Thursday, October 20, 2005

Teens and Sex in Indiana

I'm not a huge NUVO fan, but every once in a while, they do a really great piece. This week's article on Puritan Politics is a good round-up of some controversial issues and where Indiana falls. While I don't always agree Indiana is too far to the right, I do feel pretty strongly about unrealistic expectations that conservative parents have when it comes to their kids and sex.

From the NUVO article section on Sex Education: Let's Talk About Sex:

Currently, 35 states, including Indiana, have laws requiring abstinence-only education as the sole or primary content of sex education in public schools. Under this requirement, schools are required to teach abstinence until marriage, and if birth control is discussed it can only be done in terms of failure rates.

Many schools now hire private groups to teach the sexual education portion of health class at the middle and high school level, using taxpayer funds to pay for the classes. One of the most popular of these programs is called “CPR: Creating Positive Relationships,” and it is taught in Perry Township, Zionsville, Avon and dozens of other schools across the state.

Founded by Carmel wife and mother Gayle Bucher in 1987, Creating Positive Relationships was first presented to middle school students in 1990 and high school students in 1996. In all, CPR boasts that its abstinence-only program reaches over 60,000 students a year. Like other abstinence-only programs, CPR maintains, “Parents who proactively discuss birth control methods with their children give the message that they do not believe their children can be sexually abstinent. By initiating a discussion on birth control, well-meaning parents may be inviting their children to experiment with premarital sex.”

But statistics don’t seem to support abstinence-only education as the best education and protection for teen-agers. In 2003, the federal Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that while Indiana teens are only being taught abstinence, they are more likely than the average American to have sex before graduating from high school (49 percent), more likely to be currently sexually active (38 percent) and less likely to use birth control when having sex (53 percent).

Some additional statistics on Hoosier attitudes and sex education were released this year in a University of Indiana study:

Indiana University study shows 77% of Hoosiers would like to see the proper use of condoms to prevent both sex and disease taught in high schools. However, this is completely out of sync with that conservative lawmakers have decided should be taught in schools -- abstinence only and discussion of birth control failure rates.

There seems to be a strange issue of teach my kids/don't teach my kids which has resulted in a lot of kids who don't know what the hell their doing. And parents who aren't stepping up to the plate. Sadly, it hurts the state -- and the state's children. If parents aren't teaching it, then let's have schools do it, but let's make sure schools are teaching accurate information, the best to help teens be succesful.


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