Sunday, October 11, 2009

Abstinence Program on BOE Agenda

On Tuesday, the Board of Education will consider a program that advocates the postponement of sexual activity until marriage.

The Work & Study Meeting is at 8 p.m. at the Administration Building, 1200 Myrtle Ave.

The board will be asked to approve a contractual agreement between district schools and the Central Jersey Community Development Corporation to conduct the "Teens Abstaining Positioning Self" program based on the "Why Am I Tempted?" or WAIT program. There will be no cost to the district. If moved to the agenda, the matter will be up for a vote on Oct. 20.

This kind of program is not without controversy, as a spin around the interwebs reveals.

The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) has reviewed various abstinence programs. Click here for its review of WAIT training. According to a state-by-state report on funding for such programs, those in New Jersey received $4 million in federal Community Based Abstinence Education funding last year.

According to a 2007 state Department of Health and Senior Services report, adolescent pregnancy has declined, but in 2003, 7,209 teens gave birth, nearly 90 percent outside marriage. Becoming a teen parent has many adverse consequences, the report states, including the likelihood of having another teen birth. The report advocates a shift from dealing with the consequences of teen pregnancy to community education on its prevention.

A search for Central Jersey Community Development Corporation brings up the web site of First Baptist Community Development Corporation. Click here for details of an upcoming event.

If approved, the Teens Abstaining Positioning Self program will be offered at Hubbard and Maxson middle schools, the Barack Obama Academy for Academic and Civic Development and Plainfield High School. It will be conducted in 12 sessions to students in grades 7, 8 and 9.

--Bernice Paglia


Blogger Maria Pellum, Plainfield Resident said...

Wow! I just read the SIECUS review and it's scary to think that this item is even on the agenda. While I am for abstinence until teens reach a "mature age" whatever that might be, I am also for fully informed sex-ed without the shame factor.

Plainfield kids deserve better than this.

Let's see what this BOE is made of, the adoption, or not, of this program will be a telltale of which way is PPS going. Academics and good grades are not all that make a good school district.

Thanks Bernice for bringing this up.

7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Students need to be given information on protecting themselves from STDs and HIV/AIDS as well as pregnancy through the use of condoms, primarily. How such a program would be implemented in Plainfield remains to be seen, but according to what I've read thus far, it seems to be very gender-biased and heterosexist. We need to make sure that the gay and lesbian kids in our schools are not made to feel as if there is something wrong with their choices--looking at the materials, there is a pro-marriage agenda here, and I don't mean pro-gay marriage. Abstinence education can be valuable, but only if it is coupled with a realistic approach that includes ways that sexually active teens can protect themselves through the use of condoms, etc.


9:22 AM  
Blogger Colleen Gibney said...


I agree with Maria and Rebecca. I feel that a strong classroom foundation in the sciences, especially biology/human reproduction and disease prevention, in tandem with support for the creation of vivid life goals is much more powerful than 'abstinence education'. Let's not settle for slogans in the schools, however well-intentioned.

10:14 AM  
Blogger olddoc said...

SIECUS is not a government agency but has been in existence for many years with a well oriented mission.

Its review of the "Wait" program should be read by all members of the BOE before even considering such a fear mongering shame provoking program in lieu os of sexual education and personality responsibility programs taught without religious or personal predudices pro or con.

We should not dis the ability of 7th graders up to make intelligent choices when fairly presented and not as a challenge for them against society a normal reaction as all will remember from their own youth.

This program represents the same type of ill formed personal agendas that leads to "book burnings" and similar attempts to mold the minds of our youngsters.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

I too would LOVE to believe that abstinence is a viable option. Perhaps marrying ( see the play on words ??? ) both education / health with abstinence education would help. But the simple "fertilized egg" conversation has got to occur for sure especially by parents.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am concerned that the churches, either directly or indirectly (through members) will put pressure on the school district to implement this type of program.

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calm down, people. The school district has been offerring a similar program to students for years. There are teen parents in the district and programs for support and prevention have been available to them. This is about education. Without these types of programs students will continue to lack the information to make good decisions when it comes to sex. Ooops. I said the bad word.

7:39 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home