NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York City comptroller’s office said not all middle and high school students are being taught sex education as required by law.
As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, a report by Comptroller Scott Stringer said the city’s sex education program is “inconsistent and out of date compared with other major American cities,” but worse, the city has failed to comply with state law requiring one semester of comprehensive health education.
“Only 57 percent of eighth grade students completed the state mandated requirement of one semester of health taught during the middle school years,” Stringer said.
Stringer’s audit also found that 88 percent of middle schools and high schools in the city do not have a licensed health education teacher – with most of them being middle schools. Also, in middle and high schools, 97 percent of health instructors are not licensed, the audit said.
Further, only 7.6 of all health instructors participated in any professional development related to sex education within the last two years, the report said.
Meanwhile, 4 percent of New York City teenagers reported sexual dating violence over a period of 12 months in a 2015 survey, and while teen pregnancy rates have dropped citywide in recent years, they remain high in parts of the city. Teen pregnancy rates in the Bronx are the highest in the state, the audit said.
The audit added that chlamydia and gonorrhea have been inching up since 2015 among New York City teenagers after declining following peaks in 2011. Further, the audit said, LGBTQ youth are more likely to engage in risk behaviors that contribute to attempted suicide and substance abuse, and are at increased risk for homelessness, the report said.
The report called on city schools to endure all secondary health instructors are certified. The report also called on schools clarify and expand the current sex education requirement to mandate sexual health and wellness instruction in grades 6 through 12, and also to expand the mandate so that grades kindergarten through 5 follow the National Sexuality Education Standards.
The report further called for improved evaluation and public reporting methods on sexual education programs, and an expansion to all schools of volunteer School Wellness Councils that provide oversight and emphasize the importance of sexual education.
Finally, the report called on the city to coordinate school sex education programs with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.