27 February 2009

Report Reveals Shocking State of Sex Ed in Texas

Ms. Foundation grantee, the Texas Freedom Network, just released a report about the state of sexuality education in Texas, replete with revelations of horrifying distortions and untruths perpetuated through abstinence-only curricula. See Broadsheet's reaction in their posting, Texas: The state of sex (mis)education:
I wish this were a bad joke -- the unfair caricature of Texas that you might see on a Prius' bumper sticker -- but it isn't: A whopping 94 percent of school districts in the Lone Star State teach only abstinence, according to a new report. Worse yet, the review by two professors at Texas State University found that "sexuality education materials" used in the state "regularly contain factual errors and perpetuate lies and distortions about condoms and STDs." They also found that classes promoted gender stereotypes, sexual orientation biases, shame and fear. Oh, what fun!

Disturbing as they may be, those top-line summaries of the findings are nothing compared to excerpts included in the report (PDF) from actual teaching materials. Suicide is a favorite scare tactic: One program predicts non-virginal students' miserable future, "You know people talk about you behind your back because you’ve had sex with so many people ... Finally you get sick of it all and attempt suicide." There are fun skits about suicide, too. In one, titled "Jumping Off the Bridge," the moral of the story is put like so: "Giving a condom to a teen is just like saying, 'Well if you insist on killing yourself by jumping off the bridge, at least wear these elbow pads -- they may protect you some?'" (Got it: Handing out condoms = assisted suicide.) Read more
Go to the Texas Freedom Network's site to learn more about their "Just Say Don't Know" campaign, read the full report (PDF), watch their "Sex Ed...Texas Style" videos and sign their petition for responsible sex education.

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