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Do you think abstinence education should be taught in public schools?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on June 25, 2008

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Photo of Sarah Roenfeldt

“No, I don’t. I think kids are naturally going to be more likely to try anything that adults shy away from talking to them about. They need to learn as much as possible so that they understand the risks and consequences.”

Photo of Tom Girard

“I would say yes, but I think they should touch on both sides of the issue. If it doesn’t work for them, they need to know about the alternatives.”

Photo of Mary Moss

“I think abstinence can be a good thing, and it’s definitely a conversation that needs to be going on in schools. I think it should be an element of the sexual education program, but I don’t support any religious agenda being involved.”

Photo of Jasper Krueger

“No, I don’t think so. It’s just not an honest or reasonable expectation.”

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Comments

OnlyTheOne 5 years, 9 months ago

Ha ha ha hardy har har.At what class level? Anytime after Kindergarden now and it'd be too late!

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

Parents preach abstinence from day one and it's at the top of a Planned Parenthood list of other means in which to prevent pregnancy.Explicit and comprehensive sex education is valuable and would be a display of not living in a pretend world.

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Bone777 5 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, along with free salt-peter and chastity belt check-out.

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Pywacket 5 years, 9 months ago

Herbed chevre. Feta. Queso fresco.mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...................

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 5 years, 9 months ago

What is your favorite kind of cheese?Cheesecake.It won an award you know...Best Cheese.Ever.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 9 months ago

Speaking of cheese, Chucky Cheese is interested in the train depot that Amtrak stops at Downtown. Please lobby to get the organ moved from the Masonic Temple while we are on the topic of sex education and abstinence. There is nothing worse than an absent organ.

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jonas 5 years, 9 months ago

This is a rather overly simplified question. Abstinence education should be taught in schools. Abstinence-Only education should not be taught in schools.

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hockmano 5 years, 9 months ago

In this day and age, and with all the sexually explicit material on television and the internet, abstinence should be discussed in school, as well as disease prevention, sexual harassment, and how to protect yourself from all the sexual deviates of the world. All parents should educate their children and if the schools want to jump on the bandwagon so be it.Teach them prevention at home first!

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kusp8 5 years, 9 months ago

Teaching abstinence ONLY is a horrible idea. However, teaching abstinece as A PART of general sex education is a good idea. When I went to high school they showed a slide show of STDs and what each one of them look like. Unfortunately, wink, I was at a tennis tournament and I didn't want to waste the wonderful teacher's time by reshowing it just for me.

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ksuone1 5 years, 9 months ago

A man's morality will dictated his theology and or philosophy ......the truth should be taught and the principles taught by abstinence could work for those that are indeed aware of the moral laws in force. These have deterred unwanted pregnancy and allot of the STD's that are out there which are more of a possibility and more damaging then the plain how to sex ed. Condoms fail at an alarming rate.. So really if it is my kid they will indeed know the facts not the "cool" excuses of self gratifying self serving wham blabbers who make fun of anything that stand against plain common sense ......Just say no .....because there are cost involved that may last for a lifetime.....or longer.....believe it or not ....you will still be held accountable.....someday....absolutely .....there are absolutes.....like it or not....

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prospector 5 years, 9 months ago

Absinthe only? My lust for Free State Beer would persevere over all attempts though the "ferocious beast of man" sounds spiffy. An Absinthe only policy would fail for me. Maytag, the crack of blue cheese.Could the moon be made of green cheese?

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 9 months ago

Cheese loves us and wants us to be happy.

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Satirical 5 years, 9 months ago

I think we are seriously underestimating the cognitive ability of many teenagers. While they do not have the reasoning skills of an adult they are capable of making choices, such as to have sex or not have sex. After all if they couldn't make a choice, then they couldn't choose whether to have safe sex. I think abstinence should be strongly encouraged and routinely suggested in any Health class; we shouldn't treat them as a pile of raging hormones that have no control over their own actions. However, I also think it is prudent to discuss brith control and safe sex because realistically some kids will choose to have sex and they should have the information they need.

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sunflower_sue 5 years, 9 months ago

An unforgettable quote from a good friend of mine delivered completely deadpan:"I've resigned myself to being a young grandmother...I just hope one of your children isn't involved."

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Pywacket 5 years, 9 months ago

They should teach abstinence, along with birth control and disease avoidance. And cite statistics: for instance, there's a strong correlation between total number of partners over time and the likelihood of developing cervical cancer. Show them graphic slides of HPV or active herpes lesions. Suggest practical ways to put the brakes on raging hormones--that there are ways to defuse sexually loaded situations. Teach them that self pleasuring is normal, healthy, and practical.Obviously, it would be insanely naive to think that even the most comprehensive information could triumph 100% over a basic biological drive. But if practical sex ed could result in Runaround Sue having 2 partners instead of 6 or make Smiling Bob Jr. realize that "nailing" as many girls as possible is more likely to get him herpes than kudos, some good will have been done.Giving them facts will encourage them to think twice about casual sex, while forbidding it or telling them that sex outside of marriage is sinful or dirty will trigger resentment. (I'm talking about school-based instruction. Parents should instill such values as they see fit, in the context of family and cultural background--although, if they're smart, they will realize that too much moralizing & guilt-mongering may backfire.)I somehow made it through high school w/o giving in (despite the pleading and suffering of a long-time boyfriend), and I was about the only kid in my circle of acquaintances who could say that. Wish I knew exactly what worked for me.. Part of it was pride--I always liked being different. I never took up smoking, either (of any smoking materials).Wish I could also say that I didn't drink, drive like a maniac with friends while waving new bras or panties out the windows as we blew the doors off boys' cars, sneak onto the golf course at night and move flags around, sneak into the public beach for midnight skinny dipping, drop acid a few times, do donuts in frozen fields, etc., etc.....No, wait--I don't regret one moment of any of that (since no one got hurt or dead)! But I am glad I waited for sex--mostly because my memories of my "first" are of someone I had more mature, genuine feelings for and to this day I'll never regret being with him. A lot of my friends still squirm at the thought of their first and how they could ever have found him attractive. I break into a cold sweat when I think I could've so easily had that first boyfriend to look back on--since he turned out to be a jerk. As for my own kids, that's the main reason I cited for abstinence--that you don't want to create embarrassing, gaggalicious memories you'll have to live with for the rest of your life. The memory of your first time should be something to cherish forever.

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coolmom 5 years, 9 months ago

i think parents should teacher their own children however knowing that that doesnt always happen i think that absinence should be a part of the education and information kids recieve about sex and sex related topics.

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starbucks 5 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, Confrontation...that should work, because that is exactly how kids think. Parents that rely on the "these consequences suck so don't do this" model are among the worst and least successful in raising kids.

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Confrontation 5 years, 9 months ago

Just google some images of "perianal warts," show them to your kids, and explain that condoms don't guarantee protection against herpes, HPV, pregnancy, etc. That'll make them reconsider their actions faster than any abstinence-only/mental health repercussion psychobabble.

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stuckinthemiddle 5 years, 9 months ago

"math, reading, writing, science, history, social studies, geography and the basics to get into college"the local public schools do an excellent job of teaching all of these subjects and have an excellent record of preparing students for college...of course... the students have to want to learn these subjects and prepare themselves for college... and... if they don't, it's not the teacher's job to motivate them... the motivation falls on the individual student... and of course, the parents... if it is important to them...as for teaching abstinence: kids can be taught about- abstinence: but in the end they will weigh the pros and cons: and do what they will do:

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dajudge 5 years, 9 months ago

Liederkrantz cheese used to be really good.Now it is extinct, since about 1985.Abstinence works. But it is extinct also.Except for us old marrieds.

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starbucks 5 years, 9 months ago

they need to follow up the chia pet hair-growing with a video on the importance and proper technique of shaving.....

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sunflower_sue 5 years, 9 months ago

I want them to stop showing "that film" to young children in which the pubescent person sprouts hair like a chia pet. It left my little one permanently scarred. It's just mean-spirited and onery to scare children like that!Don't ask me about my cheese preferences. That's none of your business!

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Ceallach 5 years, 9 months ago

I can see how it would be beneficial for a nudist to be the master of his/her own domain.

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invictus 5 years, 9 months ago

Give poeple vochers so they can spend their tax money on any school they want including religious, utill this happes public schools will have to deal with poor but religious parents not wanting what they consider moral decisions taught by moraly currupt people. Once they are out of the schools teach the rest what ever left wing degenerate things you want. An the rest can learn crazy old fashion things like what's right and wrong, repecting parents/teachers, god, intelligent design, and morality. Then we will all be free form these carzy religous wackos.

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cool 5 years, 9 months ago

ditto25 June 2008 at 9:58 a.m.Suggest removalPermalinkyourworstnightmare (Anonymous) says:Of course abstinence should be taught as the best way to prevent STDs and pregnancy. However, without rigorous sex education along side, abstinence education only does more harm than good.Both abstinence and sex education should be taught.

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nudist 5 years, 9 months ago

We're all masters of our domain aren't we?

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75x55 5 years, 9 months ago

Only a couple points to make in regards to this ad-exposure count enhancing question -1. "As far as teaching abstinence, that is a value system issue." Is disease- and pregnancy-avoidance a valuable thing to teach to everyone? You may reading too much into the question, Vicky.2. Sarge - it will be an abortion/Phill Kline question, as online ad counts need their month-end bounce.

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yourworstnightmare 5 years, 9 months ago

Of course abstinence should be taught as the best way to prevent STDs and pregnancy. However, without rigorous sex education along side, abstinence education only does more harm than good.Both abstinence and sex education should be taught.

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logicsound04 5 years, 9 months ago

While the question doesn't specify "abstinence-only", the implication is fairly clear.After all, general "abstinence education" is automatically part of a reasonable sex education class. When I took sex ed, we talked about abstinence as the only 100% way of preventing pregnancy and STDs. There would be no point in teaching sex ed if the only doubtless way to prevent unwanted consequences was omitted from the curriculum.The LJWorld should be more specific in their question.

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canyon_wren 5 years, 9 months ago

BTW--those were really good points you made, agnostick! Lots of thoughtful comments this morning--better than just the ordinary harangue about religion vs. sex as if they were at opposite poles!

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canyon_wren 5 years, 9 months ago

What's next? There are just the three (historically) taboo subjects--sex, religion and politics--and we ae ALL sick of politics! Cheese does sound like an acceptable substitute!

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Ceallach 5 years, 9 months ago

I hold myself responsible . . . I thought it was NyQuil :\

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craigers 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm with Ceallach on this.I prefer aged cheddar TOB. Preferably 2-10 years aged has some great flavor!!! How do you cut the cheese? Now that could be controversial...

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Ceallach 5 years, 9 months ago

I can see you haven't met my children :)

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 5 years, 9 months ago

Ceal,You want a bunch of kids running around polluted by Absinthe?

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Ceallach 5 years, 9 months ago

Yes, it should be included in the educational program. The question does not ask about abstinence only, it asks whether abstinence should be taught.

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 9 months ago

"Wow. First religion, now sex. They're really going for controversial topics here. What could be next?" SargeWhat is your favorite kind of cheese? That is a touchy topic.

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Agnostick 5 years, 9 months ago

Manimal and others, read the question, please--it says "abstinence," not "abstinence-only."Babboy, try again. What is the point of getting into college if, halfway through your kid's sophomore year, they have to drop out of college because they became a parent? If a public school teacher happens to "connect" with your kid, preach the abstinence message, and your kid takes it to heart and follows through... where's the harm in that? Yes, I will teach my daughter these things, but if one of her teachers has better luck getting through to her (with the same message), than her mother or I, what do I care? Given the choice between a daughter with an A+ in trigonometry who gets pregnant six weeks after graduation, and a daughter with a B+ average who doesn't get pregnant until she's ready to be pregnant... well, I know which one I'd prefer.Of the above respondents, I most strongly agree with Mary Moss: Abstinence needs to be part of the dialogue in public school health programs, from a purely secular, non-religious perspective. The spiritual and religious "benefits" of abstinence should be the focus of parents, and the family religious institution (church, mosque, temple, synagogue etc.). Now, you have a three-pronged assault, if you will--the kid's hearing about abstinence at home, at school, and at church. You've effectively tripled your chances that the message will get through.And what if it doesn't? Then let's have condoms discreetly available via the school nurse.For the so-called "pro-life" extremists, this is where the rubber hits the road (pun intended). The only kind of woman who seeks out the services of Dr. George Tiller, Planned Parenthood etc. is the woman with an unintended pregnancy. It's a scientific fact that women who are not pregnant, and women who want to be pregnant and want to give birth... typically don't seek out the services of an abortion provider.Reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies... and the number of abortions will go down. There is no other way.Abortion providers, first and foremost, are businesses. No business can survive without paying customers. Cut off the customer base, and the business will fold.Abstinence education is not an ironclad, guaranteed prevention method for 100% of the population--but it's a good start.Agnostickagnostick@excite.comhttp://www.uscentrist.orghttp://www.americanplan.org

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starbucks 5 years, 9 months ago

sunflower sue:given that the state assessments are constructed to reflect the state curricular standards, what is the problem? in education today, we have a system whereby assessments are built to state content standards, and teachers are responsible for teaching to the state content standards. i always laugh when uninformed people act like "teaching to the test" is a bad thing. given that the test is a sample of behaviors from a specified domain, teaching to a test that reflects the state curricular standards is the expectation we should have of educators. why anyone would want the schools to teach their kids about any facet of sex is beyond me. sack up and take responsibility, America.

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sgtwolverine 5 years, 9 months ago

Wow. First religion, now sex. They're really going for controversial topics here. What could be next?

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fu7il3 5 years, 9 months ago

Abstinance isn't only a value system issue. It's a health issue as well. It is the only way to totally eliminate the possibility of pregnancy or STD's, both of which can have a profound, lasting effect on a person's life.That being said, it should be taught along with safe sex practices.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 5 years, 9 months ago

No I don't."Absinthe makes you crazy and criminal, provokes epilepsy and tuberculosis, and has killed thousands of French people. It makes a ferocious beast of man, a martyr of woman, and a degenerate of the infant, it disorganizes and ruins the family and menaces the future of the country." - Conrad III, Barnaby; "Absinthe History in a Bottle"

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sunflower_sue 5 years, 9 months ago

Unless sex ed is on the state assessment tests, the school doesn't really care if it gets taught or not. I would not trust any school district to teach my child about sex, or lack thereof. I wouldn't want it to be the only option they were proponing.

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Victoria 5 years, 9 months ago

Students need to understand how the human body functions and the reproduction system is part of that. Just as one learns how the heart and circulatory system functions, one should know how reproduction occurs, parts involved and how it happens. To not do so would be similar to teaching biology but not discussing the brain and nervous system.As far as teaching abstinence, that is a value system issue. It is debateable as to whose values we are going to teach the students, who are captive audiences. That is a whole different issue.

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 9 months ago

Good one, Blue!Ahh, yet another recycled OTS question. When is the regular OTS guy back from vacation?

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BABBOY 5 years, 9 months ago

Oh, I do not know, what about math, reading, writing, science, history, social studies, geography and the basics to get into college? Convince me that the public schools can do that for all of their students then I will consider whether my kid should listen to them on issues of sex and reproduction. As near I can tell, my son will not get into college unless I stress these things to him. Why should I expect the school teacher to be able to teach him to be responsible in issues related to sex?

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Pilgrim 5 years, 9 months ago

If we didn't have so many irresponsible, lazy, or chickensh*t parents, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

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acg 5 years, 9 months ago

I don't think they should teach abstinence only but they should definitely put it out there as a very good choice to make. I'm not at all a prude, I know kids are going to have sex, but I surely wish more of them would wait and think harder about their decision.

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canyon_wren 5 years, 9 months ago

Really good comments so far. I think kids need to be aware that abstinence is a choice and probably a very wise one, but they need more information than that, certainly. As sunshine points out, trying to teach abstinence in school when the society is permeated with a preoccupation with sex is an exercise in futility--like trying to dip water out of the ocean. A lot more can be accomplished by starting early to teach children to think for themselves and not to trust the values of their peers so readily--otherwise, it is a case of the blind leading the blind, and "both will fall into a pit," as the saying goes. A good example set by parents is probably more effective!

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Kat Christian 5 years, 9 months ago

If the school of going to teach abstinance then you might as well have the parents band TV, magazines and don't let them walk by the GAP. Too many commericials, magezine ADs, store displays, etc. sell their products with sexual overtones. You can not walk through our society anymore without having it crammed down your throat. Teens are naturally feeling compelled (if you know what I mean). Its like their love of sugar - they get exposed to these suggestions (like the cereal Ads) they are going to want it. Then they try it their addicted. Additionally, peer pressure add to this also. We need to turn the tables and make abstinence and responsible sex the fad. Yes, expose them to the choice, but let them also know the alternatives and to understand the consequences - which goes hand in hand with a parenting program as well. Also, parents should be involved in this. they need to also take a sex education class becuase most of them I bet haven't a clue about how to abstain or what responsible sex really means and that is part of the reason they don't teach their own kids about responsible sex. Kids are usually taught the basis, but not the psychology of sex and how one feels to compell them to want sex. These same feelings are what kids need to understand in order to know how to abstain = not so much the act itself, but the feeling of holding back. You can tell a kid until you're blue in the face but if they don't understand the gut reasoning about something they may never get it. Also open communication (can't stress this enough) with your child is the most important and the most difficult thing to maintain throughout their years of growing up. But it is the most important.

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KSManimal 5 years, 9 months ago

Abstinence only sex education is about as effective as "just hold it" potty training.What the abstinence only folks fail to understand is that sex education isn't just for teen years. Sex education, like any education, is providing students with the knowledge and skills they need to function effectively in society....well into their adult years.Abstinence only sex education is akin to refusing to teach teens about personal money management because we don't want them to have credit cards or checking accounts as teenagers.Stupid.

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blue73harley 5 years, 9 months ago

No, kids should not abstain from getting their education..

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