NEW YORK (BP) -- A new sex education mandate by the New York City Department of Education has drawn opposition from parents, congressmen and representatives of the True Love Waits abstinence movement.
"Research shows that at-risk students are especially resonant to the sexual risk avoidance message ...."
-- Valerie Huber
Starting in January, the city will require students to take one semester of sex education in the sixth or seventh grade and one in ninth or 10th grade. Schools can choose the curriculum, but the city recommends a program called HealthSmart and another called Reducing the Risk, according to the New York Daily News.
HealthSmart in particular contains graphic lessons which many parents find objectionable, including assignments that would have students cataloguing condom brands at a local drug store, visiting a reproductive health clinic and browsing a provocative sex advice website.
True Love Waits, meanwhile, is advocating an abstinence option in New York City schools.
"Although True Love Waits is not directly involved in school abstinence programs, our team has long recognized that education is the first step in leading students to make a commitment to refrain from sex until marriage," True Love Waits spokesperson Dawn Cornelius said.
"We owe it to students to give them a positive message about the benefits of remaining abstinent until they get married, and to warn them about the physical and emotional consequences that can result from premarital sex," Cornelius said in a statement circulated Nov. 3.
New York State law protects a parent's right to opt children out of any health and hygiene classes, including sex education, which conflict with the religious beliefs of the parent. The law also allows a parent to opt children out of all HIV/AIDS education through a written request to the principal if the children instead will be taught at home.
"It's wrong to force [parents] to choose between what the city is planning and no sex education at all. Parents who want a more traditional, abstinence-based sex education curriculum for their children should be able to have that ... Read More