Teen Teams Up With Mom to Fight Ridiculous Abstinence-Only Education

Illustration for article titled Teen Teams Up With Mom to Fight Ridiculous Abstinence-Only Education

A teenager in Canada and her mom are protesting her school's abstinence-only based education.


Emily Dawson told the CBC she was required to take part in a two-day health class which was part of a Career and Life Management course at McNally High School. That was fine, until the teen learned what the class would entail:

"Basically shaming the girls and making them gatekeepers and meanwhile making it sound like the boys had no impulse control," she said.

The Edmonton Public School Board used the Pregnancy Care Centre to conduct the course. The centre is affiliated with Care-Net, an American based anti-abortion movement. Both groups focus on advocating abstinence from sex.


The Pregnancy Care Center in Edmonton is basically another bullshit "crisis pregnancy center" which provides a lot of biased, phony nonsense to young women regarding abortion and other reproductive issues. Emily Dawson's mother Kathy decided to join her teenage daughter in the class, which essentially preached that children of single parent homes turn out incredibly fucked up or dead:

A single mother, [Kathy] Dawson said she was shocked what students were told about families like hers. "Well, that our children are prone to depression, suicide, juvenile delinquency," she said. The remarks also surprised her daughter.

"It's not something that you hear every day where you're getting bashed for being in a single-parent home."

According to Paula Simons at the Edmonton Journal, the class was the kind of stereotype-friendly shitshow you probably expect in this kind of scenario:

"[The instructor] did a lot of slut-shaming to the women, and pointed out the guys as horn-dogs," Emily says. "She really ridiculed single-parent families, she made it sound like they all give birth to juvenile delinquents."

One classmate, Emily claims, asked about same-sex relationships.

"All those questions were shut down right away. She just said, 'We're not here to discuss that.' "


The school first responded by saying the class met current guidelines (possibly written during the Paleozoic age). That's absolutely not an excuse for anything. If you have a fucked up policy/program/etc. your answer shouldn't be "oh well, it meets current guidelines!" It just means your guidelines are severely screwed and need a serious update.

Well, good news! The Edmonton School Board did finally agree to drop the program, but that hasn't stopped Emily Dawson from pursuing action. Instead of sitting around apologizing for being born, Emily Dawson filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission over the class. She and her mother are my heroes right now.


I'm the child of a single-parent home. I grew up with this bullshit hammered into me and my peers all the time in the 80s. The fact that it's still happening today is infuriating. Do you know what it's like to sit in a classroom where some idiot is telling you how people in your circumstances are totally fucked, period? "If you don't have a two parent in the home, you are likely to be a drug addict, felon, general all-around loser psychopath. Oh but I'm sure you'll be fine, Rebecca!" Fuck all the people who try to shove this crap down the throats of young children.

Kathy Dawson is continuing to press this issue because she's concerned other schools in Canada might be teaching this same horseshittery. She summed it up best: "[There is] such a wide variety of families going to these (public) schools," she said. "Let's leave the science to the school and the values to the parents."



Image via Getty.

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This may seem like a silly question, but why is abstinence-only allowed to be taught as "sex-ed"?

It's like asking teens to take driver's ed, then handing them a bus pass and telling them that they aren't allowed to drive until they get married, or they will die.

It makes no sense!!!