Tuesday letters: Update how health education taught

04/01/2014 12:00 AM

03/31/2014 5:20 PM

In 1988, CDs outsold vinyl albums for the first time ever. Americans had not even dreamed of the Internet or cell phones. Scientists had not yet discovered vaccines for Hepatitis C or HPV. It also the last time South Carolina updated the standards for teaching our children about health and pregnancy prevention.

The healthy youth amendment (H.3435) would require health education to be medically accurate, require teachers to be certified as health educators and increase school boards’ accountability. Abstinence will still be stressed. Contraceptives will not be distributed. In other words, it does not violate traditional family values.

It does, however, ensure our children will receive accurate information, delivered by instructors qualified to teach it. It gives our children information to make responsible choices. Research has shown that such comprehensive approaches are directly associated with the lowest teen pregnancy rates. Our taxpayers deserve the amendment to pass. Our children deserve it even more.

The state’s health curriculum teaches our children that being abstinent “is 100 percent effective in avoiding emotional scars, heartaches and making your life less complicated.” That’s medically accurate and can be harmfully misleading. Who knows what’s being taught by untrained instructors, who are allowed by law. We wouldn’t let someone without credentials teach our children math.

A legislator recently told me he opposed the bill because not a single voter from his district had voiced disapproval of the current curriculum. If you believe our children deserve to be taught medically accurate health information by trained, qualified instructors, please ask your legislators to support H.3435.

T.J. Rumler


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