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North Carolina Sets Comprehensive Sexuality Education Standards

On April 15, the North Carolina Commission for Public Health set new standards for after-school and community-based sexuality education programs. Unanimously approved by the group, these programs must now be evidence-based and must provide “complete and medically accurate information” on contraception and abstinence.[i]  Parents must enroll their children in order for their children to participate.
 
The programs subject to the new rule are funded by the North Carolina Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI). The TPPI is governed by state law which emphasizes abstinence but also teaches condom and contraception effectiveness and failure rates to junior high students.[ii] 
 
Chris Hoke, rulemaking coordinator, explained the decision: “Being good stewards of the state’s money, we wanted to make sure that we were funding programs that science was telling us were going to be effective.”[iii]
 
The new rule sets a consistent standard for after-school and community-based sexuality education programs in the state. Previously, the content of such programs varied depending on the location in North Carolina.[iv]
 
“The rule passed by the Commission for Public Health represents progress towards comprehensive sexuality education in all learning environments,” said William Smith, vice president for public policy at SIECUS, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. He concluded, “By requiring consistent application of evidence-based and medically accurate standards in sexuality education, youth in North Carolina will have the tools to make healthy decisions.”    


[i] Jordan Schrader, “Sex Education Expands Under New Rule,” Citizen-Times,13 April 2008, accessed 15 April 2008 ; North Carolina Commission for Public Health, Rule 10A NCAC 43A.0808.
[ii]Teen Pregnancy Prevention,” Healthy Schools North Carolina, accessed 1 May 2008. 
[iii] Ibid.
[iv] Schrader, “Sex Education Expands.”

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