New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s administration announced last week that in an effort to improve the lives of black and Latino teenagers in the city, public middle and high schools will now be required include sex-education classes in their curriculum.
“It’s obviously something that applies to all boys and all girls,” deputy mayor for health and human services Linda I. Gibbs, told the New York Times. “But when we look at the biggest disadvantages that kids in our city face, it is blacks and Latinos that are most affected by the consequences of early sexual behavior and unprotected sex.”
According to city statistics, black and Latino teens are far more likely than their white counterparts to have unplanned pregnancies and contract sexually transmitted diseases.
Beginning immediately this coming school year, schools will use a curriculum that includes lessons on how to use a condom and topics that include human anatomy, puberty, pregnancy and the risks of unprotected sex, with the focus to get students to wait until they are older to experiment.
Parents will be able to have their children opt out of the lessons on birth-control methods.
According to the latest numbers provided by the Department of Education, 74 percent of students in New York City public schools are black and Latino.
In 2006, 87 percent of U.S. public and private high schools taught abstinence as the most effective method to avoid pregnancy, HIV and other STDs in a required health education course, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which studies reproductive health.