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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Catholic Schools and Sexuality

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Author Topic: Catholic Schools and Sexuality
Member # 25552

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Hi! I'm new here! I've been lurking forever and I've learned a lot from Scarleteen, so I just wanted to start posting now.

RANT (Sorry, I just need to get this off my chest.)

I know that I pretty much asked for this by going to a Catholic school, but it's just getting worse and worse.

My school has no sex ed program AT ALL. In fact, they're not required to. Because it's a Catholic school, we are not taught sex ed, we are taught an abstinence-only (or else you will go to hell because you are a bad person by having premarital sex)program. Lovely, isn't it?

I remember in grade 9 how my gym teacher told us that "In the long run, guys won't want to be with girls who've been around the block a lot. No guy wants a "slutty" girl. Remember: It's hip to be square!"

As if that isn't bad, last year, I've had a number of kids ask me what

a STD was.

How is our sex ed program helping the students? Not at all. Over 50% of the students I know have had sex, or are sexually active currently. At least they are using protection (despite our school being anti-contraception (I don't even know why the Catholic Church has an anti-contraception rule) many kids have easy access to condoms and the like), but they are not getting tested, and do not know much about STDS/STIS.

The smartest thing my school has ever done was put a basket of condoms in the library. This raises issues with me.

1) Hardly anyone goes to the library at my school, so they are not accessible to everyone, and

2) If they do get the condoms, some of the kids will have no clue how to use one properly, because that's not explained in sex ed class. So therefore, they have to turn to other people for info, and they may not get proper information.

What I found most infuriating is the incorrect "facts" they tell the students in Religion class. My teacher last year was ranting and raving for 15 minutes about how EC was an abortion in a pill and that should be banned from Canada and the fact that it's behind the counter and easily accessable. I calmy replied that EC was a pill to take after sex if other contraceptives failed, that would prevent a pregnancy from happening, and it would not harm a pregnancy if it had started already.

Then in Religion class we had to watch a video where a woman stood in front of a hall of teenagers lecturing them on how "condoms are 70% effective" and grossly misstating facts.

But it gets worse.

My school's stance on abortion has me kicking and screaming. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, and they can preach it if they want. That's fine. My school has a very strong anti-abortion campaign going on. I don't mind that they're speaking their views but they're taking it too far. This morning on the announcements, they told us that if we weren't pro-life that we were "helping to kill thousands of babies each year" and that allowing abortion is "letting the devil into our society".

The head of this campaign, one of the Religion teachers, has completely brainwashed this school into a pro-life sentiment. I am appalled at what's going on, but I can't do anything about this at my school, because I only know one other person who is pro-choice, and I fear that if we were to try and have a pro-choice info table in the main hall we would be yelled at by students and staff, and possibly suspended.

I had an idea. I wanted to start a sexuality awarness table in the main hall outside the caf of my school. Everyone goes there on lunch, it's easily accessible, and everyone has to go through that hall to get in/out of school.

The problem? I would need help from a teacher to set it up, and I probably need approval from the principal to set up anything in the main hall.
Plus I have lunch 3 (out of a possible lunch 2,3,4 or 5) so then I would be reaching approximately 400 kids out of 1800.
The other big problem is that I do not know where to start on this. How do I go about advocating safe sex and awareness to teenagers, as a teenager? Do I give out pamphlets or anything? It would be greatly appreciated if you could give me advice on what to do.

Posts: 1 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
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Believe it or not, the experiences you have been having are the same sort those at public schools in the States have also been having: in fact, given private schools tend to fund sex ed programs with private funds, more private schools than public now (since in 1996, a mandate was created to only give federal funding for abstinence-based sex ed) have comprehensive sex ed programs.

Given your desire for action -- and good for you! -- and yet your very limited venue, I'd suggest perhaps organizing a meeting with you, your parents and the school heads about this issue. Because likely anything else you do without permission and support is probably just going to land you in the serious doghouse, and getting suspended doesn't help anyone. You might also want to consider writing an op/ed letter for your local newspaper. The table idea is a neat one, but I see the chance for your school supporting it to be about exactly nil -- you could ask about it anyway at that meeting, though. (And if you do that, I suggest going prepared: for instance, come with medically referenced and accurate sources to refute the misinformation they've been giving. Hit the library.)

It's best to think local when it comes to things like this, but sometimes, we can't act locally, for various reasons, such as being barred from doing so.

But you sure can branch out a little and support your aims.

For instance, you talked about ec: we've been asking for EC letters here for a while (see the last few posts at the blog: to help get public opinion out there. Write one, send it to us. See if your librarian won't let you circulate this web address and others like it on a sheet for your peers. Support organizations like ours, like Planned Parenthood (look up your local branch, they may need volunteers), like Advocates for Youth, which lobbies expressly against the ab-only education issues you're experiencing, for instance.

Heather Corinna
Editor & Founder
ST homepage • ST blog • about Heather & Scarleteen

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 09-30-2005).]

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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