A Texas school district is apparently teaching sexual education in the worst way possible: by trying to shame students into staying virgins until marriage.
Sexual health advocate Katie Gustainis Vela recently obtained what appears to be an instructional worksheet meant for teachers who lecture on sex ed. Vela tweeted a photo of the worksheet -- which likens people who have premarital sex to pieces of chewed gum or used toothbrushes -- and indicated that it is used in the Canyon Independent School District. (According to ThinkProgress, Vela currently lives in Boston but used to reside in Canyon.)
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Another worksheet from the district, obtained by ThinkProgress, says that having sex before marriage can be “physically, emotionally, and financially harmful,” and that when it comes to sex, students should treat their bodies like “locks, fences, and stop signs.”
The worksheets are part of the district’s Reality CHECK human sexuality curriculum, according to the outlet. The district's website says this curriculum is taught to fifth, sixth and seventh-grad classes that are separated by gender. The course presents “[a]bstinence from sexual activity … as the preferred choice of behavior in relationship to sexual activity for adolescents both physically and emotionally.”
Sex education is not mandated in Texas, and when it is taught, it is not required to be medically accurate, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit reproductive rights research group.
The publication of the Canyon sex education documents comes months after activist Elizabeth Smart -- who was abducted from her home in 2002 at the age of 14, sexually abused by her captors and was found nine months later -- started speaking out against abstinence-only education. According to Smart, now 26, abstinence-only education makes sexually active females feel worthless. She has also said that after being sexually abused by her abductors, the abstinence-only education she had received prior to her kidnapping partially informed her decision not to run away.
“I think it goes beyond fear for so many children, especially in sex trafficking," she said in May. "It's feeling like 'who would ever want me now? I’m worthless.'”