22 TO ZERO! (Sex Ed Vote)
Pastor Gerald Ripley gave this three minute presentation at the North East Independent School Board’s School Health Advisory Council Meeting on March 29, 2016.
Members of the Council,
The decision you make in selecting the sex ed curriculum is arguably one of (if not the most) life-impacting decisions that will be made concerning NEISD.
Therefore, it is crucial that you get it right.
I assume the desired outcomes include reducing the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases as well as reducing the rate of teen conception.
If that is the case, there is one approach which, when implemented properly, reminds one of the race horse Secretariat winning the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths. The results of this approach far outdistances all others hands down.
Unfortunately, the curriculum “Draw The Line/Respect The Line” does not utilize that approach. The presence of the condom option in grade 8 is a clue to the attitude of the designers. That attitude will be manifested in the materials whether an actual condom is used or not.
Draw the Line/Respect the Line
“Grade 8 features practice of refusal skills in dating contexts and a condom demonstration”*
Whatever the results were that persuaded the sub-committee to recommend “Draw The Line/Respect The Line”, there’s a different Secretariat-like approach that far outdistances it.
That approach is Abstinence Education which teaches abstinence until marriage. Hopefully there were voices advocating for such abstinence education on the sub-committee. If there weren’t, they had a predisposed bias towards their decision.
My staff has assembled some materials that hopefully you are familiar with.
The yellow sheets describe two abstinence-based curricula. The first is titled, “Promoting Health Among Teens! Abstinence Only”. I am glad to learn the sub-committee considered this program. I am saddened that it finished no better than third or fourth out of the four programs evaluated.
The second curriculum is titled “Heritage Keepers” and is on the federal government list of evidence-based teen conception prevention programs, thus qualifying it to receive federal government support and funding.
“Heritage Keepers” staff and educators have shown repeatedly that when young people are given the opportunity to take control of their lives by learning life skills that enable them to avoid risks, they embrace it. A year after the program, “Heritage Keepers” students are 3 times more likely to abstain from sex as were similar non-program students. “Heritage Keepers” is equally effective across age, gender and race.
“Heritage Keepers” is being implemented in Corpus Christi. The Texas Health Department has money allocated to pay for public school training in “Heritage Keepers” and will also provide materials for the students. That saves money for the district.
Since the Council has not carefully evaluated both of these curricula, I highly recommend, actually I insist, that you postpone making your decision until you have evaluated “Heritage Keepers” also.
Parents are VERY interested and concerned. I believe you would do well to also select the “Heritage Keepers” curriculum and offer it along with your current choice. Let parents indicate which curriculum they want their children to be taught. Some will select “Draw The Line/Respect The Line.” Others will select “Heritage Keepers.” Parents will be respected and emboldened. LET PARENTS HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHOOSE!
Finally, if there are no abstinence until marriage advocates on your council, I suggest you add three citizens who are and let them help complete your assignment. If you want names, I offer Kellie Gretchel, Patrick von Dohlen, and myself, Gerald Ripley.
Postscript: Following this presentation, a motion was made to table the decision until further study and discussion were held. The motion to table died for lack of a second. The Council then voted 22 to 0 with 2 abstentions to adopt “Draw The Line/Respect The Line.”