An organization called American Atheists is livid about a public school sex education class in the Wooster City School District in Wooster, Ohio. It seems they hired the religious Pregnancy Care Center of Wayne County to come in and teach the students. The Pregnancy Care Center of Wayne County is like many “crisis pregnancy” centers around the country that provide zero information about emergency contraception or abortion services, nor do they provide testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or even give information about STD prevention. Their religion based center teaches one thing and one thing only: don’t have sex.
A parent of an 8th grader filed a formal complaint about the program to the school district and the American Atheists organization followed with a letter of concern about the religiously motivated instruction saying:
The parent told American Atheists that she contacted Wooster High School on or about October 30, 2015, and spoke with Associate Principal Andrew Bratcher to complain about not being informed ahead of time about the pregnancy center representative speaking to the class. The parent was informed by Mr. Bratcher that this was an annual event for the class.
The fact that this is an “annual event for the class” is not an excuse not to inform parents who might be new to the district or who whose 8th grader is the eldest child and thus doesn’t know about the program. For most sex-ed classes, parents are generally told ahead of time and some parents sit in on the class to ensure conservatives aren’t indoctrinating youth with lies such as the one in the Wooster High School.
“Parents should expect schools to provide students with factual information about every subject,” Amanda Knief, American Atheists National Legal and Public Policy Director said. “To see that students have been lied to about their options if they are sexually assaulted and lied to about how to protect themselves from STDs is appalling. Without providing accurate information, the school is putting students’ lives at risk.”
Since the school is government funded, having a single religious education program isn’t entirely legal. It sets Wooster High School up to get their asses sued if they don’t provide equal time to a non-religious entity. According to the letter, it seems the principal is being a little difficult.
The parent called the school again on November 3, 2015, this time speaking to Associate Principal Nolan Wickard about the factually inaccurate information given to the students and asking if a health care provider or representative from the Wooster Health Center, a Planned Parenthood clinic, could address the class about STD prevention and alternatives to unwanted pregnancy. The parent had already contacted both a nurse and the clinic to ensure their availability. Mr. Wickard refused, telling the parent such information would not be presented to the students.
The letter goes on to reveal the disturbing “facts” the pregnancy center was telling the teens:
- The only option in the event of an unwanted pregnancy is adoption.
- Marriage prevents STDs.
- You shouldn’t have children unless you’re married.
Apparently it was pretty much like this:
According to the Bylaws & Policies of The Wooster City School District, instructional activities that “advance … any particular religion or religion generally” are forbidden. Awkward.
Programs such as these have been proven time and time again to be ineffective at helping students. Further, they can increase STD rates because students aren’t well equipt to protect themselves. It would be outstanding if students in Wooster High School could have the medically accurate information to make their own informed decisions instead of being lied to. Since this is an institution of education, it’s only fair that education actually exist and not propaganda.
Feature image via Wikimedia commons.