Target: Florida Department of Education
Goal: Reform Florida sex education standards to reduce instances of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections
Florida’s public schools are failing to protect their students. Recent information indicates that Florida has the second highest teen abortion rate, the second highest AIDS rate, and that Floridians between the ages 15-24 experience higher incidences of sexually transmitted infections than most other states.
Florida is one of the two states in which it is not mandated that public schools provide sexual health education. In addition to this, Florida’s state statutes require that whenever instruction is given, the instruction must emphasize that abstinence until heterosexual marriage is the expected standard. Recent research on abstinence-only programs found they they are not effective in reducing teen pregnancy, delaying sexual initiation, or reducing sexually transmitted infections. In fact, a study done by the University of Georgia indicates that states that prescribe abstinence-only sex ed have significantly higher teenage pregnancy rates than states that provide more comprehensive sex education.
Both sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy are debilitating — they cause students to drop out of school and have children before they can adequately take care of them. Situations like these take an emotional and physical toll on all involved. These negative consequences can be reduced. It is naive to assume that students will abstain from sex because they were taught to do so. Instead, students should be provided with information that not only helps them make an educated decision about their sexual activity, but helps them protect themselves if they do choose to engage in sexual acts.
Florida needs to raise its state standards to not only require that sex education be part of public school curriculum, but also to ensure a more comprehensive version of sex ed is taught. Sign this petition and demand that Florida give students the information they need.
Dear Florida Board of Education,
Your current stance on sexual health education is harming Florida students. Currently, Florida has the 2nd highest rate of teen pregnancies and a rate of sexually transmitted infections that is far above than the national average. These statistics are indicators that the current statutes regarding sex ed are failing.
Not requiring that sex ed be taught in public schools and enforcing abstinence-only standards makes it much more likely that students who engage in sexual activity will contract sexually transmitted infections, experience unwanted teen pregnancy, or both. Countless studies have proven that comprehensive sex education that includes methods of contraception reduces instances of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Given the inevitability that teens will engage in sexual activity, it is essential that they are given the correct information and tools to protect themselves. You are doing a disservice to students and families by neglecting to provide them the sexual health education they need.
I ask you to please reconsider abstinence-only education and to mandate that sexual health education be part of the curriculum of all Florida public schools.
[Your Name Here]