East Bay Express (01.01.2014)
East Bay Express reported that more than half of Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) high school students received no sex education in 2012, in spite of California state policy that required public schools to provide comprehensive sex education, according to the Oakland-based reproductive health organization Forward Together. State policy mandated sex education that was “medically accurate, science-based, and age appropriate,” and free of gender, sexual orientation, race, and ethnic bias. Instruction should address delaying sexual activity and teach about condoms and other contraceptives.
Since state budget cuts diminished sex education instruction, organizations such as Peer Health Exchange, Girls Inc., and Planned Parenthood have attempted to fill the gaps. However, teen pregnancy and chlamydia rates have increased in Oakland, which reported the highest chlamydia incidence in Alameda County.
Forward Together developed a report on OUSD sex education based on focus groups and a survey of more than 500 OUSD high school students. According to the 2012 document, “Let’s Get It On,” school was the only place that some students—especially Asian-Americans and LGBTQ students—received any sex education at all. Forward Together presented the report to OUSD and received positive response.
Curtiss Sarikey, associate superintendent of OUSD’s Family, Schools, and Community Partnerships department, noted that OUSD has received a $269,118 CDC grant that will help the district launch a comprehensive sex education initiative that will, among other goals, meet the needs of both LGBTQ students and students who are differently abled. Sarikey stated that a comprehensive sex education program also could address violence reduction by teaching skills to cope with emotional issues associated with sexual encounters. This would frame sex education as a means to prevent bullying and violence and to promote trust. OUSD already has implemented an evidence-based sex education curriculum, “Making Proud Choices,” for middle school students.