Mississippi Sex Ed Curriculum Compared Sexually Active Teen Girls to Dirty Chocolate
at least 71 of the state’s 151 school districts have opted to teach abstinence-plus sex education, a nominal improvement from previous decades. But as the Los Angeles Times reports, the quality of that education continues to vary widely, and can sometimes undermine safe sex practices and basic awareness of sexual health issues. Case in point: Before a coalition of parents forced a change, a school district in Oxford was teaching students that sexually active teen girls are like dirty chocolate that’s been passed around among students.
“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,” Marie Barnard, a parent and public health worker, told the Times. “That shouldn’t be the lesson we send kids about sex.”
In order to appease conservative opponents of the law, students must get signed permission from parents to participate in even this limited form of sex education. And as the Times notes, in some classrooms, condoms are discussed only to highlight their failure rate, and the law requires that teachers remind their students that sexual activity between gays and lesbians is still technically illegal in the state since lawmakers have left Mississippi’s anti-sodomy statute on the books. (The statute in Mississippi, like identical statutes across the country, was invalidated by the 2003 Supreme Court ruling Lawrence v. Texas.)
Mississippi is not alone in failing its students when it comes to comprehensive sex education. Only 22 states and the District of Columbia require that public schools teach sex education, and only 19 states have laws ensuring that what’s being taught meet the minimum requirement of being medically accurate.