Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island Applauds RI Education Commissioner for Standing up for Rhode Island Youth
Providence, Rhode Island – Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island (PPRI) applauds Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) for standing up for Rhode Island teens’ health. RI Education Commissioner Peter McWalters banned abstinence-only programs or accompanying materials that promote abstinence-only-until-marriage from RI public schools. Specifically, he said Heritage of RI, which has been creeping into RI public schools, fails to meet RI Health Education Standards.
Maria Barros, PPRI Education Programs Manager said, "RI continues to have the highest teen pregnancy rate in New England, so it’s imperative that the RI Department of Education demand that school districts follow the comprehensive standards and outcomes. Heritage of Rhode Island fails to meet these RI Health Education Standards and, in doing so, fails Rhode Island teens."
McWalters revealed that state authorities never approved the abstinence classes taught by Heritage of Rhode Island. The Commissioner announced his office would create a panel to review the HIV/AIDS curricula of every school district in the state. In fact, the Commissioner asserted, "The Heritage of Rhode Island curriculum has been reviewed by RIDE and has been determined to NOT be consistent with the Rhode Island Health Education Standards. This program, therefore, should not be offered as part of the public school health curriculum in RI schools."
"PPRI is very pleased the Commissioner has issued such a strong statement supporting the value of comprehensive, medically accurate, scientifically based health education; RI young people and parents will benefit enormously from such leadership," asserted Kathy Kushnir, VP of External Affairs at PPRI.
Pawtucket, RI parent, Tracey Ross agrees, "I am thrilled with RIDE's decision. It is entirely possible to provide abstinence and health information that is medically accurate, scientifically based, and affords young people the respect to make responsible decisions about their future, as opposed to instilling fear, bias, intolerance, ideology, and privacy invasion as many abstinence-only-until-marriage programs do. Depriving kids, and especially adolescents, of factual information that could ultimately save their lives is the biggest injustice ever."
For more information on Rhode Island Education Standards, visit www.ridoe.net. For more information on teen sexuality and health, visit www.advocatesforyouth.org or www.teenpregnancy.org.