Target: Joi Wasill, founder of Decisions, Choices and Options
Goal: Stop giving biased and misleading sex education presentations in public schools
A student in Tennessee recently recorded a sex education presentation full of innacurate and politically biased information. The presentation was led by founder of the nonprofit Decisions, Choices and Options, Joi Wasill, and Beth Cox, a member of the Sumner County School Board and presenter for Wasill’s organization. Wasill, a former marketing teacher at a Tennessee high school, said she founded her organization after God spoke to her, urging her to promote her “pro-life” beliefs.
The presentation included inaccuracies about sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, pregnancy, and infertility. Wasill and Cox blatantly lied to the children, saying “there’s a new STD that they’re saying is gonna be the new AIDS. It’s deadly and it’s and it’s fast.” These remarks about a new, deadly STD are not supported by any medical evidence.
They also exaggerated the failure rate of condoms, insisting to the children that condoms frequently break, tear, and have holes in them. According to the presentation, condoms have a failure rate of about 14 percent. In reality, breakage and slippage rates are estimated to occur somewhere between 1.6 and 3.6 percent of the time.
Myths such as the ones perpetuated in this presentation can have very negative effects on teen sexual health and safety. Condom failure significantly increases if the condom is not put on properly, and instead of teaching these students how to use condoms and other forms of protection, these presenters are perpetuating misinformation about their functions.
A Vanderbilt University physician listened to the tapes recorded by a student and deemed the presentation “not entirely accurate,” but Wasill still defended the presentation, stating “I’m an educator. Just as with any educator, my personal opinions and personal faith do not come out in my presentation.”
The content of the presentation suggests Wasill is far from an educator. Perpetuating myths about sex and sexuality is very harmful, and abstinence-only sex education does not give young people the resources or knowledge they need to have healthy, safe sex. Tell Wasill to stop giving these misleading presentations and start providing facts.
Dear Joi Wasill,
The content of your resent presentation at a Tennessee high school was leaked to the press by a student who recorded the session. The tapes expose your presentation for what it really is: a mixture of misleading myths and misinformation about sex, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, and contraceptives.
Lying to impressionable young people is unacceptable. If you were truly an educator as you claim to be, you would be providing these students with the resources and knowledge they need to have safe, healthy sex. Abstinence-only sex education can be harmful, as it does not teach students how to use condoms or other forms of protection and contraceptives and also frequently marginalizes students who do not identify as heterosexual.
Stop giving these untruthful presentations in public schools. You are instilling fear in these students about sex instead of providing them with the facts. I urge you to stop using sex education as a platform for perpetuating your political biases and pro-life agenda.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: trec_lit via Flickr