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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

NEW JERSEY: Princeton Group Wants Alternative Sex Education Curriculum to Focus on Abstinence


NJ.Com (New Jersey) (12.16.2013) reported that a 15-member Princeton, N.J., group, Parents for Sex Ed Choice, has asked the Princeton School District to consider adding an alternate sex education curriculum that would emphasize delaying sexual activity until adulthood instead of focusing on safe sex and contraceptive use. Parents for Sex Ed Choice President Aileen Collins, whose four children would attend Princeton High School eventually, stated that she had reviewed the school district’s 900-page curriculum and was “shocked” by the curriculum’s language and graphics. Collins feared that topics, including condom use and “alternative sexual activities,” would cause psychological damage and promote promiscuity. The Princeton School District and 49 other New Jersey school districts have contracted with HiTOPS, a nonprofit Princeton group, to provide health and sex education to supplement health classes. HiTOPS adult educators teach two 45-minute lessons in Princeton High health classes annually. HiTOPS also trained Princeton High upperclassmen to teach sex education to freshmen and sophomores through the Teen Prevention Education Program (TeenPEP). Some districts that contracted with HiTOPS had only adult educators, while others also trained TeenPEP peer educators. Parents could choose to keep their children out of sex education classes at Princeton High School. Collins advocated that Princeton School District adopt “Yes You Can,” a sexual risk avoidance curriculum, as an alternative to the HiTOPS curriculum. Bonnie Lehet, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, responded that the Princeton School District had an ongoing review process that adopted curriculum changes over time. School Board President Timothy Quinn stated that the district’s student achievement committee reviewed the existing curriculum and would not add an alternative curriculum. HiTOPS Executive Director Elizabeth Casparian noted that HiTOPS’s curriculum emphasized abstinence as the most effective pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention. Advocates for Youth estimated that 9.1 million US teens have STIs and 850,000 become pregnant each year.


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Information in this article was accurate in December 16, 2013. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.