Abstinence-Only? Take Action!
Did you know that, despite a good (“if/then”) law supporting comprehensive sex ed, Colorado still accepts federal funding for abstinence-only programming*? These programs must adhere to the federal definition of abstinence, which includes instruction that “teaches that sexual activity outside the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.”
Colorado has no centralized way – or accountable state agency whose job is – to determine what is being taught, exactly, in the classroom. Colorado Youth Matter has conducted two statewide snapshots but ultimately learned that the best way to find out what young people are learning is to ask young people, their parents and other trusted adults to ask their schools and districts.
Through our Family Resources portal you’ll find sample letters to support, request or complain about the sex ed (or lack thereof) that is happening near you. There are lots of great schools using comprehensive sexual health education curricula and more and more are interested in using programs that align with our state law. We want to celebrate the good work and remain vigilant about the absence of comprehensive sex ed or worse, the use of incomplete and inaccurate information about sexual health. ALL Colorado youth deserve access to age-appropriate and comprehensive information about their sexual health!
For now, here’s a great blog post by a mom and realtor in Mesa, AZ who used her professional platform to share her concerns about her school’s use of an abstinence-only curriculum. Inspiration!
*For those of you who are just arriving to this conversation, please note that Colorado Youth Matter supports the teaching of abstinence as a part of an overall effective conversation – and not just a curriculum – about sexual health.