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Minnesota State Profile Fiscal Year 2007

Minnesota received no federal funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in Fiscal Year 2007. 1

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In 1988, the Minnesota legislature passed a bill requiring school districts to develop and implement a comprehensive HIV/AIDS-prevention and risk-reduction program. In 1999, the law was amended to include instruction on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and “helping students to abstain from sexual activity until marriage.”        

While the state has not developed a specific curriculum or set of standards, each school district must have “a comprehensive, technically accurate, and updated curriculum that includes helping students to abstain from sexual activity until marriage” and must target “adolescents, especially those who may be at high risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections and diseases, for prevention efforts.”

Minnesota also requires each school district to:

[H]ave a procedure for a parent, guardian, or an adult student, 18 years of age or older, to review the content of the instructional materials to be provided to a minor child or to an adult student and, if the parent, guardian, or adult student objects to the content, to make reasonable arrangements with school personnel for alternative instruction.

This is referred to as an “opt-out” policy.

See Minnesota Statutes 120B.20 and 121A.23.

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Recent Legislation

Bill to Mandates Sexuality Education in Schools

House File 615 and Senate File 588, introduced in February 2007, would have allowed school districts to implement age-appropriate, medically accurate, sexuality education programs in kindergarten through grade six, and mandate such education in grades seven through twelve. Such sexuality education must take an “abstinence-first approach,” but must also include information on contraception when age-appropriate. School districts would have been required to establish procedures for parents and guardians to review all related educational materials, as well as to give parents and guardians the option to remove their children from any or all of the sexuality education instruction. The bills also stated that the Department of Education could offer services to help school districts craft and implement these programs, which may be done by creating eight regional training centers. These bills mirror House File 3708 and Senate File 2977 from 2006; however, HF 615 designates specific dollar amounts to be appropriated for these programs from the general fund for certain fiscal years, specifies the dollar amount to be used for establishing training centers, and provides resources for carrying out the activities. HF 615 and SF 588 were referred to the K-12 Finance Division of the House and Senate Committees on Education in April 2008. Both chambers ultimately added this language as provisions to the Education Omnibus bills. Each chamber passed its omnibus bill with the language on sexuality education included. The conference committee reached resolution between the two versions in early May 2008, but the sexuality clause failed to make it into the final version, in part because conference committee members feared the Governor would veto the entire bill due to the inclusion of sexuality education. 

Emergency Contraception Availability Required for Sexual Assault Victims

Senate Bill 1266, introduced in February 2007, requires hospital emergency rooms to offer and provide emergency contraception, prophylactic antibiotics, and treatment information to victims of sexual assault. The bill was filed on May 4, 2007 as Chapter No. 42 and is now law.

Bill to Mandate Sexuality Education in Schools

House Bill 3708 was introduced in March 2006 and assigned to the House Committee on Education Policy and Reform in March 2007. Senate Bill 2977 was introduced in January 2006 and assigned to the Senate Committee on Education in March 2007. These bills would have allowed sexuality education in grades K–6 and required it in grades 7–12. These bills were largely the same as HF 615 and SF 588. Neither bill made it out of its committee. 

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Events of Note

GSA Wins Rights, For Now

December 2006; Minneapolis, MN

In December 2006, the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a gay-straight alliance at Maple Grove High School. Administrators at the school had prohibited the group, Straights and Gays for Equality (SAGE), from advertising on campus, fundraising, or going on field trips. The school claimed that usage of school space, time, and equipment was reserved for organizations related to curricular activities. The school did, however, provide these amenities to other non-curricular groups such as the synchronized swim team and cheerleading squad.

Students took the school to court arguing that the Equal Access Act requires schools to treat all student clubs equally. The 8th Circuit agreed, saying that the school must offer the same opportunities to SAGE as it does to other student organizations.2

Parents Protest Discussion of Homosexuality by Openly Gay Teacher
October 2006; Minneapolis, MN

Parents of students at Interdisciplinary Downtown School were enraged over a second-grade teacher’s decision to tell his class that he is gay. The controversy arose from a class period focused on diversity. The teacher spoke about different types of families and read his students a book about a family with two mothers. He then told his students that he is gay.

Some parents were upset that they had not been notified before the topic of homosexuality was raised in the classroom. Other parents and community members staged a protest at the school, voicing objection to any school discussions on homosexuality. Some parents asked that their children be switched to different classes. The school principal, however, refused the parents’ requests, claiming that students are thoughtfully placed into specific classrooms.3

The school’s curriculum supports a mission of diversity, which is welcomed by most of the community.4 Parents have the right to review school curriculum and to report any grievances to the school board.

Minnesota’s Youth: Statistical Information of Note

Minnesota did not participate in the 2007 Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey. 

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Title V Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Funding

The Minnesota Department of Health would have been eligible for $488,623 in Title V Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Funding in Fiscal Year 2007. The Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage grant requires states to provide three state-raised dollars or the equivalent in services for every four federal dollars received. The state match may be provided in part or in full by local groups. Minnesota, however, does not apply for these funds due to the extraordinary restrictions upon how the money must be spent. Therefore, the state does not match funds nor does it have organizations supported by this type of federal money.

The decision was partially a result of Minnesota’s evaluation of its Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program, Education Now and Babies Later (ENABL), in 2003 which found that ENABL had reached 45,500 junior high students. The evaluation involved pre- and post-test surveys with follow-up surveys one year later. While youth did report that the program made them feel more comfortable talking with their parents about sex, the evaluation explains, “There was little impact of the curriculum on youth’s attitudes, sexual intentions, and behaviors after one year.”5 Evaluators also expressed concern about the “ability of the initiative to reach students and families of color.”6

The report found that sexual activity among junior high school participants of the ENABL program at three schools doubled between 2001 and 2002 and those participants who said they would “probably” have sex during high school almost doubled as well.7 The evaluation, which was conducted by Professional Data Analysts and Professional Evaluations Services, concluded that ENABL’s weaknesses were the result of the program constraints rather than the way it was implemented. The evaluators recommend that any further intervention be based on a more comprehensive sexuality education approach.8

The evaluation also found that the majority of parents surveyed by the Minnesota ENABL program (77 percent) wanted their children to learn about both abstinence and contraception. In fact, only 20 percent of these Minnesota parents wanted abstinence-only-until-marriage programs to be taught to their children. This result closely mirrors the findings of numerous national surveys.9

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Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) and Adolescent Family Life Act (AFLA) Grantees

There are no CBAE or AFLA grantees in Minnesota.

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Federal and State Funding for Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs in FY 2007

Minnesota did not receive abstinence-only-until-marriage funding in Fiscal Year 2007. 

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Adolescent Health Contact10

Gabriel McNeal

Minnesota Department of Health

Division of Community and Family Health

P.O. Box 64882

St. Paul, MN 55164-0882

Phone: (651) 201-3752

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Minnesota Organizations that Support Comprehensive Sexuality Education

Minnesota AIDS Project
1400 Park Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Phone: (612) 341-2060
www.mnaidsproject.org

Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention, and Parenting
1619 Dayton Ave., Suite 111
St. Paul, MN 55104
Phone: (651) 644-1447
www.moappp.org

Minnesota Religious Coalition for
Reproductive Choice
122 West Franklin Ave., Suite 303
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Phone: (612) 870-0974
www.mnrcrc.org

NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota
550 Rice St.
St. Paul, MN 55103
Phone: (651) 602-7655
www.prochoiceminnesota.org

The National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Research Center
200 Oak St. SE, Suite 260
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: (612) 626-2820
www.allaboutkids.umn.edu/cfahad

Outfront Minnesota
310 38th St. E, Suite 204
Minneapolis, MN 55409
Phone: (612) 822-0127

Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North
Dakota, South Dakota
1965 Ford Pkwy.
St. Paul, MN 55116
Phone: (651) 698-2401
www.ppmns.org

 

Minnesota Organizations that Oppose Comprehensive Sexuality Education

Center of the American Experiment
12 South 6th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: (612) 338-3605
www.amexp.org

Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life
4249 Nicollet Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55409
Phone: (612) 825-6831
www.mccl.org

Minnesota Family Council
2855 Anthony Ln. S
Minneapolis, MN 55418
612.789.8811
www.mfc.org

 

Newspapers in Minnesota11

Brainerd Daily Dispatch
Newsroom
506 James St.
PO Box 974
Brainerd, MN, 56401
Phone: (218) 829-4705
www.brainerddispatch.com

City Pages
Newsroom
401 North Third Street
Suite 550
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Phone: (612) 372-3723
www.citypages.com

Daily Globe
Newsroom
P.O. Box 639
Worthington, MN 56187
Phone: (507) 376-9711
www.dglobe.com

Duluth News-Tribune
Newsroom
424 W. First St.
Duluth, MN 55802
Phone: (218)-723-5281
www.duluthnewstribune.com

The Free Press
Newsroom
418 S. 2nd St.
Mankato, MN 56001
Phone: (507) 344-6397
www.mankato-freepress.com

Mesabi Daily News
Newsroom
704 7th Ave.
Virginia, MN 55792
Phone: (218) 741-5544
www.virginiamn.com

Post-Bulletin
Newsroom
18 First Ave. SE
P.O. Box 6118
Rochester, MN 55903
Phone: (507) 285-7600
www.postbulletin.com

St. Cloud Times
Newsroom
3000 7th Street North
St. Cloud, MN 56303

Phone: (320) 255-8776
www.sctimes.com

St. Paul Pioneer Press
Newsroom
345 Cedar St.
St. Paul, MN 55101
Phone: (651) 222-1111
www.twincities.com/mld/pioneerpress

Star Tribune
Newsroom
425 Portland Ave. South
Minneapolis, MN 55488
Phone: (612) 673-4000
www.startribune.com

West Central Tribune
Newsroom
P.O. Box 839
Willmar, MN 56201
Phone: (320) 235-1150
www.wctrib.com

 

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References

  1. This refers to the fiscal year for the Federal Government which begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, Fiscal Year 2007 begins on October 1, 2006 and ends on September 30, 2007.
  2. Lisa Keen, “School Must Allow Gay-Straight Alliance to Publicize Its Meetings,” Bay Area Reporter, 28 December 2006, accessed 28 December 2006, <http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=1447>
  3. “Gay Teacher ‘Outs’ Himself, and Parents Are Upset,” Associated Press, 7 October 2006, accessed 1 December 2006, <http://wcco.com/topstories/local_story_280171542.html>.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Professional Data Analysts and Professional Evaluation Services, Minnesota Education Now and Babies Later: Evaluation Report 1998-2002 (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Dept. of Health, Division of Family Health, Maternal and Child Health Section, 2003).
  6. Ibid, 10.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Minnesota Education Now and Babies Later (MN ENABL), Evaluation Report 1998–2002 (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Department of Health, Division of Family Health, Maternal and Child Health Section), accessed 30 January 2007, <http://saynotyet.com/report.htm>.
  9. Sex Education in America: General Public/Parents Survey (Washington, DC: National Public Radio, Kaiser Family Foundation, Kennedy School of Government, 2004), 5.
  10. SIECUS has identified this person as a state-based contact for information on adolescent health and if applicable, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.
  11. This section is a list of major newspapers in your state with contact information for their newsrooms.This list is by no means inclusive and does not contain the local level newspapers which are integral to getting your message out to your community  SIECUS strongly urges you to follow stories about the issues that concern you on the national, state, and local level by using an internet news alert service such as Google alerts, becoming an avid reader of your local papers, and establishing relationships with reporters who cover your issues.For more information on how to achieve your media goals visit the SIECUS Community Action Kit.

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National Coalition to Support Sexuality Education National Coalition to Support Sexuality Education