This school year, the Healthy Youth Act goes into effect, effectively ending North Carolinas decade-long policy of abstinence-only sex education (see Sexual Fantasies: Welcome to the 1950s world of CMS health education," CL, 11.30.05). But despite the fact that a law is, you know, a law, some school districts in N.C. are dragging their feet in implementing comprehensive sex-ed, largely due to the archaic attitudes toward sex that are still prevalent in some parts of the state. Never mind that abstinence-only sex-ed has been a disastrous failure wherever its been taught, both in terms of preventing teen pregnancies and giving adolescents the complete information they need its apparently just too embarrassing and icky for some parents to have their teens learn theres such a thing as contraception.
Enter Amplify Your Voice, an offshoot of Advocates for Youth, which was a leading group in the political battle for comprehensive sex-ed. They are now working with other youth activists in the state to find out whos doing what, which school systems are refusing to follow the law, and how we can support school systems who honestly want to provide an effective education for students. As they say, the devil is in the details, but its a cold, hard fact that more than 19,000 teens become pregnant every year in North Carolina, and we owe it to teenagers that they receive accurate, complete information about sexuality and sexual health. To see more information, and how you can help, read here.