From the Women & Girls Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Last night at the Pittsburgh Public School Board Education Committee Meeting, the PPS Health Curriculum Review Committee recommended that the School Board adopt a comprehensive sexuality education curriculum for the district. Currently there is no consistent health or sex-ed curriculum or policy guiding instruction for the Pittsburgh Public Schools, so information differs school to school, classroom to classroom. In some of our schools students are taught medically accurate age appropriate information and at others students are taught “abstinence only” and are given very limited information about their own bodies and how to make responsible and safe choices to prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
To ensure that all of our students have equitable access to science based, age appropriate, comprehensive information regarding how to stay healthy and strong into adulthood, the board asked the Health Curriculum Committee to review national data and research on best practices regarding health and sexuality educational models. The Health Curriculum Committee consisted of parents, teachers, principles, physical education teachers, and district administrators, and health professionals. After several months of investigation and work, the committee came up with its recommendation to the Board to adopt a comprehensive K-12 health curriculum to include a comprehensive approach to sexuality education.
I am enclosing the full presentation that was made to the board last night. The presentation document cites a great deal of the compelling research which demonstrates that comprehensive sex-ed programs have been proven to decrease sexual activity and unsafe behaviors, while abstinence only programs have not. In addition, because abstinence only programs only discuss sex in the context of heterosexual marriage, they leave many teens (and their parents) alienated from the process and excluded from receiving information about how to develop safe and respectful sexual and intimate relationships in GLBT and in non-marriage based heterosexual relationships. Comprehensive programs are more comprehensive and inclusive in language and information, and the curriculum are based on scientific data and fact (not moral judgment) so that all of our children are informed with equitable information to make safe and responsible choices.
IMPORTANT! – There is a School Board Public Hearing scheduled on Monday February 16, 2009 at 7 p.m. at the District office located at Conference
341 S. Bellefield Avenue( ). Oakland
We hope that you will sign up as a speaker to make public comments in support of the adoption of this policy and that you will encourage others to do so as well (especially those that have children attending a PPS school). It is imperative that the School Board hear that there is ample and enthusiastic support from district parents and constituents on this topic. WE NEED YOUR VOICES AS PARTICIPANTS IN THIS PROCESS!!!!!!!!!!
If you also would send an email, letter, or place a personal call to your school board member on this topic that would also be very helpful.
To speak at a Public Hearing you must call the Superintendent's Office at 412-622-3600 to ask for your name to be included on the speakers list no later than noon on the day of the Public Hearing (Feb. 16).
*Additional information about the Public Hearing*
– Location: Conference Room A,
Administration , Building ( 341 S. Bellefield Avenue ) Oakland
Contact: Superintendent's Office
If you have any questions of concerns please do not hesitate to contact Adriana U. Dobrzycka. Thank you for all your efforts on this issue. We are looking forward to seeing you at the School Board Public Hearing on February 16!
Adriana U. Dobrzycka, MID, MPH
Women and Girls Foundation (WGF)
425 6th Ave, Suite 1860 Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: (412) 434-4883
Fax: (412) 227-0417