Thursday, August 23, 2012

Moms want school to teach Sex Education accurately

Health educator Mica Ghimenti and registered nurse Aubree Smith have filed a civil lawsuit against Clovis Unified School District in Fresno, California. The two mom’s are concerned that the district is not teaching sex education in accordance with the California law enacted in 2003.

Smith told NBC News, "Our kids need complete, accurate information to help them protect themselves against STDs and unintended pregnancy.”

According to the ACLU of Northern California, legal counsel for the two moms, the California Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Act (SB 71) requires that sex education in public schools be based in public health science and teach teens about building healthy relationships, the benefits of delaying sexual activity, and accurate information about condoms and contraception.

Phyllida Burlingame, reproductive justice policy director at the ACLU of Northern California told NBC News, The civil lawsuit is the first of its kind in California since the passage of a 2003 law requiring that sexual health education in public schools be comprehensive and medically accurate.

Clovis Unified School District spokeswoman, Kelly Avants, released the following statement:
"It appears from an initial review that the concern raised in this lawsuit stems from a question of differing interpretations of the depth and breadth of a school district's obligation to cover detailed sexual content in its family life-sex education materials.
"The District notes that some of the information contained in the suit does not accurately describe existing procedures and practices in Clovis Unified related to parent notification. 
“We will continue our review of the suit in order to better understand the concerns raised by the plaintiffs, but Clovis Unified has fully complied with both the California Education Code and the State’s content standards.”

Sex Education in California Public Schools, report

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco, released a report, Uneven Progress: Sex Education in California Public Schools in November of 2011. In this report they stated, “The passage of SB71 was a key landmark on the road towards ensuring the health of California youth, but there is much work still to be done.”

Also noted, “One out of five districts (19%) reported that in their instruction, birth control methods were mentioned, but most of the time was spent on the benefits of abstinence. Furthermore, 16% of districts reported that they teach that “condoms are not an effective means of preventing pregnancies and STDs/HIV”, an inaccurate statement.”

Accurate, science based information

A major goal of this blog is to bring accurate, science based information to my readers. On the subject of condoms and public health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states:

Consistent and correct use of the male latex condom reduces the risk of sexually transmitted disease (STD) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission. However, condom use cannot provide absolute protection against any STD. The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of STDs are to abstain from sexual activity, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.  However, many infected persons may be unaware of their infection because STDs often are asymptomatic and unrecognized.

You can get this Condom Fact Sheet In Brief, for free, from the CDC: CDC - Condom Effectiveness - Condom Fact Sheet In Brief

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