Saturday, January 15, 2005

Vigilant Weekly Digest

State issues new guidelines for sex education in schools

The state has issued new voluntary guidelines for sex education in Washington's public schools, urging that medically and scientifically accurate information be offered about prevention of both disease and unwanted pregnancy.

The information should include that abstinence from sexual activity is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, according to the five-page Guidelines for Sexual Health Information and Disease Prevention.

The guidelines' preface says evidence suggests sex-education programs that provide information about both abstinence and contraception can delay sexual activity among teenagers, reduce their number of sexual partners and increase contraceptive use when they become sexually active.

The recommendations, released Thursday, were developed by the state Health Department and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, acting on a bipartisan request from 41 legislators last year.

"The goal of sex education is safe and healthy people," the guidelines state.

Sex a weapon


A "SEX bomb" that would make enemy soldiers irresistible to each other was considered by the US military.

Declassified documents reveal the Pentagon toyed with the idea of an aphrodisiac chemical weapon in 1994.

The gas would have made enemy soldiers sexually irresistible to each other. The weapon's developers said homosexual behaviour among troops would deal a "distasteful but completely non-lethal" blow to morale.

The plans, unearthed from a US air force laboratory in Ohio, were published in New Scientist magazine.

- Milanda Rout

Washoe school board opposes abstinence-only sex ed video

The Washoe County School Board turned down a new sex education videotape for seventh-graders partly because it promotes a fear-based, abstinence-only message.

Carson City schools earlier adopted the video, entitled "The Rules Have Changed The Teen STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) Epidemic."
In a letter to the board of trustees, SHARE committee member Nancy Lim criticized the video for suggesting that condoms "don't work" and for potentially inspiring irrational fears.

"The over-hyped, fear-based tone was felt to be a turnoff for many teens who most needed to hear the abstinence message," Lim said. "Examples of the alarmist format included blood dripping into a sink when a link was drawn between teen suicide rates and teen sexuality."

District 11 decides to keep sex education
School District-11 plans to continue to allow Planned Parenthood to present sex education to high school classes. Wednesday night, the board rejected a motion to remove Planned Parenthood from the district's Community Resource Bank.

Supporters feel it is the only organization that teaches kids a complete curriculum on avoiding pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Opponents say teaching about contraception just encourages kids to be sexually active. D-11 Board Member Eric Christen said, "It's a message that says we give up, you're uncontrollable little animals. There's no hope for you. Here's how to use a condom." On the other side, Planned Parenthood's Lenox Powell said, "Abstinence only information is flawed. And it puts kids' lives in danger."

School policy still allows parents to opt their children out of classroom presentations by Planned Parenthood.

Controversial Wyoming abstinence program resumes this week
An abstinence program cited by a recent congressional report as presenting inaccurate information about HIV is resuming this week in Casper, Wyo. The "WAIT (Why Am I Tempted)" abstinence-only curriculum resumed on January 10 for middle and high school students in Casper despite being specifically mentioned in a report by U.S. representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) as one of 11 nationwide that included inaccuracies and presented false information about sex and sexually transmitted diseases. WAIT was cited in Waxman's report because it teaches students that tears, sweat, and saliva are risk factors for HIV transmission. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says none of the three bodily fluids can transmit the virus. Joneen Krauth, a registered nurse and executive director of the Abstinence and Relationship Training Center in Colorado, says the program will be revamped to remove references to HIV transmission risks through sweat, but she did not mention whether further changes would be made.


Blogger Eric Damian Christen said...

Planned Parenthood is no longer in D11 schools in Colorado Springs. You need to update your blog.

Eric Christen
D11 Boardmember

July 23, 2005 10:34 AM  

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