Frequently Asked Questions

PEACE Hawaii has made over 100 community presentations since we first launched 2 years ago.  In that time, we’ve fielded questions from hundreds of parents who want to have clear information to help them make informed decisions about their child’s education.  Below we’ve listed 9 of the most common questions concerning how human sexuality is taught in public schools.  We hope this information will be helpful for you too.

If you have a question that isn’t listed in our materials, we encourage you to contact us.  You can call us at (808) 841 7022 or email us at info@peacehawaii.org 

1. What Is The Concern With Comprehensive Sex Education?

Parents, community groups and even some legislators have raised many questions about CSE. Psychologists and educators have expressed concern that such instruction, especially without parental involvement, can lead to confusion in the minds of children about what is right or wrong for them.

Furthermore, they agree that when the learning environment is in conflict with the values of the home, it is difficult for children from these families to succeed academically. In such environments, the faith of children is also challenged or compromised. There are many resources that explore the history and development of CSE around the world. Here is one resource from Family Watch International that we recommend for its detailed look at CSE around the world. While FWI is working towards their own mandate, they have done a great job providing first-hand accounts of what CSE looks like from an international perspective.

Resource Link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhb0GKlqF4E

2. What Is Comprehensive Sex Education?

In the past sex-ed courses focused on the changes during puberty and providing understanding of reproduction.  In addition, all programs were required to support abstinence from intercourse.

POLICY 2110 – SEXUAL HEALTH EDUCATION (1995)

In order to help students make decisions that promote healthy behaviors, the Department of Education shall instruct students that abstention from sexual intercourse is the surest and most responsible way to prevent unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and consequent emotional distress.

The abstinence-based education program shall:

  1. support abstention from sexual intercourse and provide skill development to continue abstention;
  2. help youth who have had sexual intercourse to abstain from further sexual intercourse until an appropriate time; and
  3. provide youth with information on and skill development in the use of protective devices and methods for the purpose of preventing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy

Now sex-ed curriculum, like Pono Choices, is based on the Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) model and introduced into schools. CSE is defined as:

COMPREHENSIVE SEX EDUCATION

“a rights based approach that seeks to equip young people with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values they need  to determine and enjoy their sexuality, physically and emotionally, individually and in relationships”.

The Rationale for CSE

The reality is that we live in a multi-worldview society where the default worldview of academic institutions is humanism.  Humanism is defined as ‘a system of values and beliefs that is based on the idea that people are basically good and that problems can be solved using reason instead of religion.’   (Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/humanism)

Operating under this worldview, advocates of Comprehensive Sex Education rationalize that because some children do become sexually active and could become pregnant or acquire a sexually transmitted infection, all children should be provided with information on sexual activity with the intent of helping youth to make informed decisions.

In an effort to reduce the risk of pregnancy, CSE programs provide information about non-reproductive sexual activity (anal and oral sex, personal or mutual masturbation, homosexual relations, ‘sexting’, etc.), so that if a child chooses to engage in sexual activity the hope is that a less risky activity will be chosen.

CSE is touted as being non-discriminatory, affirming all sexual orientations and activities as acceptable.  This of course runs into conflict with many parents whose faith and cultural views set guidelines about human sexual behavior.

3. Is This Happening In All Classrooms?

In Hawaii, many of the teachers are conservative and modest in their approach to teaching these sensitive topics, so your classroom teacher may not be including this information.  However, there is increased pressure for teachers to embrace this content.  Principals are being pressured to ensure it is included in their schools.  University professors who believe this is right encourage new teachers to include this in their classrooms.  When a teacher will not teach the sex-ed curriculum, the only approved alternative provider is Planned Parenthood – the advocates of the program.

Sensitive curriculum is increasing, at all grade levels, in all states, as well as in most countries around the world.  Sensitive curriculum may not yet be part of your child’s class, but when it is, Policy 103.5 requires that you be informed.  Using our Parent Communication Tool will help you to engage in the discussion with your teacher.

4. Do Parents Have A Choice When It Comes To Sensitive Curriculum?

Yes!  The Hawaii Board of Education recognizes that we live in a multi-worldview society, consisting of many faiths and cultures, and at times instruction may be controversial to some families.  Board of Education Policy 101.3 requires:

POLICY 101.3
Instructional staff or administration will notify parents or legal guardians of controversial issues that will be discussed in the classroom or through other school activities. This notification may be done through a general letter about the lesson or activity. Parents or legal guardians may also, on their own volition, write a letter to the school administrators or a teacher to have their child excluded from a specific lesson or activity. If such a letter is received, the student must be provided with an alternative learning activity. The parents or legal guardians have an obligation to notify the school administrator or teacher prior to the lesson or activity.
In light of such policy, all that is needed is for parents to be the primary educator of their children and build relationship with the child’s teacher to proactively share what may be deemed sensitive instruction.  Then you can be informed in order to work with the school to determine the best accommodation for your child.

5. Where Is This Coming From?

Changes in sexual health and human sexuality education are primarily coming from Planned Parenthood and the World Health Organization, with the intent that changes be implemented in all countries and all schools.  To better understand the guiding principles of Comprehensive Sex Education see the expectations from the World Health Organization below.

W.H.O. Expectations for Sexual Health Instruction

(Ref: WHO Standards of for Sexuality Education, pp. 38 – 50)

http://www.oif.ac.at/fileadmin/OEIF/andere_Publikationen/WHO_BZgA_Standards.pdf

From birth to 4 years of age: 

  • Informing children about the “enjoyment and pleasure when touching one’s own body, early childhood masturbation”
  • Telling children about “the right to explore gender identities”

 From 4 to 6  (K – Gr. 1):

  • Children should “consolidate their gender identity”.
  • Being informed about “different concepts of a family”.
  • Accept “diversity”

 From 6 to 9  (Gr. 1 – 3):

  • informed about the “choices about parenthood and pregnancy, infertility, adoption, contraception
  • information on “enjoyment and pleasure when touching one’s own body (masturbation/self-stimulation)”
  • the “sexual rights of children”

 From 9 to 12  (Gr. 3 – 6):

  • acceptance of differences in bodies (size and shape of penis, breasts and vulva can vary significantly)
  • types of contraception and their use;
  • Acquire skills on the “use condoms and contraceptives”.
  • informed about:
    • “first sexual experiences
    • Gender orientation
    • sexual behavior of young people (variability of sexual behavior)
    • differences between gender identity and biological sex”
    • “pleasure, masturbation, orgasm”formed about
    • Respect “diversity in sexuality and sexual orientation”

 From 12 to 15  (Gr. 7 – 10):

  • Receive information about “contraceptive services” (condoms, morning after pill, abortion, etc)
  • Learn about “pregnancy (also in same-sex couples)”. (NOTE – does not include fetal development)
  • Acquire skills to “make a conscious choice of contraceptive
  • Gender-identity and sexual orientation, including coming out / homosexuality
  • Understand their “sexual rights as defined by International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and by World Association for Sexual Health (WAS)
6. What Does CSE Instruction Look Like After Being Implemented For A Long Time?

CSE can look very different from school to school, and state to state.  In Hawaii, CSE is in the early stages of implementation, where principals are just now being encouraged to have their teachers trained in CSE programs.

Other states have had CSE program content in place for many years.  One such state is Oregon, which has been using CSE in schools since 1984.   In 2014, the following news report about an adolescent sexuality conference supported by the Oregon Board of Education was released, showing what CSE program content can look like after years of implementation.

7. How Is The Department or Board Of Education Being Influenced To Include CSE Instruction?

It must be remembered that implementation in schools in Hawaii is not as far advanced as some other states.  However, organizations like Planned Parenthood and Advocates for Youth are influencing the education system and local government.

In 2011, Planned Parenthood Hawaii and Advocates for Youth worked with other organizations to write and pilot the new sex education program Pono Choices.

In 2015 it was learned that Planned Parenthood controls distribution of most of the sex ed curriculum through a subsidiary of IPPF, called ETR in California.  When anyone calls to order curriculum that is on their website, they will not sell to anyone (including parents who want to see what their children will learn) unless they have been trained, certified and approved

In the spring of 2015, House Bill 459 was introduced to expand Comprehensive Sex Education from k – 12. The organizations listed above were very supportive of the bill. Bill passed in the House, but was “held” in Senate.

When HB 459 stopped in Senate, advocates for CSE Planned shifted efforts to lobbying the Board of Education.  In June 2015, the BOE changed Policy 2110 – Sexual Health Education.  The new policy, Policy103.5 Sexual Health Education was passed June 15, 2015. The language of the policy opens the door to Comprehensive Sex Education Kindergarten to Gr. 12.

See policy changes below.

OLD (1995) POLICY 2110 – SEXUAL HEALTH EDUCATION

In order to help students make decisions that promote healthy behaviors, the Department of Education shall instruct students that abstention from sexual intercourse is the surest and most responsible way to prevent unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and consequent emotional distress.

The abstinence-based education program shall:

  1. support abstention from sexual intercourse and provide skill development to continue abstention;
  2. help youth who have had sexual intercourse to abstain from further sexual intercourse until an appropriate time; and
  3. provide youth with information on and skill development in the use of protective devices and methods for the purpose of preventing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy
NEW (2015) POLICY 103.5 SEXUAL HEALTH EDUCATION (Encouraged by Planned Parenthood)

In order to help students make decisions that promote healthy behaviors, the Department of Education shall provide sexual health education to include age appropriate, medically accurate, health education that:

(1) Includes education on abstinence, contraception, and methods of infection prevention to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection, including human immunodeficiency virus;

(2) Helps students develop relationships and communication skills to form healthy relationships that are based on mutual respect and affection and are free from violence, coercion and intimidation;

(3) Helps students develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, decision making and stress management to make healthy decisions about sexuality and relationships;

(4) Encourages student to communicate with their parents, guardians and/or other trusted adults about sexuality; and

(5) Informs students of available community resources. Instruction will emphasize that abstention from sexual intercourse is the surest way to prevent unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS, and consequent emotional distress.

A description of the curriculum utilized by the school shall be made available to parents and shall be posted on the school’s website prior to the start of any instruction. A student shall be excused from sexual health instruction only upon the prior written request of the student’s parent or legal guardian. A student may not be subject to disciplinary action, academic penalty or other sanction if the student’s parent or legal guardian makes such written request.

Approved: 9/95 Amended: 6/15

COMMENTS:
Old policy (2110) was very specific and prioritized the emphasis abstinence from sexual intercourse. The policy was clear that this is to be the focus and taught to all children.

The new policy is more open about sexual health and relationships and not grade specific. It uses the term “age appropriate”. This expands the ages at which sexual health instruction could be applied. When the policy does not state grade specific content, this opens the door for interpretation of “age appropriate”.

In an effort to reduce the risk of pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections, CSE programs provide information about non-reproductive sexual activity (anal, oral, masturbation, mutual masturbation, homosexual relations, internet sexting, etc), so that if a child chooses to engage in sexual activity the hope is that a less risky activity will be chosen.

The new policy sets the stage for Comprehensive Sex Education and expanding discussion of sexual activities. Although even the new policy says there will be an emphasis on abstention from sexual intercourse, within CSE programs “children decide what abstinence means to them”.

8. Do CSE Programs Reduce STI Rates Amongst Teens & Young Adults?

CSE proponents often say that its use in classrooms can lead to a reduction in the rate of sexually transmitted infections amongst teens and young adults.  However, as you can see from the sources below, these claims are not only poorly substantiated, empirical evidence suggests the reverse is true.

Sex Education Does Not Reduce Teen Pregnancy or STIs, Review Finds

 

 Presentation: April 15, 2015, Hawaii State Legislature

“There has not been one implementation of CSE programs that have resulted in improved STI rates.” – Dr. Joe McIlhaney, Medical Institute for Sexual Health Centre, Houston, Texas

 Comparison – Increase in Teen STI Rates 2007 – 2011

The chart below compares the Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) rates  of the 2 states that have had CSE instruction the longest with Hawaii, (Note between 2007 and 2011 sex ed was not a required course, and teachers tell us few teachers taught it) .

State

2007 STI Rate

For 15 to 24 year olds

2011 STI Rate

For 15 to 24 year olds

% Change

Oregon – CSE since 1984

1474.9/ 100K

2029.4/ 100K

+ 37.6 %

New Jersey – CSE  since 1980

1628.2/ 100K

2141.4/ 100K

+ 25.3 %

Hawaii – No Mandatory Sex Ed

2142.1/ 100k

2257.1/ 100k

+ 5%

Based on CDC raw data – 2007, 2011 STI rates for 15 – 24 year olds.

February 2016 CDC Chart of HIV Diagnosis based upon behaviour

The risks of STI rates for various sexual activities is not taught in school.  Thus boys would not be told the risk rate of Men who have Sex with Men (MSM).  CSE programs are intended to be non-discriminatory and the curriculum treats all sexual activity equally.

 

Sex education does not reduce teen pregnancy or STIs, review finds

 

 

9. Are There Other Kinds Of Sex Education That Could Be Used?

There are two kinds of sexual education curricula – Sexual Risk Reduction (CSE) and Sexual Risk Avoidance.  Comprehensive Sex Education is also known as Sexual Risk Reduction (SRR) programs.

These programs are defined by the authors as:

 

COMPREHENSIVE SEX EDUCATION

 Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) is a rights based approach that seeks to equip young people with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values they need to determine and enjoy their sexuality – physically and emotionally, individually and in relationships.

 

Rationale

Under the banner of Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE), sexual health instruction is changing from teaching about reproductive health to a focus on sexual activity. Because some children choose to be sexually active, it is argued that all children need to be provided with the information on different ways to express your sexuality including non-reproductive sexual activity (anal and oral sex, masturbation, homosexual relations, etc). Children who choose to be sexually active will choose methods of expressing sexuality that will reduce the risks of pregnancy.

The claims are that CSE is non-discriminatory.  As a result the program affirms all sexual activity, all sexual orientations, transgender issues, self stimulation, bisexuality, and multiple partners – as long as engagement is consensual. The proponents of CSE claim they do not directly encourage sexual activity, but merely provide the information so that should children choose to be involved sexually, they have the knowledge to express their sexuality as safely as possible.

In these programs, the students are told they determine what abstinence means to them. There may be activities that they are not comfortable receiving or providing, and each person needs to be clear in their own mind because that becomes their definition of abstinence.  In addition, students are taught the concept of consent for sexual activity – clearly communicate what they are and are not comfortable with receiving and providing sexually.

 

Sexual Risk Avoidance Programs (SRA) – Abstinence Based Programs

Unlike CSE and SRR, SRA programs encourage students to avoid sexual activity until they are in a long term, committed relationship. Mary Anne Mosak, Director of State Initiatives at ASCEND explains SRA programs this way:

“The purpose of the SRAE program is to fund projects to implement sexual risk avoidance education that teaches participants how to voluntarily refrain from non-marital sexual activity. The goal of the SRAE program is to educate youth on how to voluntarily refrain from non-marital sexual activity and prevent other youth risk behaviors”.( pg.1)

The SRAE program supports the implementation of prevention education aimed to teach youth how to voluntarily refrain from non-marital sexual activity through an evidence-based approach that integrates findings with practical implementation that aligns with the needs and desired outcomes for the intended audience.” (pg.4)

 

Curriculum Requirements

Sexual Risk Avoidance curriculum must adhere to the following requirements:

  • Curriculum selected must be age-appropriate with regard to the developmental stage of the intended audience, culturally appropriate, and linguistically appropriate.
  • Educational materials must have as their exclusive purpose teaching sexual risk avoidance and the benefits associated with self-regulation, success sequencing for poverty prevention, healthy relationships, goal setting, resisting sexual coercion, dating violence, and other youth risk behaviors such as underage drinking or illicit drug use without normalizing teen sexual activity.
  • Interventions, materials, and curricula must not promote or encourage sexual activity outside of marriage. ” (pg.5)

 

Expected Outcomes

“The outcomes proposed should address voluntarily refraining from non-marital sexual activity, self-regulation, success sequencing for poverty prevention, healthy relationships, goal setting, resisting sexual coercion, dating violence, and youth risk behaviors such as underage drinking or illicit drug use without normalizing teen sexual activity.” (pg.25)

1. What Is The Concern With Comprehensive Sex Education?

Parents, community groups and even some legislators have raised many questions about CSE. Psychologists and educators have expressed concern that such instruction, especially without parental involvement, can lead to confusion in the minds of children about what is right or wrong for them.

Furthermore, they agree that when the learning environment is in conflict with the values of the home, it is difficult for children from these families to succeed academically. In such environments, the faith of children is also challenged or compromised. There are many resources that explore the history and development of CSE around the world. Here is one resource from Family Watch International that we recommend for its detailed look at CSE around the world. While FWI is working towards their own mandate, they have done a great job providing first-hand accounts of what CSE looks like from an international perspective.

Resource Link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhb0GKlqF4E

2. What Is Comprehensive Sex Education?

In the past sex-ed courses focused on the changes during puberty and providing understanding of reproduction.  In addition, all programs were required to support abstinence from intercourse.

POLICY 2110 – SEXUAL HEALTH EDUCATION (1995)

In order to help students make decisions that promote healthy behaviors, the Department of Education shall instruct students that abstention from sexual intercourse is the surest and most responsible way to prevent unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and consequent emotional distress.

The abstinence-based education program shall:

  1. support abstention from sexual intercourse and provide skill development to continue abstention;
  2. help youth who have had sexual intercourse to abstain from further sexual intercourse until an appropriate time; and
  3. provide youth with information on and skill development in the use of protective devices and methods for the purpose of preventing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy

Now sex-ed curriculum, like Pono Choices, is based on the Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) model and introduced into schools. CSE is defined as:

COMPREHENSIVE SEX EDUCATION

“a rights based approach that seeks to equip young people with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values they need  to determine and enjoy their sexuality, physically and emotionally, individually and in relationships”.

The Rationale for CSE

The reality is that we live in a multi-worldview society where the default worldview of academic institutions is humanism.  Humanism is defined as ‘a system of values and beliefs that is based on the idea that people are basically good and that problems can be solved using reason instead of religion.’   (Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/humanism)

Operating under this worldview, advocates of Comprehensive Sex Education rationalize that because some children do become sexually active and could become pregnant or acquire a sexually transmitted infection, all children should be provided with information on sexual activity with the intent of helping youth to make informed decisions.

In an effort to reduce the risk of pregnancy, CSE programs provide information about non-reproductive sexual activity (anal and oral sex, personal or mutual masturbation, homosexual relations, ‘sexting’, etc.), so that if a child chooses to engage in sexual activity the hope is that a less risky activity will be chosen.

CSE is touted as being non-discriminatory, affirming all sexual orientations and activities as acceptable.  This of course runs into conflict with many parents whose faith and cultural views set guidelines about human sexual behavior.

3. Is This Happening In All Classrooms?

In Hawaii, many of the teachers are conservative and modest in their approach to teaching these sensitive topics, so your classroom teacher may not be including this information.  However, there is increased pressure for teachers to embrace this content.  Principals are being pressured to ensure it is included in their schools.  University professors who believe this is right encourage new teachers to include this in their classrooms.  When a teacher will not teach the sex-ed curriculum, the only approved alternative provider is Planned Parenthood – the advocates of the program.

Sensitive curriculum is increasing, at all grade levels, in all states, as well as in most countries around the world.  Sensitive curriculum may not yet be part of your child’s class, but when it is, Policy 103.5 requires that you be informed.  Using our Parent Communication Tool will help you to engage in the discussion with your teacher.

4. Do Parents Have A Choice When It Comes To Sensitive Curriculum?

Yes!  The Hawaii Board of Education recognizes that we live in a multi-worldview society, consisting of many faiths and cultures, and at times instruction may be controversial to some families.  Board of Education Policy 101.3 requires:

POLICY 101.3
Instructional staff or administration will notify parents or legal guardians of controversial issues that will be discussed in the classroom or through other school activities. This notification may be done through a general letter about the lesson or activity. Parents or legal guardians may also, on their own volition, write a letter to the school administrators or a teacher to have their child excluded from a specific lesson or activity. If such a letter is received, the student must be provided with an alternative learning activity. The parents or legal guardians have an obligation to notify the school administrator or teacher prior to the lesson or activity.

 

 

In light of such policy, all that is needed is for parents to be the primary educator of their children and build relationship with the child’s teacher to proactively share what may be deemed sensitive instruction.  Then you can be informed in order to work with the school to determine the best accommodation for your child.

 

 

5. Where Is This Coming From?

Changes in sexual health and human sexuality education are primarily coming from Planned Parenthood and the World Health Organization, with the intent that changes be implemented in all countries and all schools.  To better understand the guiding principles of Comprehensive Sex Education see the expectations from the World Health Organization below.

W.H.O. Expectations for Sexual Health Instruction

(Ref: WHO Standards of for Sexuality Education, pp. 38 – 50)

http://www.oif.ac.at/fileadmin/OEIF/andere_Publikationen/WHO_BZgA_Standards.pdf

 

From birth to 4 years of age: 

  • Informing children about the “enjoyment and pleasure when touching one’s own body, early childhood masturbation”
  • Telling children about “the right to explore gender identities”

 From 4 to 6  (K – Gr. 1):

  • Children should “consolidate their gender identity”.
  • Being informed about “different concepts of a family”.
  • Accept “diversity”

 From 6 to 9  (Gr. 1 – 3):

  • informed about the “choices about parenthood and pregnancy, infertility, adoption, contraception
  • information on “enjoyment and pleasure when touching one’s own body (masturbation/self-stimulation)”
  • the “sexual rights of children”

 From 9 to 12  (Gr. 3 – 6):

  • acceptance of differences in bodies (size and shape of penis, breasts and vulva can vary significantly)
  • types of contraception and their use;
  • Acquire skills on the “use condoms and contraceptives”.
  • informed about:
    • “first sexual experiences
    • Gender orientation
    • sexual behavior of young people (variability of sexual behavior)
    • differences between gender identity and biological sex”
    • “pleasure, masturbation, orgasm”formed about
    • Respect “diversity in sexuality and sexual orientation”

 From 12 to 15  (Gr. 7 – 10):

  • Receive information about “contraceptive services” (condoms, morning after pill, abortion, etc)
  • Learn about “pregnancy (also in same-sex couples)”. (NOTE – does not include fetal development)
  • Acquire skills to “make a conscious choice of contraceptive
  • Gender-identity and sexual orientation, including coming out / homosexuality
  • Understand their “sexual rights as defined by International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and by World Association for Sexual Health (WAS)
6. What Does CSE Instruction Look Like After Being Implemented For A Long Time?

CSE can look very different from school to school, and state to state.  In Hawaii, CSE is in the early stages of implementation, where principals are just now being encouraged to have their teachers trained in CSE programs.

Other states have had CSE program content in place for many years.  One such state is Oregon, which has been using CSE in schools since 1984.   In 2014, the following news report about an adolescent sexuality conference supported by the Oregon Board of Education was released, showing what CSE program content can look like after years of implementation.

 

7. How Is The Department or Board Of Education Being Influenced To Include CSE Instruction?

It must be remembered that implementation in schools in Hawaii is not as far advanced as some other states.  However, organizations like Planned Parenthood and Advocates for Youth are influencing the education system and local government.

In 2011, Planned Parenthood Hawaii and Advocates for Youth worked with other organizations to write and pilot the new sex education program Pono Choices.

In 2015 it was learned that Planned Parenthood controls distribution of most of the sex ed curriculum through a subsidiary of IPPF, called ETR in California.  When anyone calls to order curriculum that is on their website, they will not sell to anyone (including parents who want to see what their children will learn) unless they have been trained, certified and approved

In the spring of 2015, House Bill 459 was introduced to expand Comprehensive Sex Education from k – 12. The organizations listed above were very supportive of the bill. Bill passed in the House, but was “held” in Senate.

When HB 459 stopped in Senate, advocates for CSE Planned shifted efforts to lobbying the Board of Education.  In June 2015, the BOE changed Policy 2110 – Sexual Health Education.  The new policy, Policy103.5 Sexual Health Education was passed June 15, 2015. The language of the policy opens the door to Comprehensive Sex Education Kindergarten to Gr. 12.

See policy changes below.

OLD (1995) POLICY 2110 – SEXUAL HEALTH EDUCATION

In order to help students make decisions that promote healthy behaviors, the Department of Education shall instruct students that abstention from sexual intercourse is the surest and most responsible way to prevent unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and consequent emotional distress.

The abstinence-based education program shall:

  1. support abstention from sexual intercourse and provide skill development to continue abstention;
  2. help youth who have had sexual intercourse to abstain from further sexual intercourse until an appropriate time; and
  3. provide youth with information on and skill development in the use of protective devices and methods for the purpose of preventing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy
NEW (2015) POLICY 103.5 SEXUAL HEALTH EDUCATION (Encouraged by Planned Parenthood)

In order to help students make decisions that promote healthy behaviors, the Department of Education shall provide sexual health education to include age appropriate, medically accurate, health education that:

(1) Includes education on abstinence, contraception, and methods of infection prevention to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection, including human immunodeficiency virus;

(2) Helps students develop relationships and communication skills to form healthy relationships that are based on mutual respect and affection and are free from violence, coercion and intimidation;

(3) Helps students develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, decision making and stress management to make healthy decisions about sexuality and relationships;

(4) Encourages student to communicate with their parents, guardians and/or other trusted adults about sexuality; and

(5) Informs students of available community resources. Instruction will emphasize that abstention from sexual intercourse is the surest way to prevent unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS, and consequent emotional distress.

A description of the curriculum utilized by the school shall be made available to parents and shall be posted on the school’s website prior to the start of any instruction. A student shall be excused from sexual health instruction only upon the prior written request of the student’s parent or legal guardian. A student may not be subject to disciplinary action, academic penalty or other sanction if the student’s parent or legal guardian makes such written request.

Approved: 9/95 Amended: 6/15

COMMENTS:
Old policy (2110) was very specific and prioritized the emphasis abstinence from sexual intercourse. The policy was clear that this is to be the focus and taught to all children.

The new policy is more open about sexual health and relationships and not grade specific. It uses the term “age appropriate”. This expands the ages at which sexual health instruction could be applied. When the policy does not state grade specific content, this opens the door for interpretation of “age appropriate”.

In an effort to reduce the risk of pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections, CSE programs provide information about non-reproductive sexual activity (anal, oral, masturbation, mutual masturbation, homosexual relations, internet sexting, etc), so that if a child chooses to engage in sexual activity the hope is that a less risky activity will be chosen.

The new policy sets the stage for Comprehensive Sex Education and expanding discussion of sexual activities. Although even the new policy says there will be an emphasis on abstention from sexual intercourse, within CSE programs “children decide what abstinence means to them”.

8. Do CSE Programs Reduce STI Rates Amongst Teens & Young Adults?

CSE proponents often say that its use in classrooms can lead to a reduction in the rate of sexually transmitted infections amongst teens and young adults.  However, as you can see from the sources below, these claims are not only poorly substantiated, empirical evidence suggests the reverse is true.

Sex Education Does Not Reduce Teen Pregnancy or STIs, Review Finds

 

 Presentation: April 15, 2015, Hawaii State Legislature

“There has not been one implementation of CSE programs that have resulted in improved STI rates.” – Dr. Joe McIlhaney, Medical Institute for Sexual Health Centre, Houston, Texas

February 2016 CDC Chart of HIV Diagnosis based upon behaviour

The risks of STI rates for various sexual activities is not taught in school.  Thus boys would not be told the risk rate of Men who have Sex with Men (MSM).  CSE programs are intended to be non-discriminatory and the curriculum treats all sexual activity equally.

 

Sex education does not reduce teen pregnancy or STIs, review finds

 

 

9. Are There Other Kinds Of Sex Education That Could Be Used?

There are two kinds of sexual education curricula – Sexual Risk Reduction (CSE) and Sexual Risk Avoidance.  Comprehensive Sex Education is also known as Sexual Risk Reduction (SRR) programs.

These programs are defined by the authors as:

 

COMPREHENSIVE SEX EDUCATION

 Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) is a rights based approach that seeks to equip young people with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values they need to determine and enjoy their sexuality – physically and emotionally, individually and in relationships.

 

Rationale

Under the banner of Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE), sexual health instruction is changing from teaching about reproductive health to a focus on sexual activity. Because some children choose to be sexually active, it is argued that all children need to be provided with the information on different ways to express your sexuality including non-reproductive sexual activity (anal and oral sex, masturbation, homosexual relations, etc). Children who choose to be sexually active will choose methods of expressing sexuality that will reduce the risks of pregnancy.

The claims are that CSE is non-discriminatory.  As a result the program affirms all sexual activity, all sexual orientations, transgender issues, self stimulation, bisexuality, and multiple partners – as long as engagement is consensual. The proponents of CSE claim they do not directly encourage sexual activity, but merely provide the information so that should children choose to be involved sexually, they have the knowledge to express their sexuality as safely as possible.

In these programs, the students are told they determine what abstinence means to them. There may be activities that they are not comfortable receiving or providing, and each person needs to be clear in their own mind because that becomes their definition of abstinence.  In addition, students are taught the concept of consent for sexual activity – clearly communicate what they are and are not comfortable with receiving and providing sexually.

 

Sexual Risk Avoidance Programs (SRA) – Abstinence Based Programs

Unlike CSE and SRR, SRA programs encourage students to avoid sexual activity until they are in a long term, committed relationship. Mary Anne Mosak, Director of State Initiatives at ASCEND explains SRA programs this way:

“The purpose of the SRAE program is to fund projects to implement sexual risk avoidance education that teaches participants how to voluntarily refrain from non-marital sexual activity. The goal of the SRAE program is to educate youth on how to voluntarily refrain from non-marital sexual activity and prevent other youth risk behaviors”.( pg.1)

The SRAE program supports the implementation of prevention education aimed to teach youth how to voluntarily refrain from non-marital sexual activity through an evidence-based approach that integrates findings with practical implementation that aligns with the needs and desired outcomes for the intended audience.” (pg.4)

 

Curriculum Requirements

Sexual Risk Avoidance curriculum must adhere to the following requirements:

  • Curriculum selected must be age-appropriate with regard to the developmental stage of the intended audience, culturally appropriate, and linguistically appropriate.
  • Educational materials must have as their exclusive purpose teaching sexual risk avoidance and the benefits associated with self-regulation, success sequencing for poverty prevention, healthy relationships, goal setting, resisting sexual coercion, dating violence, and other youth risk behaviors such as underage drinking or illicit drug use without normalizing teen sexual activity.
  • Interventions, materials, and curricula must not promote or encourage sexual activity outside of marriage. ” (pg.5)

 

Expected Outcomes

“The outcomes proposed should address voluntarily refraining from non-marital sexual activity, self-regulation, success sequencing for poverty prevention, healthy relationships, goal setting, resisting sexual coercion, dating violence, and youth risk behaviors such as underage drinking or illicit drug use without normalizing teen sexual activity.” (pg.25)