New Hampshire - Allbodies

New Hampshire

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History/Timeline

1800s- pamphlets about venereal diseases, overall good hygiene, and the evils of prostitution and masturbation were widely distributed outside of schools.

 

1913- Chicago attempts to formally introduce sex-ed into their school systems. The Catholic Church helps shut it down. (6)

 

1914– The American Hygiene Association was founded to teach soldiers about sexual hygiene throughout the war.  They would later be involved in creating school curriculums.

 

1916– Planned Parenthood is founded in New York.

 

1919– A report from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Children’s Bureau was released that suggested soldiers would have been better off if they had received sex instruction in school. (6)

 

1920s– resurgence of interest in getting sex-ed into schools.

Between 20-40% of U.S. school systems had programs in social hygiene and sexuality. (6)

 

1930s–  The U.S. Office of Education began to publish materials and train teachers.

 

1964– The medical director at Planned Parenthood, Mary Calderone, founded the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) in part to challenge the American Social Hygiene Association.

 

1968– A pamphlet called “Is the School House the Proper Place to Teach Raw Sex?” is widely distributed by Gordon Drake and James Hargis framing sex ed as a way to indoctrinate children into communism.  Thus began the scary rhetoric that sex-ed was teaching students to be homosexuals and that teachers were having sex in front of students. (6)

 

1980s– The AIDS epidemic takes hold.  Religious groups use this public health crisis to push their own agenda and convince school board members and legislative officials that abstinence-only sex education was the only way to keep kids “safe.”

 

1981– President Regan signed the Adolescent Family Life Act (aka the “Chastity Law” –yikes!). This law allowed federal funding to go to abstinence-only programming.  And abstinence-only sexuality education (AOSE) and abstinence-only until marriage (AOUM) programming became the norm in the US.

 

2004: Study is published showing the harms of abstinence-only-until-marriage (AOUM) programs and the importance of investing in comprehensive sexuality education.  There are plenty more studies that have been published since reaffirming the same results. (It’s possible there were studies earlier than this, but this was the earliest one we could find.  Know of an earlier one? Please get in touch!)

 

2018: Under the Trump administration, Abstinence-only until marriage (AOUM) is rebranded to be Sexual Risk Avoidance Education (SRAE) (1). More federal funding goes towards pushing these programs.

 

And now on to New Hampshire…

 

2003: New Hampshire published Health Education Curriculum Guidelines differentiating material for elementary, middle and high schools. 

 

2017: Parents must be notified two weeks prior to sexual education material and given an option to “opt-out” for religious objections (2) In the state of New Hampshire, sexual education in both public and private institutions receive federal funding under the division of adolescent and school health funds (DASH) and personal responsibility education program funds (PREP). In the fiscal year of 2017, New Hampshire received $65,000 from DASH and $250,000 from PREP, totaling in $315,000 federally funded sexual education programs. Created by the Center for Disease Prevention (CDC) in combination with community partners, DASH provides comprehensive educational resources for school and community centers on HIV, STD and pregnancy prevention (1). PREP operates under the Family and Youth Services Bureau that provides “abstinence-plus” education programs; teaching both abstinence and contraception (1). Currently, PREP funds both sexual education programs “FOCUS/SHINE” and “Reducing the risk!” which are taught from kindergarten to twelfth grade. 

Tell us more about the sex-ed requirements (or lack there of)

In New Hampshire, state requirements for sexual education mandate curriculums are culturally appropriate and unbiased, reference/stress abstinence, include HIV information, and include safety against sexual abuse (1). State requirements do not mandate that curriculums be medically accurate, age-appropriate, evidence-based, or LBGTQ inclusive (1). Though sexual education is required (not optional), as of June 16, 2017, parents must be notified two weeks prior to sexual education material and given an option to “opt-out” for religious objections (2).

What the kids are actually learning

In 2003, New Hampshire published Health Education Curriculum Guidelines differentiating material for elementary, middle and high schools. Elementary schools are required to teach family life and sexuality including families and relationships, growth, development, and HIV/AIDS. Middle schools are required to teach the same material with the addition of pregnancy prevention. High schools are required to teach the same material with the addition of pregnancy prevention and violence and date rape (2). Throughout the state published legal requirements is a heavy emphasis on abstinence. Title XV references abstinence as the most effective way to avoid HIV and STIs (3).

 

The printed material distributed to middle school and high school provide content descriptions and skill assessments in an effort to comprehensively teach family life and sexuality. The middle school content requires sexual behavior to be taught through nine short lessons. Of these nine lessons surrounding sexual education and healthy sexual practices, four directly prioritize practicing abstinence. 

 

HIV and STD material also directly requires abstinence to be taught as the most effective form of prevention. Pregnancy prevention is taught in four short lessons, three of which emphasize abstinence (3). The high school content requires the same teaching method with the addition of more extensive lessons. Sexual behavior is taught in twelve short lessons, six of which stress abstinence. HIV and STD material is taught in nine short lessons, where abstinence is stated as the most effective form of prevention. Pregnancy prevention is taught in five short lessons, three of which emphasize abstinence (3).

 

Middle School Lessons (4):

 

For Sexual Behavior, students are taught (4): 

  • How to make a personal commitment to abstain from sexual intercourse, 
  • Most students are not engaging in sexual intercourse, 
  • How to refuse unwanted or unprotected sex, 
  • Benefits of setting sexual limits, e.g. staying in school, reputation, achieving future goals, 
  • Strategies to show respect for sexual limits of others, 
  • Strategies to deal with pressures to cross sexual limits, 
  • Effects of alcohol and other drug use on sexual behavior, 
  • Risks of unintended pregnancy and disease with unprotected intercourse 
  • Influences on sexual behavior, e.g. family, peers, religion, media, culture, internal. 

 

For HIV and Other STD Prevention students are taught (4): 

 

  • Risks of HIV and other STD’s, 
  • Common signs and symptoms of HIV and other STDs, 
  • Common routes of transmission of HIV and other STD’s, 
  • Effective prevention strategies – abstinence is the most effective, 
  • HIV and other STDs can be asymptomatic, consequences of untreated HIV and other STDs, 
  • Treatment options, 
  • Valid sources of information and help, 
  • Importance of having compassion for people with HIV. 

 

And finally, for Pregnancy Prevention students are taught (4): 

 

  • Abstinence is the most effective prevention method, 
  • Facts and myths about contraceptive methods, 
  • Valid sources to get help, 
  • Effective methods and steps for prevention. 

 

For their high school lessons, we see that students are revisiting several topics. However, as we mentioned above, there’s an addition of sexual violence added to the curriculum (4):

 

Sexual Behavior: 

  • How to make a personal commitment to abstain from sexual intercourse, 
  • Most students are not engaging in sexual intercourse, 
  • Strategies for refusing unwanted or unprotected sex, 
  • Benefits of setting sexual limits, e.g. staying in school, reputation, achieving future goals, 
  • Importance of respecting sexual limits of others, 
  • Strategies for dealing with pressures to cross sexual limits, 
  • Effects of alcohol and other drug use on sexual behavior, 
  • Risks of unintended pregnancy and disease with unprotected sex, 
  • Influences on sexual behavior, e.g. family, peers, religion, media, culture, internal, 
  • Risks of multiple partners, 
  • Situations that may lead to sex, 
  • How to make a personal commitment to avoid pregnancy, HIV and other STDs. 

 

HIV and other STDs Prevention (4): 

  • Risks of HIV and other STDs, 
  • Effective prevention strategies- abstinence is the most effective, 
  • Common signs and symptoms of HIV and other STDs, 
  • Common routes of transmission of HIV and STDs, 
  • Relative risk of specific behaviors, 
  • Treatment options, 
  • Valid sources of information and help, 
  • Resources for counseling and testing, 
  • HIV and other STDs can be asymptomatic. 

 

Pregnancy Prevention (4): 

  • Abstinence Is the most effective method,
  • Relative effectiveness of contraceptive methods, 
  • Importance of consistent use of contraceptives, 
  • Valid. Sources to get help, 
  • Effective prevention strategies. 

Any interesting programs/initiatives/legislation in the works or currently running?

Every year, the national CDC conducts their Youth Risk Behavior Survey. This is a great resource for those wanting to advocate for certain measures in New Hampshire, and nationally. 

 

In 2015, the CDC conducted school profiles through teacher-administered questionnaires. Though the results favor the bias of the schools, they are still generally representative of the sexual education curriculums. 

 

In New Hampshire, high school students were reported below the national average in the following categories: never having had sexual intercourse, reported having sexual intercourse before the age of 13, reported not using a condom during last sexual intercourse, reported experiencing dating violence (5). New Hampshire high school students reported in close range to the national average in the following categories: having had drunk alcohol or used drugs during last sexual intercourse, reported having been physically forced to have sexual intercourse, reported experiencing sexual dating violence (5).

 

The CDC and the Guttmacher Institute have collected and analyzed data on individual state rates of pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other STDs in comparison with national averages, finding that New Hampshire is below the national average in the following categories: teen pregnancy and birth rates, HIV/AIDS and STDs with particularly low rates of HIV/AIDS (0.8/100,000 vs 5.8/100,000- HIV) (0.0/100,000 vs 0.7/100,000- AIDS) (5).

 

The CDC has published 19 critical sexual education topics, of these topics, 28.4% of middle schools covered all recommended topics and 79.4% of high schools covered all recommended topics (5). Dissimilarly, the CDC found that abstinence was taught to 84.7% of middle schoolers and 100% of high schoolers. It is also worthwhile to note that the CDC found 45.5% of secondary schools provided supplementary materials to LGBTQ students (5).

 

Want to learn the state of sex-ed across the other states? Check them out here!

Written by: Sophia Lothrop

Edited by: Teri Bradford

Have info to add? Please get in touch!

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+ References

(1) New Hampshire State Profile. Sept. 2018, www.comprehensivesexualityeducation.org/wp-content/uploads/NEW-HAMPSHIRE_9.28.18.pdf.

(2) SIECUS. State Profiles Fiscal Year 2017. Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States , 2017, siecus.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/NEW-HAMPSHIRE-FY17-FINAL.pdf.

(3) United States, Congress, The State School Organization. Title XV. Title XV, State Board of Education.

(4) United States, Congress, Middle School Curriculum Guidelines. Middle School Curriculum Guidelines, New Hampshire State Department of Education, 2003, pp. 107110.

(5) SIECUS. State Profiles Fiscal Year 2017. Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States , 2017, siecus.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/NEW-HAMPSHIRE-FY17-FINAL.pdf.

(6) Cornblatt, Johannah. “A Brief History of Sex Ed in America.” Newsweek, March 13, 2010. https://www.newsweek.com/brief-history-sex-ed-america-81001.

(1) New Hampshire State Profile. Sept. 2018, www.comprehensivesexualityeducation.org/wp-content/uploads/NEW-HAMPSHIRE_9.28.18.pdf.

(2) SIECUS. State Profiles Fiscal Year 2017. Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States , 2017, siecus.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/NEW-HAMPSHIRE-FY17-FINAL.pdf.

(3) United States, Congress, The State School Organization. Title XV. Title XV, State Board of Education.

(4) United States, Congress, Middle School Curriculum Guidelines. Middle School Curriculum Guidelines, New Hampshire State Department of Education, 2003, pp. 107110.

(5) SIECUS. State Profiles Fiscal Year 2017. Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States , 2017, siecus.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/NEW-HAMPSHIRE-FY17-FINAL.pdf.

(6) Cornblatt, Johannah. “A Brief History of Sex Ed in America.” Newsweek, March 13, 2010. https://www.newsweek.com/brief-history-sex-ed-america-81001.