Responding to complaints from local parents, Shenendehowa School district in upstate New York has severed ties with the local Planned Parenthood, over a controversial health education class.  The classes, taught in 46 schools throughout 12 counties, are offered to middle school and high school aged students, though the focus is on teaching abstinence to middle school students.  The lessons clearly provide a different definition of abstinence than some parents would prefer.

Via the Times Union:

In October, a small group of parents raised objections after they learned some students were allegedly told that abstinence allowed for oral sex and that some high school classes had condom demonstrations.

Furthermore, the parents were not provided an opportunity for their children to opt out of such lessons.  Maureen Shifler, a district parent who led the charge against Planned Parenthood explains:

Shifler said a primary concern among the two dozen parents allied to her cause centered around the way abstinence was presented to children and that some parents were not given proper notification about their right to opt out of the coursework. She said that children were being lulled into a false sense of security and that they could still be exposed to sexually transmitted diseases.

Darren Cosgrove, a community educator for Planned Parenthood, placed the blame squarely on school officials:

Cosgrove said teachers gave glowing reviews to the program and that criticism of the coursework is often based on a misunderstanding about what goes on in the classroom. He said district officials requested the condom demonstration years ago and that most schools allow parents to opt out of the program if they don’t want their children to participate.

He further explained:
… the program is more advanced for high school students, who learn about disease prevention and birth control methods.

Is encouraging kids to view oral sex as an acceptable form of abstinence counter intuitive to disease prevention?

Check out the article for a closer view of the Planned Parenthood ‘Sex Education Kit’.