with kids (at an appropriate age...8th grade and up) is irresponsible and shameful.

bettie 8 years, 10 months ago

actually, the bill DOES NOT require or encourage any withholding of information. its language is taken directly from the state board of education guidelines that have been in place since 1987. they expired last year and the boe has done nothing to replace them. (i don't know that i would want this particular boe replacing them, anyway.)

since 1987, schools have been able to decide what works for them, be that a comprehensive sex ed program or something else. (remember, a comprehensive sex ed program starts with talking about the benefits of abstinence, but then goes on to talk about everything else - hence the name "abstinence plus").

what this bill does is require that each school has a human sexuality education program that is MEDICALLY-ACCURATE and age-appropriate. it must emphasize the benefits of abstinence and include information about stds and hiv. within those parameters, it's up to the schools what they teach. so this is really a bill that preserves local control over sexuality education curricula.

just wanted to clear the air on this. i know how scary the a-word is, but this isn't an "abstinence-only" bill. please note that the organizations mentioned above that support it.

juliopac 8 years, 10 months ago

Doesn't mention anything about birth control though does it?

bettie 8 years, 10 months ago

remember for a moment that this is the same legislature that passed by a 2/3 majority a ban on gay marriage. do you think they would pass anything that required teaching of kids about birth control?

of course that would be ideal, but our legislature is far from ideal.

bettie 8 years, 10 months ago

maybe what i should have said was:

you take what you can get.

bettie 8 years, 10 months ago

whoa. someone please tell me that parkay is being sarcastic. please.

bettie 8 years, 10 months ago

if anyone's interested in reading the actual text of the bill, here's a link (sorry, i don't know how to post it right, so you'll have to copy and paste.)

http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2006/508.pdf

you'll see that it neither encourages nor discourages the teaching of birth control methods. this establishes neither "condom classes" nor "abstinence-only" classes. it merely requires that there is a sexuality education class of some sort. curricula is determined by the local school boards.

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