Fresno Youth Advocates Demand Better Sex Eduation

Dec 19, 2013
Novella Coleman

Page Media

Fresno youth

Last Thursday youth advocates hosted a community forum in Fresno, launching their campaign for better sexual health education in Fresno Unified schools.

The youth advocates presented the results from a survey of 300 students, finding that the district is failing to provide students with the sexual health information they need. Since the district dropped its Sociology for Living class in 2011, the percentage of ninth grade students receiving sex education has dropped from 81% to 27%. The few students who receive some instruction in sex education are not being taught the subjects required by law. While the law requires sexual health instruction to include science-based information about condoms and contraception as well as abstinence for preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, only one quarter of students reported that these topics were fully discussed.

Going beyond just identifying the problem, the youth advocates presented eight actions they are requesting that the school district take in order to provide students with medically accurate sex education and HIV/AIDS prevention education that is in compliance with the law and will promote the sexual health of the district’s students. Among their requested changes: commit to provide HIV/AIDS prevention education and comprehensive sexual health education to students in a required class at least once in middle school and once in high school; adopt curricula that meet the requirements of the law; and train all teachers who will provide sexual health instruction.

Luis Chavez, a member of the Fresno Unified school board, voiced his support for the youth’s recommendations. He also applauded the youth for their initiative and leadership.

You can support the youth advocates in their continuing efforts by liking Fresno Barrios Unidos on Facebook.

Novella Coleman is a staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California.