Local Politics

Bill Would Change Sex Education Curriculum in N.C. Classrooms

Posted May 16, 2007

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— A bill that would expand the scope of sex education in North Carolina public schools is firing up those for it and those against it.

Raleigh Catholic Diocese Monsignor Michael Clay delivered a letter to lawmakers opposing House Bill 879, which would modify the state's current policy on the matter to promote safe-sex practices.

Clay said the current abstinence-before-marriage curriculum should not be changed.

"Why would children need to be exposed to this kind of language and these kinds of graphic depictions?" he said.

Despite calls for abstinence, more than 60 percent of high school seniors say they have had sex, according to the bill.

Supporters say the changes supplement the abstinence philosophy with more information.

Rep. Ty Harrell, D-Wake, says sex education varies in schools when it comes to contraception and sexually transmitted diseases. He wants more comprehensive courses everywhere and argues the proposed change promotes abstinence, but acknowledges reality.

"The actuality is kids are doing it," Harrell said. "And if they are going to do it, let's not keep our heads in the sand."

The church complains legislation is dangerous because it promotes tolerance of other sexual orientation and crosses out the words "abstinence before marriage."

"Any other relationships outside of that would be considered immoral on our part," Clay said.

Teen pregnancy rates are dropping and some surveys show most parents oppose more comprehensive sex education when they see the curriculum.

"What this bill would do is completely throw out that message and replace it with one that promotes condoms and contraceptive use and also alternative sexual behaviors," said John Rustin with the North Carolina Family Policy Council.

With a long history of contentious debate, conservative groups are lining up to fight the broader sex education mandate. Supporters counter that information, not denial, is the best protection for teens.

"Let's be aware that they're going to be sexually active and that they need to be protected," Harrell said.

Some critics say if North Carolina alters its sex education policy, it could lose millions in federal school funding.

111 Comments

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  • Gottalovemy4dogs May 17, 2007

    Thanks to all those who have posted with logical and reasonable thoughts about sex education. Teenage sex has been going on for generations which means we all should have learned from history. Teenagers are going to have sex and I'd rather them do it armed with knowledge on how best to prevent life long consequences such as AIDS or an unplanned pregnancies. This is 2007, we see sex everyday in the news, papers, magazines and on TV. I, like most adults on here, can appreciate that no sex for teens is better but most teens will not here tell of it. Better safe than sorry. Safe sex practiced by kids who would have sex anyway would cut down on diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

  • yukonjohn3 May 17, 2007

    I can see that no one is going to change anyone else's mind here on this subject. I am glad to see people on here that use reason and some logic in making their opinions. And, yes, you can define it any way you want, but kids ARE going to have sex, ones raised IN the church and those who are NOT. At least part of them are going to be armed with knowledge which will possibly make the difference in the number of abortions and unwanted children being brought into this world.

  • Voice of Reason 23 May 17, 2007

    "My 'license to fornicate' is the ring around my finger, and it should be so for everyone else."

    Fortunately, you aren't the surpreme dictator of the universe, and can't decide other people choices about their sexuality for them. I agree that it's probably healthier for people to be in a committed relationship before they have sex, but that's really their choice, isn't it? Why must you people always try to impose your morals on others and force them to live the way you choose to live?

  • I hear voices May 17, 2007

    Honestly, how many of you married folks were virgins when you got married? How many non-married folks on the forum are still virgins? I had pre-marrital sex and so did the majority of my friends. Yes I do regret it now that I'm older but if someone had told me this I would have laughed and kept going. Oh, wait, My mom did tell me this and I still didn't listen. I can only pray that I don't have any children that I don't know about running around.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx May 17, 2007

    "I wouldn't give a car to a child under 16, i wouldn't give a condom to a child under 18, i wouldn't give a beer to a child under 21. We have laws for a reason, if you don't like it, change them"

    But you don't have to "give" teenagers hormones and sexuality - they have plenty of their own, thank you.

    "Grow a spine, put your foot down, and say "It's wrong!!"

    You can stamp your foot and shout "It's wrong" until the cows come home but apparently 60% of high schoolers disagree.

    Just knowing something is "wrong" doesn't keep us from doing it anyway.

  • CarolinaK May 17, 2007

    I think we've run into the crucial difference between the pro-sex-ed and the anti-sex-ed. It's this idea that all you have to do is tell kids "no sex". If anybody has sex and get's pregnant, the response is "Oh well, sucks to be you, have fun in hell." Which is why we have a growing AIDS problem, and teen pregnancies. I'll take "prevention" over "punishment" any day. If we can teach people about their own bodies, BEFORE they get started with sex, we can prevent a lot of misery.

    Oh, and as for the idea of "no sex until 18", seeing as how the age of consent in this state is 16, I think you're going to have some pretty ticked-off 17 year olds.

  • Voice of Reason 23 May 17, 2007

    They tried to teach them not to do it. It doesn't work. They do it anyways. I'm not saying that we should encourage them to have sex, but to give them the ability to stay safe when they do. Definitely teach them not to have sex, but when that doesn't work (as it doesn't for 60% of kids) what's your backup plan? STDs and pregnancy?

  • Pirattitude May 17, 2007

    My "license to fornicate" is the ring around my finger, and it should be so for everyone else. Just becuase people are "doing it" doesn't mean we need to accept that! Grow a spine, put your foot down, and say "It's wrong!!" Whether or not think premarital sex is ok, surely no one thinks babies having babies is a good thing. That being said, having sex is like russian roulette with a thousand different consequences in the chambers of the gun. Why tell them its ok to play the game if they're wearing body armor? Why not just say "Sorry guys, its not ok, we will enforce punishment if you do it".... Oh, thats right, becuase you're all cowards who think that its infringing on someone's civil liberty to tell them not to do something stupid, my bad. Stand up for whats right and tell kids not to do it. Period. If they do it, let them hang by their consequences. Mistakes should have consequences, don't take those away or this country's pandemic will continue.

  • Pirattitude May 17, 2007

    "I'm trying to figure out how this system of yours would work. By your logic, since children can't drive until they're 16, we would have to forbid any kind of drivers education. Then when they're 16 we'd just toss them the keys and say "Here, you figure it out."" ~K
    I'm not condoning ZERO education, but they should be the appropriate age. In my world, when a child is 15 they go through driver's ed, then sixteen they are educated enough to pass a test. That wouldn't be such a bad idea for kids either! A license to fornicate! Anyone caught practicing without a license (and we're talking circumstantial evidence) there should be a fine, just like driving or smoking underage. Whats the difference? You're being silly to say that "hey they're gonna do it anyway, better just put tools in their hands". I wouldn't give a car to a child under 16, i wouldn't give a condom to a child under 18, i wouldn't give a beer to a child under 21. We have laws for a reason, if you don't like it, change them

  • casper May 17, 2007

    Correct me if Im wrong but I think sex has been around since the begining. Oh wait Mary was a virgin I forgot. I still think 5th grade is alittle early, I Thought they still had coodies..

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