Responding to soaring sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy rates, the New York City Department of Education (NYCDE) is implementing mandatory sex education for middle school and high school students, reports Courthouse News Service. Sex education classes have not been mandatory in the city for nearly two decades. According to the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), New York City has the highest rates of HIV and AIDS in the country.
The most recent long-term study of teen pregnancy, based on data from 1997 to 2007, reports that New York City (NYC) has recorded the highest rates nationally. In 2005, the latest year available for U.S. pregnancy figures, the NYC rate was 21% higher than the national rate. According to 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey data, 41% of New York City youth reported becoming sexually active by ninth grade and 58% by 12th grade. NYCLU applauded the new mandate, which follows a spring 2008 pilot program in seven South Bronx middle schools and high schools. An evaluation of the program showed that teachers, principals, parents and students widely supported it.
Source: Courthouse News Service, 8/10/11, By Adam Klasfeld
[Editor's Note: The study referenced in the article was conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). Among the measures recommended by DOHMH's "Teen Pregnancy in New York City: 1997-2007" to prevent teen pregnancy were:
• "Implementing comprehensive sex education in middle and high schools, in partnership with the Department of Education;" and
• "Providing training and technical assistance to health care providers in community and school-based health centers (SBHCs) to ensure access to sexual and reproductive health services, including contraception."]