At a time when local and state governments are trying to make budget ends meet, it’s hard to understand.
But for Gov. Jon Corzine and his administration, apparently, the $800,000 wasn’t worth it, since this particular funding was earmarked for abstinence education in public schools and required that marriage be promoted as the normal place for sexual activity. Since by promoting contraception, schools end up tacitly promoting sexual activity, it also barred teachers from mentioning contraception as an alternative.
With an Oct. 24 letter from state
health and education officials,
Hamilton, who has three children
in public schools in
But Fred Jacobs,
The state also objects to other stipulations of the federal abstinence funding, Jacobs said. The federal guidelines include the following statements:
— “A mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity,” and
— “Sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.”
“We are concerned that the federal definition fails to acknowledge that there are a variety of different family structures, and the definition is critical of single-parent families,” Jacobs said.
George Corwell, who handles education issues with the New Jersey Catholic Conference, was disappointed in the decision by the Corzine administration, but wasn’t surprised.
“This is the mindset that
Organizations dedicated to providing teachers and students with great material, he said, “are the ones who are going to suffer.”
works on Project Yes You Can at
“We’re hoping that this isn’t a
final decision,” said Vissani. “There is precedent
Vissani said that
“I can say without hesitation that Title V abstinence education has been roundly appreciated,” Vissani said. “The teachers welcome the assistance that abstinence funding provides. They are not prepared to teach this material.”
Vissani also took issue with the reasons
“Any school that wants to teach contraception can teach contraception. They just can’t do it in the same class time as the abstinence class time,” said Vissani. She also said that teaching monogamy as the ideal “shouldn’t offend anyone in the classroom.”
“For the state to say that monogamy isn’t the healthiest outcome that we should promote would be professionally negligent,” said Vissani.
If abstinence programs are de-funded, that will only make Nancy Hamilton work harder.
A self-described “soccer mom,”
Hamilton first got interested in abstinence education when she brought her
teenage daughter to see an abstinence program at St. Peter’s Hospital in
“For part of the program, they
showed a 4- to 5-minute clip of a Pam Stenzel video,”
After a quick trip to
She got her pastor to promote the video in confirmation classes at her parish. She said Stenzel captivates the interest of teenagers when she talks about abstinence. And the response at her Catholic parish was electric.
“People were calling the monsignor
and said, ‘You have changed my son,’” said
Now armed with Stenzel’s public school version video, she’s working to get the tape shown at the health classes at her daughter’s public school.
“I’m trying to get it to the
eighth graders in the school,” said
She thinks that
“We’re not dictating to them that
they must be monogamous. We’re saying that monogamy is best,” said
Joshua Mercer writes from