2008-07-18 / Top Stories

Senate Democrats Back Statewide Sex Education Initiative

Senate Democrats urge Republican-led Senate to pass the Healthy Teens Act to fund sex education at local schools. With the report that six out of ten high school students are having sex before their senior year, Senate Democrats, parents, educators and child health care advocates pushed for bipartisan passage of the Healthy Teens Act to provide a comprehensive sex education curriculum in public schools.

The Healthy Teens Act would set up a local-option grant program through the state Department of Health to fund comprehensive, age appropriate and medically accurate sexuality education. Individual school districts, boards of cooperative education services, school-based health centers and local community-based organizations would be eligible to apply for money to be determined by the legislature.

Senate Education Committee Ranking member Senator Suzi Oppenheimer (D-Mamaronack) said that the Healthy Teens Act is needed because it opens up the door for targeted and responsible discussion of both abstinence and contraception, coupled with parental involvement, and will reverse erroneous information exchanges each day by teens in the hallways of our school.

Senator Oppenheimer, joined by Senators Craig Johnson (D-Long Island) and Velmanette Montgomery (DBrooklyn), called on the Senate majority to pass legislation to fund comprehensive age-appropriate sex education at public schools through the state.

Key parts of the comprehensive Healthy Teens Act include parental involvement and encourage family communication; promote self-esteem and the importance of making responsible decisions about sexuality; promote the 'value of abstinence'; and provide medically accurate information about sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy prevention. Studies report 90 percent of parents say they don't know how to talk to their kids about sex. Healthy Teens programs would be developed with input from parents and family members.

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