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June 25, 2018 11:34 am
This week on Family Policy Matters, NC Family President John Rustin interviews Janet Oehl, an activist with Onslow Protect Our Students. They discuss the fight against comprehensive sex education that was being pushed in her local school system, and how the success of a small grassroots movement has developed into a statewide organization dedicated to a similar mission.
No longer and that and that will need to be aware someone has inherent powers and then decide when and why not about the really most important event in human sexuality. This is only policy with NC family Pres. John Weston thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters. It's easy these days to feel like our culture is often at odds with many of the value as Christians hold dear. One of these areas where this is most evident. Often times is in the arena of education and when it comes to education. One of the most challenging topics can be the instruction presented to our kids about human sexuality today were joined by Janet old mom and military spouse whose life is really been dedicated to serving others, whether as a pediatric physical therapist or as a volunteer in her church and her local pregnancy care centers. Most recently, Janet worked with Onslow protect our students to educate the public about a comprehensive sex education curriculum that was being pushed in her local school system in her efforts and efforts of those that she worked with really made a big difference, but in fact the success of that small grassroots movement has developed into a statewide organization that's dedicated to a similar mission, which will talk about today. I Janet welcome the family policy matters. It's great to have you with us on the show can't crank my opportunity to quickly rent for your leadership in North Carolina and really helping to expose what comprehensive fact is we start a conversation. Tell us a little bit about Onslow protect our students how to discrete get started and what is your mission you are really informed parent in the public advocate for health education that promote an approach to sex education called sexual risk avoidance education and which prevent pregnancy and rated for sexually transmitted infection that started in on Cook County. We got started on the County schools had made a positive deficient had sexual risk avoidance education provided in their goal through a local agency pregnancy care center and through that Pentair sexual risk avoidance education specialist was providing the education different back in 2013, 14, and it was abruptly stopped in 2015 under some kind of obscure reason that we were were confused about that that Dr. Joe Worrall who actually really was the leader who started on the protect our students.
He he said he had a eureka moment in the fall of 2015 when in a newspaper article, he saw that there was going to be a kickoff for a new community program called North Carolina youth connected through a group called shift North Carolina and ended was inviting leaders in the community to meet the partners on the big thing was the goal was to reduce the extremely high teen pregnancy rates in the county and so Dr. Laura was really curious because he he was the board president of the pregnancy care center and he think I really what we do and we hadn't been invited to participate. He went to that meeting and get a wanted to bring him in as a part of the advisory group but then they found out that they really didn't have any decision-making ability with regard to what was going to be presented to the children and so he gathered some folks together and we began to do some research and what we found out was what what shift was and what comprehensive sex ed was and we realize that we wanted to stop it into some of the details about the difference between sexual risk reduction in sexual risk avoidance in the curriculum and the proposals that are out there… Let's take a little step back and talk about some of the state as a whole. How to sexuality education. Working North Carolina does every school district use the same curriculum. Would you all 115 local school systems get to choose for themselves what, curriculum they teach you know if it is not every school district and really that's a good think we'll just pick and choose which curriculum and which approached pay and what support that is our our law which art is our general statute and and also a clarifying law called the healthy youth act are HB 88 and that language in our law strongly supports sexual risk avoidance.
In fact, uploaded instruction must teach that abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage is the expected standard for all school age children and that a mutually faithful monogamous heterosexual relationship in the context of marriage is the best lifelong means of avoiding STDs, including HIV-AIDS. Listeners may not be aware of is that loan was actually enacted in the 1995, 1996 session of the nuclear Gen. assembly and actually served as the model for the federal abstinence education law which was passed soon thereafter so we had the statute in place for well over 20 years in North Carolina.
Janet, in your opinion, what role in this process should parents have in teaching their children about these topics and do you think our current law supports parents were works against them. Well, our law states that each school district must make available all the materials being presented to the children under this area of instruction for 60 days prior to being presented in the classroom and then also that if the parent reviews that materials they may opt out if they disagree with what they see.
I was like to speak directly to parents and guardians after having reviewed several curricula on comprehensive sex ed curricula and compared them with more of a risk avoidance approach to sex ed. I must say that we can no longer stand back and just let the schools choose. We need to be aware of what they're teaching and then we because parents are the best first and the best person to decide when their child is ready for this information and what to discuss about this really most important subject of human sexuality. Parents deserve to be informed and they deserve to have easy access to these materials and then if they don't like what they say they deserve a choice, but usually right now and unfortunately this means opting out sex ed and you know honestly, in spite of the law what were finding out is that most parents and citizens are unaware of the actual materials.
The videos are the PowerPoint that are being presented to the children. For instance, on an opt out form that comes home to the high schoolers and my County.
It's very vague information and the schools will list what the state standards are and and most people can agree on the state standard because they're very generalized when it comes right down to what's being put in front of the children's eyes can vary widely so I do have some recommendations for parents certainly go and view the sex ed materials are to be worth your time. Learn about this topic and and really develop what your belief is an end. Don't be afraid to talk to your children about it. They they won't want to talk about it, but you have to study show that parents are the most influential consideration for teens went when they are deciding to have sex or not it's what was presented by their parents and guardians listening to policy matters a resource to listen to our radio show online, and someone resources that will be a voice of persuasion in your community. Go to our website and see family.org Janet let's talk a little bit about the primary differences between comprehensive sex education which is you said is referred to now as sexual risk reduction versus abstinence education or sexual risk avoidance. All I do want parents to understand generally what the differences are between these approaches sure really. The primary difference is in the two approaches is how they view the sexual risk avoidance approach which comprehensive sex ed proponents would want to put us in a box and say it's just abstinence to say no and expect the kids to avoid sexual experimentation and that couldn't be further from the truth.
Sexual risk avoidance education is really a holistic approach that considers the whole team the whole child and addresses not only physical risk but but the emotional risk involved in sexual fermentation. It is science-based, with the goal of achieving optimal health, not just reducing the risks of obtaining fax sexual risk avoidance education uses a public health model known as primary prevention and this is the same thing used to discuss underage drinking and smoking among teens and it's totally appropriate for the risk behavior between sex. Some people might be surprised to hear that sexual risk avoidance education does share medically accurate information on contraception, but always within the broader conversation which emphasizes waiting for sex until they're older now, conversely, that the sexual risk reduction approach really has a view of teens that assumes that they can't or won't avoid sexual experimentation, which is in my mind very demeaning to teens because statistics show that during the last 25 years that the CDC has Statistics the rate of teen sex has actually gone down and down and down so that the sexual risk.
A debt reduction approach seems to be ignoring the statistics and and they they think teens can't or won't avoid sexual experimentation. The most of their time is spent reducing the risk of teen sex. The physical risk and focus so they focus on demonstrating the various contraception methods.
They actually teach how to give consent sexual activity and and negotiation skills for using contraception so I sexual risk reduction is a secondary prevention.
Remember I said the primary prevention is the risk avoidance approach with reduction is secondary prevention and so it's it's primary focus on increasing contraception in teens which really essentially normalizes teen sex great.
Thanks for that isolation. It's really helpful in understanding those approaches, no Janet, as we close director listeners to some helpful resources on one and also to North Carolina protect our students store up. This is our our website is a work in progress, so keep going back for updates.
I meant to get our website and then on any give a couple of other national websites that are really good.
Our website for North Carolina protect our students is North Carolina POS.com so North Carolina POS.com and then there's a link to the email address at the bottom of the main page and then another excellent website is we ascend.org so it spell WE.
A SC EMD.org and that shows everything about what sexual risk avoidance is not has 25 research studies showing significant behavioral changes to improve outcomes and then there's another website called sex ed report.org and that shows the failure of comprehensive comprehensive sex ed to achieve its stated goals and US public schools grade will the future website solution is North Carolina POS protect our students.com then of course we had guests on the show from a sandwich is a national group that does great great work in this arena and were so appreciative of them will budget all I want to thank you so much for being with us on family policy matters for the great insights that you provided to our listeners and also for the just the great work that you and others have done locally here in Onslow County that has served as an example for other communities across the state dealing with similar issues in this whole arena of human sexuality and how that is presented to or students in so thank you so much.
We are so grateful for all the time of about issues important to families in Carolina go to our website and see family.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook