Shenendehowa board approves sex ed options

Planned Parenthood could resume longtime role in district program

Wednesday, August 29, 2012
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— A list of controversial sex education recommendations was approved Tuesday night by the Shenendehowa Central School District Board of Education.

The recommendations, developed by a 19-member committee that included teachers, administrators, clergy and parents, continue to stress abstinence as the “healthiest choice for teens’ overall mental and physical health.” But the recommendations also open the door for Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson Inc. to again be involved in the district’s sex education program.

One of the recommendations is to explore opportunities for the district to “host evening workshops where representatives from Sexual Risk Avoidance and/or Comprehensive Sexual Education Programs (such as those offered by Planned Parenthood) can present information to parents, students, and families that reinforces what is taught at Shenendehowa.”

A group of concerned parents, who maintain that abstinence from sex is the best and only healthy option for students, successfully lobbied to remove Planned Parenthood educators from teaching a three-day portion of the district’s sex education unit last fall. Planned Parenthood had presented these class sections at Shenendehowa for nearly 20 years.

The concerned parents said they were unhappy with the advisory committee report when it was released in June because the resulting curriculum would present abstinence and having sex as two options rather than presenting abstinence as the best and only healthy option.

At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, the health advisory recommendations and full report were approved by the five board members present — two were unable to attend. School board member Gary DiLallo said he appreciated the “intense involvement of the community” in the health education issue. DiLallo said the debate and resulting advisory recommendations have resulted in “something of greater value to the district.”

Paul Drisgula, co-president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson Inc., who attended the school board meeting with other members of his staff, said his educators would participate in evening workshops “as they are made available.”

“Planned Parenthood educators have added value to sex education programs at Shenendehowa for nearly 20 years,” Drisgula said. “This proposal, approved by the Board of Education, allows that relationship to continue.”

Drisgula said another advisory council recommendation notes that it remains the role of the teachers and administrators “to determine whether or not guest speakers will be used to enhance the curriculum.” Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson Inc. would like to provide such guest speakers if given the opportunity, Drisgula said.

L. Oliver Robinson, superintendent of the 9,800-student district, said administrators will now have to study the two pages of recommendations to “see what’s feasible.” He said some of the recommendations will be included in the district’s budget development process.

“The [district’s] health teachers are doing a great job, and I’m completely comfortable with our program as it is now,” said board member Andrew McCarty.

Fellow board member Janet Grey said she was “hesitant” about the recommendation that the district host evening workshops. She said she had no issue with allowing outside groups the opportunity, space and time to host health education workshops, but thinks it may not be appropriate for the district to host them.

Robinson said the district hosting such workshops could be an issue because of strict requirements on how the district uses its facilities.

“We want to make sure it is not violating a law or violating board policy,” Robinson said.

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August 29, 2012
5:30 a.m.
Cortsmom87 says...

I just have one the parents that are opposed to Planned Parenthood have a presence in the district truly believe that their perfect son's and daughter's are NOT going to be having sex or even thinking about it??. Come out of your dream world,. leave Abercrombie behind and come to reality. What did THEY do in high school??

August 29, 2012
8:31 a.m.
J.D. says...

I'll just refer you to this...a congressional report that just came out in July showing that abstinence ed is the superior approach to Comprehensive sex ed...

We've had decades of comprehensive sex ed and all we have to show for it is the highest teen pregnancy rate of every nation in the entire developed world and also the highest STD rate in the entire developed world. And b4 you blame abstinence programs, Comp. sex ed programs out funded abstinence programs by 75% at abst. programs highest funding.

The Shen parents coalition was right...the Shen health advisory council ignored the science and favored ideology.

August 29, 2012
11:18 a.m.
Cortsmom87 says...

JD TY for your very eductional links -but like I said - welcome to real world.

August 29, 2012
12:43 p.m.
J.D. says...

I guess you didn't understand my point about the US having the highest teen preg rates and highest STD rates...teens in other countries are not experiencing the teen pregnancy rates not the STD rates that we are. They can abstain.

England has the highest teen pregnancy rates and STD rates in Europe...they've been pushing the same type of sex ed we have...and their national health care system also provides contraceptives free. The last link I provided shows it's not working.

Absolutely, kids are going to do it anyway...the information in "Hooked" regarding neuroscience and how it shows the effects of teen sex shows how chemicals in the brain released during sexual activity are habit forming. However, this is a parental supervisory problem, not a sex ed problem...unfortunately parents are not up to date w/ the latest information and Planned Parenthood isn't about to tell them.

Sexual Risk Avoidance programs tell the truth to kids about the limitations of condoms, especially w/ STD's. The latest studies show that even w/ correct and consistent use, the condom only provides 80% protection against HIV, 50-70% protection against Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphillis (some studies showing no protection for women), 30% protection for herpes...

Are you getting this?

Planned Parenthood and the comprehensive sex ed programs they advocate are telling students that sex w/ a condom is "responsible" and "safe" when it isn't. Kids are being lied to and Planned Parenthood profits from treating their sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.

Students deserve the truth which is what SRA programs deliver.

August 29, 2012
12:46 p.m.
J.D. says...

In 2005, the World Health Organization ascertained that the birth control pill is carcinogenic. Those most at risk are young women before their first full term pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood did not admit there was a pill/breast cancer link until this year, seven years later.

August 29, 2012
12:49 p.m.
J.D. says...

Young women are at a higher risk of contracting STD's due to an immature cervix. That's not mentioned by Planned Parenthood. If you go to NYS DOH, you will see that it is young women predominantly being diagnosed w/ STD's. The CDC states that 1 out of 4 teen girls (ALL girls, not just sexually active) has an STD, and they also state that the majority of 15-17 yr. olds are abstaining. Do the math.

August 29, 2012
3:29 p.m.
Cortsmom87 says...

JD Guess YOU did not understand. I said thank you for the education- You must be very very bored.

August 29, 2012
4:14 p.m.
J.D. says...

I care that kids are being exploited.

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