Mandatory sex education classes in New York City public schools are a cause for concern, one Christian leader says.
Beginning this school year, middle and high schools in the country's most populous city will be required to implement a curriculum from which students would be taught condom usage and the appropriate age for sexual activity, according to The New York Times. This is the first time in nearly two decades that sex education classes are being mandated.
"Here is the bottom line on this issue: the New York City public schools now are mandating the teaching of sex education in a way that is intended directly to counter abstinence-based sex education," Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in his daily podcast.
"What we have here is a mandated curriculum ... which can be described as nothing less than radical in terms of what it's going to be presenting to very young adolescents and also to high-schoolers."
The required class is part of Mayor Mike Bloomberg's Young Men's Initiative – an effort to "improve outcomes for young black and Latino men."
Black and Latino boys are twice as likely as white children to grow up in poverty and twice as likely to drop out of school. Young Latino men, ages 16-24, are 2.5 times more likely to have a child in New York City than young white men, according to the initiative.
"We have to face these hard truths head on, not to lament them, but to change them," said Bloomberg in his announcement on Sunday. "Over the next three years, we will do that by removing barriers and promoting opportunities for young black and Latino men in four key areas where the disparities are greatest – education, health, employment, and the justice system."
The initiative is a $127 million endeavor.
Under the mandate, students will be taught a semester of sex education in 6th or 7th grade and then again in 9th or 10th grade. The suggested curriculum is HealthSmart for middle school and Reducing the Risk for high school.
According to the NYTimes, some schools will likely turn to Planned Parenthood for their sex education classes.
"If that doesn't scare you, I don't know what will," Mohler said.
"So the New York City public schools will now be trying to educate – is that even the appropriate word here? How about indoctrinate – very young students without any input from their parents nor protection from the secular onslaught, the appropriate age for the initiation of sexual activity," the influential evangelical noted.
"This is the logic of a society that has lost its sanity on sexual morality. It turns to teenagers and even, in this case, preteens and wants to instruct them about the age in which they can begin sexual activity, bereft of all other moral considerations. Oh and by the way, here's how to use a condom."
Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced in a letter that concerned parents will have the option of removing their children from lessons on birth control and prevention.