Sunshine State not so bright on sex ed

Florida uses shame, fear and lies to teach kids about the birds and the bees.

Published March 4, 2009 10:00PM (EST)

Non-newsflash: the Lone Star State isn't alone in teaching sex misdeducation. Right on the heels of a report detailing Texas' dismal sex ed programs, a new report finds that the Sunshine State is also keeping kids "in the dark." Florida's school districts are legally required to promote "abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school-aged students" but aren't expected to offer even basic information about safe sex, says the report.

Abstinence-only programs have taken the state by storm, thanks to a whopping $64 million in federal funding. The report, by the Sexuality Information and Education Council and the Healthy Teens Campaign of Florida, points out that "only Texas receives more money." And, just like Texas, Florida's sex ed programs promote un-sexy things like fear, shame, gender stereotypes and lies. Here's a sampling of the gems of wisdom that can be found in state curricula:

"Men sexually are like microwaves and women are like crockpots."

The consequence of premarital sex: “No ongoing relationships, no commitment, no security, no family and possibly no children."

Sex within marriage “will eliminate any of the physical and/or emotional harm caused by contracting a sexually transmitted disease."

“Condoms fail so often in preventing pregnancy (10-36%) that doctors call them ‘antiquated birth control.’"

More on condoms: “Would you buy a ticket to go bungee jumping from a company that admits their bungee cords will fail about 40% of the time?”

I might laugh, if these blatant lies weren't so damn destructive. "The most recent data available shows Florida has the third highest rate in the nation of new AIDS diagnoses, the fifth highest rate of new HIV infections; teen pregnancy rates that are the sixth highest in the nation; nearly two-thirds of all new sexually transmitted diseases in the state were among young people; and 15% of new HIV infections occurred among those under the age of 25," according to the report. "In sum, Florida has some of the worst health outcomes on these key indicators of reproductive and sexual health nationwide." There's nothing funny about that.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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