We are continuing our review of some of the speakers and content at our Convention on April 2, in no particular order of their appearance at the event.
In November 2015, the Massachusetts Senate passed Bill 2062, approving the Massachusetts Health Curriculum Frameworks. For many years, Linda Thayer, MCFL's Vice President of Education, has warned that the portion of the Frameworks regarding sexuality education disregards parental authority and guidance in the family. “The public schools and state agencies of Massachusetts have become more aggressive in presenting alternative messages to young people,” said Thayer. “These messages contradict traditional religious and social values, condone teenage sexual activity and provide referrals for reproductive services such as contraception and abortion without parental awareness or approval.”
The Mass. Health Curriculum Frameworks are currently the guidelines for all health education/wellness courses and are widely used throughout the state. Thayer said, “The Frameworks would have health teachers explain to students as young as 14-years-old how to get an abortion without parental knowledge. Middle school students would be told how to get contraceptives without telling their parents and about 'behaviors for pregnancy prevention.'”
The mandated policies and programs are a continuation of failed public strategies. Thayer cited several examples:
“In spite of nearly universal advocacy of 'safer sex' practices, one in four American teenage girls are estimated to have a sexually transmitted infection. Massachusetts has the 11th highest teen abortion rate in the United States. Condoms have a likely failure rate of 17% in preventing pregnancy, and the failure rates for disease prevention are even higher. Given a false sense of security, young people have taken greater risks and experienced more failures.
“Young people can be effectively taught to abstain and seek a life-long commitment. Successful strategies include: clear parental expectations, communication and values; religious practice; and abstinence education in the classroom. Studies have shown that true abstinence education is more effective in reducing the initiation of sexual activity among high risk young people as compared with 'comprehensive sex ed.' and 'safer sex' programs.
Thayer urged parents to find out what is being taught in their school systems. “It is your right by law to exempt your child from sexuality courses which violate your values,” she said. “Contact your elected officials and express your objections to this type of mandatory sexuality education in the public schools that is a violation of your parental rights. Insist that discussions of sexuality issues be made part of a separate, elective course and advocate for adoption of the more successful abstinence programs.”