Pittsburgh Public Schools: Silencing Sex Education
In Pittsburgh public schools, teens aren\'t receiving the information they need to make healthy and responsible life decisions. Instead, the schools use an abstinence-only-until-marriage curriculum. U.S. government studies have shown that these programs are ineffective. Some actually deter teens who become sexually active from using condoms and birth control to protect themselves from unintended pregnancies and STDs. Pittsburgh schools are using a textbook called Totally Awesome Health. The text book relays fear and shame to our teens, informing them that \"being sexually active can affect [your] mental health. Stress can result from guilt that is associated with being sexually active,\" while never specifying what sexual activity is. In addition, the text never discusses how to use condoms or any other form of contraception. The text acknowledges only heterosexual, married families. This exclusion of all other families stigmatizes single parent families, gay and lesbian teens, the children of gay and lesbian parents, and other families. As a public institution, Pittsburgh public schools should support all families and students. Our teens need sex education that helps them to delay sex, protect their health, and prepare them to make healthy and responsible life decisions. By wide margins, Pennsylvania parents support this approach. Join us in telling the Pittsburgh school board to adopt a sex education curriculum that stresses the importance of waiting to have sex while providing medically accurate, age-appropriate, information about how to use contraceptives effectively to prevent unintended pregnancies and STDs, including HIV/AIDS. Please sign the petition below. We, the undersigned parents and community members, support medically-accurate, age-appropriate, comprehensive sexuality education that gives our teens the tools they need to make healthy and responsible life decisions. We strongly urge all abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula be removed from the public schools. We further urge the Pittsburgh Public School Board to implement sex education curricula that stresses the importance of waiting to have sex while providing medically accurate, age-appropriate, information about how to use contraceptives effectively to prevent unintended pregnancy and STDs.