Abstinence Only Education Does Not Work!
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Austin Public Schools has an abstinence only curriculum, teaching students only that they shouldn't have sex until marriage. Research shows that abstinence only education is ineffective at best. According to Debra Hauser (Advocates for Youth, n.d.), abstinence only education has very little effect on students' sexual relationships, either right away or in terms of lifetime decisions. In fact, Debra Hauser also states, "There was little impact of the curriculum on youth's attitudes, sexual intentions, and behaviors after one year." Specifically, the percentage of students who endorsed three of four refusal skills declined significantly in the year following the curriculum. The percentage of students who endorsed reasons to postpone sex also declined significantly. Significant increases in sexual intentions and behaviors occurred." (Advocates for Youth, 2004).
Obviously, Austin MN Public Schools is not the only school district who chooses this policy. But it is a great place to start in changing this! Beh and Diamond (2006) stated that the nation is struggling with this as a political issue. We need to stop playing politics with our nation's youth, and give them the education they deserve in order to make better and more informed decisions with their bodies and relationships. Abstinence only education also puts at risk youth most in danger of contracting disease and becoming pregnant (Beh and Diamond, 2006).
According to the National Health Education Standards and Minnesota Benchmarks (2007), students should be able to understand how to protect themselves from disease and health risks. Students should be able to use the knowledge they gain in health classes to make good decisions about their health. This would be impossible for our students if they don't learn the basics to protected sex.
In summary, abstinence only education does not have any real life effects on our children's decisions on whether or not to have sex. It also leaves them with no knowledge of how to protect themselves from STDs, STIs, and pregnancy. Our children deserve better!
Beh, Hazel Glenn and Diamond, Milton, The Failure of Abstinence-Only Education: Minors Have the Right to Honest Talk about Sex (2006). Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1341390
Hauser, D. (2004). Five Years of Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Education: Assessing the Impact. Retrieved November 02, 2016, from http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/626-state-minnesota
National Health Education Standards and Minnesota Benchmarks Minnesota Department of Education Health and Physical Education Quality Teaching Network 2007 DRAFT 2007 National Health Education Standards. (2007). Retrieved from Minnesota Department of Education Quality Teaching Network For Health and Physical Education.
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