In yet another chapter in the debate over comprehensive sex education in American schools, a high school in Ohio has received criticism from parents and a local atheist group over a lesson in a home and economics class that allegedly gave less-than-medically accurate information.
According to a letter from American Atheists Legal Center (AALC), the parent of an eighth grader at Wooster High School, a public school, complained that a visiting lecture from an abstinence-promoting "pregnancy care center representative" provided "confusing" material in class.
According to the letter:
The statements made by the representative that confused the student were as follows:
1. If a girl gets pregnant because of rape or incest, her only option is adoption of the baby.
2. Marriage prevents sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
3. Students shouldn’t have children until they are married.
(Spoiler alert: There are other options. Married people do get STDs. People can have children whenever they're good and ready.)
The AALC writes that although the parent tried to talk with administrators about her concerns -- and about not being notified about the event or its pro-abstinence origins -- she was told that the visit from the pregnancy care center was an "annual event."
They add that when she asked an administrator about bringing in an alternative speaker from the local Planned Parenthood clinic to talk about "STD prevention and alternatives to unwanted pregnancy," she was allegedly told that "such information would not be presented to the students."
The district's Superintendent Dr. Michael Tefs told Huffington Post that the allegations in the AALC letter were "not only false, but ridiculous."
"I am bound to enforce every policy set forth by the board of education and I firmly believe our policies have been consulted, evaluated, upheld and deeply respected," Tefs told HuffPo, adding that the "approved curriculum used by the presenter" was from a non-partisan group -- the Alliance for Healthy Youth in Akron.
In Ohio, schools are required to provide sex and HIV education (though students can opt out) but it is not required to be "medically accurate," according to the Guttmacher Institute.
"The speaker never referenced rape or incest and never discussed emergency contraception measures or adoption," Tefs added. "Marriage was only used as a positive example of a relationship with a decreased risk of contracting STDs."
MTV News has reached out to Wooster City School District and the Alliance for Healthy Youth in Akron for comment.