Health Teacher 
Member since Jul 14, 2010



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Re: “Abstinence-only preserved in Charleston schools

The Charleston School Board should have listened to the advice and recommendations of the Health Advisory Board/Committee. I was suprised to see CCSD only has ten members on it's board, but not suprised to see they voted 9-1 in favor of "NOT" recommeding Heritage Community Services curriculum as an option. Most health advisory committees in SC are comprised of 13 members of the school district in which they represent. The advisory board had no "idealogical bias" for the CCSD school board to see through. The committee is designed to prevent "bias". Most SC health/sex advisory boards (unpaid committees) are made of 3 clergy, 2 teachers, 2 students(one being the president of a student body), 2 parents, 2 health professionals, and 2 non school employees. Why would the school board go against their committee's wishes? The advisory committee (despite being 10 members) has more members than the school boards itself and is a greater representation of the constituents the school board serves. Why even have a Health Advisory Board with health professionals? The CCSB didn't need to revisit the issue....listen to their appointed committee. Seems the bias lies within the CCSB. This is embarassing to say the least. There will be more teenage pregnancies and STD's affecting Charleston Schools the coming year than predicted earthquakes.

1 of 1 people like this.
Posted by Health Teacher on July 27, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Re: “Abstinence-only preserved in Charleston schools

I totally agree with Ms. Badgley and thank the City Paper for providing a forum for discussions and opinions regarding topics that affect the people of not only Charleston, America, and the world. Health and Education certainly should be a priority for everyone in these times of fiscal and health woes. I certainly have no political agenda, ties, or desire to discuss, educate, or debate "abstinence only" programs with people that do. Idealism doesn't work in public education. I'm well aware of Dr. Stan Weeds research and work(evaluation)for abstinence only programs. With all due respect to their values...Heritage Services doesn't seem to give much for their dollar (95% funded) by federal grants.

I am a realist, teacher, and am extremely frustrated when I see educators, public service professionals, and hard working tax payers losing their jobs due to budget cuts/deficits when organizations like Heritage Services over a ten year period have received $20 million dollars of federal grant money. The Heritage website claims to have reached 150,000 students over this time. Heritage Services receives approximately $2 million dollars each year, salaries make up $1.5 million dollars of those dollars most going disprportionately to immediate family members each year. Many other Heritage expenses are awarded to companies they created and support. This is a tax exempt organization working with tax dollars.

What have the 150 thousand students received in "Abstinence Only" reproductive health education? If we teach children to abstain from driving or riding in cars they're likely to not get in an automobile accident nor will they go very far from home. If we educate children to abstain from the water, we'll have less drowings, and citizens won't learn to enjoy the pleasures of boating, swimming, fishing, and our beaches. Should we wait until children are adults and allow them to learn these activities on their own? Should we count on parents to teach these things? Why abstinence "ONLY"?..except in the context of marriage? Most people are going to have sex at some point in their life. Most before the age of 18 years of age and outside the marital bounds.

Think about students that are taught by Heritage's curriculum. Are they educated, enlightened, or possibly scared of something that's going to happen naturally? Should they be ashamed or feel inferior because of their ignorance? What about young people reaching adulthood discovering they may be gay,confused, lesbian, or bisexual. They may be "straight" and never get married, some may not be allowed to marry because of restrictive laws, some may get divorced, or some may simply have early sexual experiences resulting in STD's. (1 in 4 females under age 20 have an STD. Don't we owe these students information and education? The students will be making these decisions. It's my position that we educate them age/developmentally appropriately. All SC reproductive health state standards must be "Abstinence Based" yet comprehensive. Our legislators have given us the standards...let's not dumb them down.

Know where your tax dollars go and what the future leaders and parents of SC are learning (or not) in school.

As an alternative or just to compare to ....look at the make up of another grant based organization to supplement our communities with regards to health education and services. They receive basically the same annual amount of money each year ($2 million dollars)...but diverse in grant allocations 30% state funded, 34% federal funds, 13% private donations contributions, 18% other grants, and 5% generated income. They provide over $370,000 dollars in mini grants to educate, support, and supplement professionals and students with a fundamental effort to prevent teen pregnancy and it's affect on our state. Check out their website Sponsored and promoted by multiple organizations like DSS, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Centers for Disease Control, State Dept. of Education, DHEC, March of Dimes, Bi-Lo, Palmetto Health, Trident United Way and many other contributors both private and public. It takes a village as well as the parents. Compare the websites, services, and financial reports.

As a public health teacher I teach state and national standards regarding the human body, physical health, mental health, emotional health, nutrition, the affects of alcohol, tobacco, smoking, drugs, relationships, water safety, decision making skills, and reproductive health. Following state standards my teaching approach is "ABSTINENCE BASED" because only abstinence will prevent STD's and unwanted pregnancies. Every student is asked to write in huge letters (ABSTINENCE) on the front of their folders at the end of the unit and then asked to take the material home and share with their parents. They are also encouraged and free to be artistic, color, draw, or add words they have learned to reinforce this theme. But I also know when they leave my class....they're given educational information that doesn't shame, discriminate, or promote sex.

Not trying to discredit Heritage Services, I offer a simplistic comparison of services. I'm not jealous but I would like to have see what $2 million dollars per year feels like to teach. I've directly taught approximately 12 thousand students health over the past 10 years. But I'm just one teacher and my compensation thru taxpayers has been about $35,000 per year. I'll miss my teacher friends that lost their jobs this year due to budget cuts. The students will learn less as well. Perhaps abstaining from teaching is the right approach.

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Posted by Health Teacher on July 27, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Re: “Abstinence-only preserved in Charleston schools

ATTENTION: Heritage is a salary heavy publicly funded organization that needs to wake up and change their curriculum and become truly involved if they want to be taken seriously by professionals with regards to health education. The proof is in the pudding and tax returns. As a middle school public school health educator/teacher in the lowcountry (over 10 years now), parent of two teenagers, taxpayer, concerned citizen, and professional having recently attended the South Carolina Convention for the Prevention of Teen Pregnancy it is very clear to enlightened citizens and professionals that "Abstinence Only" programs are not only ineffective,...They are not desired by professional health organization or representatives. They are not educationally aligned with regards to State or National Health Standards. Why CCSD School Board members would vote against the Health Advisory Committee's recommendation to not recommend Heritage is a direct reflection of our state's poor ranking with respect to teenage pregnancies and STD's and overall education. Comprehensive Health Education specifically reproductive health is not a moral compass, but a data proven scientific educational tool giving students age appropriate information and science regarding their bodies, healthy choices, media influence, and decision making at developmental levels. Somehow the mention of the word "condom or banana" keeps coming up in this forum. Contraception is a small necessary piece of comprehensive health education. Anatomy, conception, child/fetal development, STD's and contraception should be REQUIRED for all students of SC schools. Wake up and look at the facts. One in four teens will have a STD before the age of 20. Putting your head in the sand or refusing to teach our youth "facts that affect their personal and our national health" is just plain negligence and contributes to our healthcare woes physically and fiscally. Abstinence is best and parents ARE and SHOULD BE the primary educator, but wake up. Parents are welcome to review reproductive health materials and "opt their children out" of these classes. Tax payers singularly fund this organization and the nepotism and organizational structure is self serving with no data to support their retention with regards to public health education. It's absurd to have to enlighten the adults while neglecting the children that should be learning to make informed decisions. Teaching sex is not part of the standard or curriculum! Let's not waste anymore tax dollars with these types of programs.

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Posted by Health Teacher on July 14, 2010 at 3:05 PM
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