The Gilbert School District in Arizona allegedly has a very novel way of expressing its beliefs about abstinence and abortion. According to a parent whose son is a high-schooler in the district, school officials announced its “strong interest in promoting childbirth” by having the students put stickers saying so in their science books.
Suzanne Young wrote that she learned of the sticker when her son handed her his biology book after school and said “You’re going to want to read this.” What she saw was a statement from the school district decrying abortion and promoting abstinence for all students. Failure to put the sticker into their books in a timely manner, Young tweeted, would result in students having to meet with their grade’s administrator to discuss their refusal.
While this sticker may look shocking, it’s not entirely unexpected from a state where sex education in schools is not mandatory. Any sex-ed that is taught, depending on the decision of the school district, must stress abstinence-only viewpoints, according to Pro-Choice Arizona. And the state’s choice to uphold this curriculum has led to some very depressing statistics.
From NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona:
Arizona ranks second in the nation in regards to teen pregnancy, placing a great burden on these young mothers, their babies, and their families. But the costs of teen parenthood are not only personal. A 2004 study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy found that teen childbearing costs Arizona taxpayers at least $252 million a year.]
According to AZ Central, the school district voted last year to remove several pages from an honors biology text that suggested that contraception could prevent pregnancy. While it wasn’t then clear how the school district would go about editing a textbook, the stickers may explain how the district has chosen to uphold the laws governing sex education.
A call to the school district yielded very little information. Monica Baxley-Ortega, administrative assistant in the school district’s PR office, told Jezebel that she didn’t know if the stickers were real or not, but did say that such a sticker had been discussed during the spring semester and that she guessed that “they just went ahead with it.” She’s promised clearer information on the sticker’s status; Jezebel will update as it becomes available.
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