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6 Steps to Help Parents Get Abstinence Education  into Your Schools


1. START SMALL. "When you go to pick up a report card, bring with you a sample of an excellent curriculum that has worked," suggests a Chicago mom. "Then offer to bring a speaker in just one class."


2. USE MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS. Doctors and nurses have an easier time getting into schools because of their scientific credibility and real-life experiences.


3. FORM A COALITION. "Don't be the only voice," says Libby Macke of Project Reality, a federally funded abstinence program in Illinois. "Because it is too easy for [the school] to say 'no' to one 'crazy' parent."

4. LEARN THE LAW. "When [school administrators] see you know the law," says a FL mom, "they don't want the attention that they aren't doing what they are supposed to be doing."


5. OFFER FREE RESOURCES. "That's the best selling point," says Project Reality, "when you can offer a positive choice to schools at no extra cost."


6. TALK TO LEGISLATORS. Keep lawmakers up to date on recent studies showing abstinence works – and send them letters of appreciation from schools in their own district using abstinence education, notes the Chicago mom.

For the entire article, visit 




Winning the Debate Over Abstinence Education

Parents who got abstinence teaching in their schools — and pushed Planned Parenthood out — say the talking points below were most persuasive.

Parents who got abstinence teaching in their schools — and pushed Planned Parenthood out — say the talking points below were most persuasive.


"Stop sexualizing our young children".
Explicit sex talk "desensitizes" the 9-, 10- and 11-yearolds, said a New York mom who helped get explicit sex-ed removed from local elementary schools.


"Let's raise the bar for kids, not lower it."
When liveral school board members pushed for graphic sex ed, a New York mom encouraged parents to "raise the standard for our kids  by talking about respect and responsibility for one's body rather than sink down to the lowest common denominator."


"We want equal time."
This works in school districts where Planned Parenthood is already entrenched, according to Joneen Krauth [executive director of Wait Training abstinence program in Denver]. "Don't just go in there whining and complaining; have something else to offer as a solution."


"We want a balanced curriculum."
Parents in Montgomery County, MD, used this talking point to defeat curriculum that was biased on the issue of homosexualtiy. "We were not advocating for strict religious views or even th get all sex education out," said a father who spoke to the school board. "We were advocating for a balanced curriculum that did not discriminate against any parent and child," including those who believe homosexuality is unhealthy.


"We are talking about our kids' health – not religion."
Opponents try to marginalize abstinence as being a taboo religious topic, so "stress that we want our teens to make healthier choices that will allow them to reach their goals," says Stan Hovey [president, AZ Partners for Abstinence Education]. "Don't let them sidetrack you. If they want to know what you position is on…a 'woman's right to choose,' just say, 'We focus on abstinence.'"


"The statistics show 'safe-sex' isn't working."
Use your county's statistics on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and out-of-wedlock pregnancies as evidence for the value of abstinence education. "You can stand up and say, 'Do we as parents really want this many STDs in our own community?'" suggested LeAnna Benn [director of Teen-Aid Inc., an abstinence program based in WA state]. For information on state laws and county statistics, visit


"Abstinence education is based on facts, not fear."
Abstinence education adresses "the very real, every day failure rate of condoms, rather

than relying on theoretical laboratory tests," says Focus on the Family sexual health analyst Linda Klepacki.


"The majority of parents want abstinence education."
If school officials act like you're a fanatic, point out that you're in the majority. A poll conducted by Zogby International found that parents support abstinence-centered sex education and oppose condom-based programs.

Persuading your school board to abandon unhealthy sex education is one thing; making sure the board adopts real abstinence curricula is another. Some programs claim to teach abstinence but also encourage condom use and other sexual practices that many parents consider inappropriate.

Here's a checklist for distinguishing the appropriate from the inappropriate.


A Real Authentic Abstinence Curriculum:

  • Encourages students to remain abstinent until marriage, not just until they "fell like having sex" or until they think they "are ready".
  • Talks about saving sex for a spouse, rather than a partner.
  • Urges students to avoid risk, not just reduce risk.
  • Emphasizes abstinence rather than just mentions it. "Ask what percentage of the curriculum is spent on abstinence," says LeAnna Benn [Teen-Aid].
  • Discusses condom failure rates rather than condom instruction.
  • Encourages parental involvement.

For more tips on how to evaluate curricula, visit:

To view this entire article, visit

["Counting to Six", "Getting the Bad Stuff Out", Candi Cushman, Citizen, 10/05; Family Resources Center News, 3/06]