Usually when you eat a York Peppermint Pattie, you unwrap it and put it in your mouth. Well, according to one school district in Mississippi, that's what sex should be like: they've been having students unwrap a pattie and pass it around the room to simulate what happens when you sleep with too many people. (You get so dirtyyyyyyy.)
Public health educator Marie Barnard told the LA Times that in Oxford, Mississippi, "They're using the Peppermint Pattie to show that a girl is no longer clean or valuable after she's had sex — that she's been used." This is just one example of the kind of bizarre, patchy sex ed districts around the state are still practicing. Update: The Clarion Ledger is reporting that the Oxford school district superintendent denies that this particular example is still being used in Oxford.
"The curriculum mentioned in the L.A. Times article was part of the initial and only state-approved pilot three years ago," said Superintendent Brian Harvey. "We have been teaching an entirely different curriculum in our classrooms in the last two years."
In 2011 the state passed a law that at least opened up the option for schools to teach more comprehensive sex ed than they had before; schools can choose between abstinence-only education or something called abstinence-plus, which emphasizes abstinence but mentions contraception. A report that came out in February said that "Of the 151 school districts and four special schools in Mississippi, 81 chose 'abstinence-only,' 71 chose 'abstinence plus,' and three chose a combined approach." According to a separate study, 12 percent of schools still aren't teaching sex ed at all.
The non-profit education policy organization Mississippi First has praised the program, but others think it has a long way to go. Other issues that have come up besides comparing girls to dirty chocolate include: sex ed being taught to boys and girls separately, demonstrations about how a condom works being disallowed, an emphasis on the failure rate of condoms, the fact that students need signed permission slips from their parents to be in these classes and that the law requires students understand that having gay sex is technically illegal in Mississippi (that last point, by the way, is illegal in itself).
The law implementing this still new sex ed plan expires in 2016. Until it has a chance to be revised (or, as is the way, provide an opportunity for legislators to make it even more archaic), families will continue to deal with the ramifications of living in a state that provides inadequate sex ed, has attempted to close every abortion clinic within its borders, has the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea in the country and where a third of babies are born to teen mothers.
Some would like to ignore those stats, but this quote in the LA Times from a woman now in her 20s who had this kind of inadequate sex ed sounds suspiciously similar to a certain scene in Mean Girls which was supposed to be A JOKE:
"They said, 'If you have sex, you will get AIDS,'" McKay said. "'And you're going to die.'"