Activists Demand ‘Abstinence Only’ Be Option In NYC Sex-Ed Curriculum

Dept. Of Ed Rejects Idea, But Says Students Do Have Option To Skip Lessons

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There is a curriculum controversy over New York City’s plan to teach sex education at all middle and high schools. Activists are demanding the Department of Education offer an “abstinence only” option.

“Just don’t do it” — that’s the heart of the abstinence message and it’s one some activists want city schools to send loud and clear, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

“Abstinence is 100 percent. Abstinence works 100 percent of the time!” said Rev. Bill Faulkner of New Horizon Church.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb: Sex Ed Under Fire

In fact, the Department of Education’s sex curriculum features a unit on abstinence. Students learn abstinence benefits include “no worries about getting pregnant,” “protecting your reputation” and “keeping to your religious beliefs.”

But in addition to abstinence, the curriculum includes contraception, with a discussion of condoms  for students as early as sixth grade.

By high school the list of contraceptive methods becomes more explicit and expands to include the pill, IUDs and diaphragms.

Activists say a program that combines abstinence and contraception confuses young people.

“It’s a mixed message. It’s a red light, green light, and it helps you understand why over 40 percent of ninth graders in this city are sexually active,” Dr. Miriam Grossman said.

They want the city of offer an “abstinence only” option in the sex-ed curriculum, but Planned Parenthood says the city’s comprehensive approach is the correct one.

“Study after study shows that it’s comprehensive, age appropriate and medically accurate sex education that not only helps delay first sexual contact among young people but helps them make healthier and safer decisions if and when they do decide to become sexually active,” Planned Parenthood’s Erica Sackin said.

The city says there will be no “abstinence only” option, but students do have the option of skipping lessons on birth control.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said it’s important to teach abstinence, but ignoring contraception would be “sticking our heads in the sand.”

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Tony Aiello
  • Mike

    It is a sad day when Morality conquers Reality.

    • Rodin

      “People seem to be offended by facts, or what used to be called truth.”

      (1909 – 1992)
      Irish born British artist

  • Chris H.

    Be it sex education, history, science, or math – WHY in the world would you ever withold ANY information from your child? If you love your child, wouldn’t you want your child to have all the information? If you want your child to choose abstinence, you have to acknowledge that there’s a choice. To make a good choice, all information must be provide. I just don’t understand the “if I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist” philosophy.

  • Mary Mix

    In the early 60’s, my husband and I started dating at age 15. We married at age 20 and our first sex was the night after our wedding. There were several reasons we kept in mind all the time — my parents, his parents, the humiliation of pregnancy, heaven, hell, and the selfishness of putting another person in sin. We are soon to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary and I can’t help thinking that we are still together because of the sacrifices we made then. We’re not perfect for each other and every year has been a challenge. We’ve raised 8 children, stayed true to our faith, and life is good. Abstinence can be done; kids just need to know the reasons before they make decisions.

    • Rodin

      So sad. What a waste of time and opportunity!

      My wife and I fully enjoyed 4 years of wonderful sex BEFORE marriage and we’ve been officially wedded for 29 years (first nuptials for both). She was 19 at the time. I was 34. Glad we made up AHEAD OF TIME for less fruitful times. I’m 66 now. Do the math.

      We have three Dogs and no brats to overpopulate with, thank Dogness.

      And we live happily ever after!

  • Duude

    Don’t be surprised one day teachers will reprimand students that claim to have kept their virginity.

  • Rowdy Boots

    WHY NOT?

    My daughter chose a Substance Free Dorm when she went to college–SHE CHOSE IT WE DID NOT KNOW IT EXISTED!

    So why cannot all options be on the table?


    • Devenio

      Rowdy Boots: Lets see. How many Republicans have been caught in the bathroom taking it up the out door? How many Conservatives talk hatred for gays yet are caught having gay sex? How many claim one thing but do the opposite? Seems its you Conservatives who have that perverted mentality.

      • Dakotahgeo, Pastor/Chaplain

        Thank you, Devenio!!! Republicrats and Rethuglicans fully believe that they are exempt from all of their “moral” rules for others. It is simply amazing the list of “errant” Tea-publicans that have “errors” on their records… but then, who’s counting those?!?

    • Michael H.

      I’ve got news for you…that “substance free dorm” had plenty of pot smoking, booze drinking, coke sniffing and pill popping going on. I went to a “dry campus” school and the campus was anything but dry. You’re a fool to believe that your daughter is some little angel who can do no wrong.

      All options are on the table. Parents can opt their children out of the education program. It says so right in the article, which I’m guessing you did not read.

      Here’s another lesson. “Libs” are not perverts. We’re realists. Kids are full of raging hormones once they reach a certain age. Those hormones are a result of millions of years of evolution, driving them to do one thing: have sex like there’s no tomorrow. It is part of their biology. Teens and young adults WILL have sex. There’s no stopping it. Texas teaches abstinence only sex ed and, guess what, the teen pregnancy rate there is among the HIGHEST in the nation. Abstinence only education does NOT work. Children must be taught safe methods and to be smart when it comes to sexual activities. They’re going to do it. Would you like to know why? When you tell a kid not to do something THEY WANT TO DO IT MORE.

  • Pplrfunny

    In 2011 do people still honestly believe that teaching abstinence works? These people need to wake up and realize that kids are GOING TO HAVE SEX.. the point is to edicate them enough so they can make smart decisions… Abstinence doesn’t need to be taught- one would think its common sense that if you DONT have sex, you DONT gets stds or pregnant…

  • Karen Zuckerman

    I graduated from HS in 1976 and there was mandatory sex ed in Public Schools here. I had no idea that 35 years later that this could be an issue in NYC. Religion should have no part in our govt nor our Public School System.

  • Rodin

    Ignorance and lack of information forced upon education by religious intolerance and superstition is what “confuses young people.” Facts don’t.

  • Rodin

    “In Holland, they have come to precisely the same conclusion. There they have adopted a system of secular education, because they have found it impracticable to unite the religious bodies in any system of combined religious instruction.”
    British manufacturer and Radical and Liberal statesman

  • mak

    Why isn’t abstinence an option? It seems kind of self-evident. Don’t have sex before maturity and a kid doesn’t have to deal with all the repercussions from having sex too soon. No surprise pregnancies. No STD’s. No worrying who has been with who.

    I told my kids all the reasons they should wait to have sex but if they decide to do it, at least be responsible and use a condom.

    I must be the last person on earth that considers sex something special between two people.

    • Rodin

      Read the article.

  • TomNJ

    The media bombards us with sex continuously. No wonder everyone (including kids) think it is to be used as a pass time or something. How can we expect to teach abstinence in school when the media send a message that there is something wrong with you if you are not sexy. Just another reason kids look at adults as hypocrites.

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    Kids DO NEED the right facts…..But who are YOU (or THEY) to say what those facts are or WHEN they are “age appropriate”. It is the parents not the schools that should handle this aspect of life. On that note it is the parent’s fault if they do not stand up to their responsibilities.

    Feel sorry for Mike…

    • Mike

      Nope, sorry, there is a reason it is a mandatory school curriculum and not just left up to the parents. Because parents think religion is sufficient education in the department, and the only thing they teach the kids is that if they have sex before marriage they are going to hell and thats that. Then those kids are disowned when they come home pregnant.

      Let me tell you, this is a religious argument, and parents cannot choose their kid’s religion. I would rather make informed decisions anyway, and know the facts, instead of being treated like the withholding of information is going to make it easier for you to sway my mind on a topic.

    • Dakotahgeo, Pastor/Chaplain

      Mike may not know it but the majority of parents abdicated their responsibilities for raising their children years ago. As a former techer of 25 years, I “raised” my share of kids whose parents were stoned or sat in bars all night and day. The schools took over the responsibilities when the homes and churches refused to!!! Truth AND reality!!!

  • Mike

    Kids NEEEEED sex education. It is a RIGHT for them to understand what STD’s are, how pregnancy works, and how you can prevent all of it, be safe, and take care of yourself. All these christian kooks screaming abstinence can go live in mormon concentration camps, have their grandfathers children, and die.

  • Dakotahgeo

    I hate to put a bee in your bonnet but my cat loves lettuce and other vegetables so I wouldn’t be in too much of a hurry to enroll your cat in the sex-education program. He/she might learn something.
    The NYCBE has this subject quite under control and abstinence AND contraception are both stressed. Unstress, relax, and take a chill pill.
    Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

    Be sure and have YOUR pet spayed or neutered! ~Bob Barker~

  • Very conservative

    Think I have a better chance of getting my cats to eat lettuce than the board of ed has at getting this message through.

  • gjk

    i remember, being taught by the Sisters of Charity in a Catholic school, in the eighth grade a nun explained to us the Rythem Method of avoiding pregnancy. At the end of the lecture she explained there was a word to describe women who only used this method to keep from getting pregnant. They call them: mothers.

    • Vernon Hell

      Roman Catholicism is a false religion. Much of what is wrong in the world can be corrected by ABORTING THE PAPACY and REDUCING THE VATICAN TO RUBBLE!!!

      • Michael H.

        Roman Catholicism has just as much evidence of its god as all the other religions on this planet.

        That is: None

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