Friday, June 26, 2009

Congratulations to North Carolina

North Carolina passed a bill mandating that 7-9th graders be taught both abstinence methods of contraception and STD prevention, and the governor is expected to sign it. This bill is different than the original proposed, which had required that all schools offer two sex ed classes that parents would choose between. This bill just allows parents to pull their children from the STD/pregnancy prevention portion of the class.

The current policy for the past 15 years has been that school districts that wish to teach birth control in school must go through a separate approval process to be able to teach birth control.

It is sad that no Republicans voted for the bill. I wonder whether there is any compromise legislation or any research that would convince Republicans to allow teaching birth control in schools.

The evidence from RAND's intervention to teach parents how to teach sex education to their adolescents finds that even with an 8 week program for these parents who volunteered to participate, the majority of parents STILL didn't teach their kids how to use condoms. And this is a group of parents cherry-picked for their motivation. Other parents would likely do worse. No matter what your ideals are about parents' duties towards their adolescents, the reality seems to be that if you want condom use to be taught, you have to put it in the schools. Or let them learn on youtube or in an STD clinic waiting room. Watching instructional videos in the waiting room of an STD clinic reduces the risk of repeat visits, after all.

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