Current sex-ed program has strong support

As a parent, I am deeply troubled that our elected school board continues to seek additional evaluations in their pursuit of alternative sex education curriculum material for our children.

This follows extensive community discussions in which hundreds of parents, community members, and professionals voiced their support of the Creating Positive Relationships (CPR) program. The board knows that the current curriculum is proven, highly respected, inclusive, and strongly supported in the community by the vast majority of students, teachers, taxpayers, and parents.

CPR fits perfectly within the optimal health model, and all children deserve to hear this message as it applies to everyone — regardless of orientation. It is also offered free to Vigo County schools as it is paid for by private donations, so where is the funding going to come from for a different program? Another tax increase? CPR also meets Indiana State’s DOE curriculum requirements.

Although a decision has not yet been made, by their continued “investigation”, and use of outside evaluators, it is apparent that they would like to make some changes despite overwhelming endorsement by the majority of VCSC teachers, parents, and the medical and psychological professionals in the community who spoke on behalf of CPR on July 6.

The opponents of the CPR program are wanting a “Comprehensive Sexuality Program” (CSE) to be taught to our children instead. There is no such thing as an abstinence based CSE, so adopting a CSE program is in direct defiance to Indiana’s Department of Education standard (20-30-5-13). All CSE’s are Risk Reduction programs which reach a narrow population, have been shown to increase risky behavior, and risk normalizing teen sex as an expected behavior. In contrast, Risk Avoidance programs are the highest standard of primary prevention for our youth and are used in many other public health interventions for our teens like drugs/alcohol, smoking/vaping, and show great results in increasing protective behaviors.

Harmful CSE materials are often deceptively disguised as programs to promote abstinence, family life, HIV prevention, sexual and reproductive health education, even anti-bullying programs.

The two alternative programs presented to the board are called, “Making a Difference”, and “Draw the Line”, both of which are actually CSE programs, despite their labeling as abstinence education programs. Both programs contain harmful elements found in CSEs. “Making a Difference” contains all 15 of the harmful elements, when even just one element indicates that the material is inappropriate for children. This curriculum cannot even be published in the paper, but can be viewed by following the link at www.comprehensivesexualityeducation.org/cse-materials-index/draw-the-line-respect-the-line.

Our children deserve the highest standards and best education we can offer them. Sexual Risk Avoidance programs provide that for our youth. CPR in particular contains helpful information for assisting teens and young adults in building healthy relationships. Learning about commitment, respect, character, compatibility, and signs of unhealthy relationships are things all of us should want our children to learn. By sharing information that gives our kids the best advantage, our youth and our community benefit immensely.

— Eileen Downing, Terre Haute

Doubly better to listen than speak 

The same six letters of our alphabet can be used to spell the words “silent” and “listen.”

The fact that we human beings were created with one mouth and two ears might lead one to believe that we are supposed to be silent and listen twice as much as we speak. Could it be said that we do not remain silent enough so that we can better listen to one another and thereby get along better?

— William Greenwell, Terre Haute

III

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