School Board Kills 'Wait Until Marriage' Edict - 11/16/01
cmfce at smartmarriages.com
Fri Nov 16 16:35:49 EST 2001
subject: School Board Kills 'Wait Until Marriage' Edict - 11/16/01
from: Smart Marriages
School Board Kills 'Wait Until Marriage' Edict
FREDERICK, Md. Teachers in Frederick County can no longer tell students
to ignore their less savory urges until holy matrimony.
In a 6-1 vote, the school board decided Wednesday to take a marriage
reference out of the sex education program's discussion of abstinence. In
its stead, the board elected to add language advising that abstinence "is a
healthy, safe and responsible decision for adolescents."
The new language conforms with state health education guidelines and was
crafted as a compromise after three of the seven board members initially
objected to removing the passage that called abstinence "appropriate
behavior before marriage."
In the end, only Linda Naylor dissented, suggesting that teachers should
tell students "to wait for a special person" instead of having sex before
Board President Ronald Peppe voted reluctantly for the change.
"I think it sends a message that we don't believe as strongly in the
institution of marriage," Peppe said.
W. Lynn Carr, a staff curriculum specialist, recommended the change, citing
the fact that health teachers in the county were already following state
guidelines and no longer encourage students to wait until marriage.
Frederick County's sex education courses, taught in seventh, eighth and
ninth grades, emphasize abstinence as the best way of preventing pregnancy
and avoiding disease.
Some board members lobbied for more specific language advising students to
put off sexual activity until they are "involved in a mature, monogamous and
But according to Steve Crawford, it is unrealistic to tell students to
abstain until marriage. He also argued that associating sex with marriage is
a religious belief that should not be propagated by public schools.
On a related matter, Peppe said the district's Family Life Advisory
Committee should be allowed to recommend policy changes. The volunteer
group, which reviews the sex education curriculum, recently suggested having
all students consider signing sexual abstinence pledge cards. The
administration opposed the plan and the board took no action, prompting some
to question the committee's role.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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