Hillsboro School Board – Be Careful Who You Vote For Image of a classroom with article title

By Michael Morrison, Washington County Democrats Communications Team Volunteer

It has come to our attention that a dangerous attack on our progressive values has been launched by an anti-education group. While we applaud the diversity in their candidates, unfortunately, their platform calls for removing Sex Education from schools. This puts children at risk of historical revisionism that would downplay some of our country’s lessons learned in favor of a “positive” historical revisionism.

We believe this group may be related to a Regressive organization that made some inroads in the Salem School district, and we’re calling on all Hillsboro Progressives to carefully research candidates when voting this May.

NOTE: The Washington County Democrats will have an endorsement process later this month. This article is not meant to be in opposition to any particular candidate, but rather to the ideals stated on an organization’s website.

Based on what we can see, what the organization dubs its “values” include “return(ing) family-related issues back to the parents.” On its face, this objective may appear to be reasonable, but it disregards overwhelming research and proven educational best-practices when it comes to sex education of children.

According to a National Association of School Nurses (NASN) position statement, “developmentally appropriate evidence-based sexual health education should be included as part of a comprehensive school health education program and be accessible to all students.” Noting that the “NASN recognizes the role of parents and families as the primary source of education about sexual health,” the statement describes the school nurse as a “valuable resource to parents and educators in this area,” and reiterates the nurse’s role “supporting the implementation of evidence-based sexual health education programs that promote healthy sexual development for all students.”

Citing a variety of studies and analyses from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the NASN position statement calls out several compelling statistics.

  • While teen pregnancy and birth rates in the United Stated continue to decline, rates remain higher than in other industrialized countries; and racial, ethnic and geographic disparities persist (CDC, 2016).
  • In addition, the rates of sexually transmitted infections are at an unprecedented high in the U.S., and more than half of the newly acquired infections occur among adolescents and young adults (CDC, 2016).
  • For decades, studies have shown that the majority of parents in the United States support sexual health in schools. In addition, findings indicated that most parents supported abstinence-based rather than abstinence-only programs (Barr, Moore, Johnson, Forrest, Jordan, 2014).
  • Further, a May 2016 nationwide survey of middle and high school patents found that 70% believe sex education and pregnancy prevention should “definitely be covered” in sexual health education programs (Singer, 2016).
  • A worrisome trend is that the percentage of schools in which students are required to receive instruction on human sexuality, pregnancy, and STI prevention has steadily declined since 2000, (CDC, 2015).
  • Szydlowski (2015) asserts that when teens receive accurate sexual health education information and skills, they can reduce health risk factors that may impact their success in school.
  • Citing the results of the CDC’s 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBSS), the statement goes on the list the many ethnic, social, sexual, and geographic disparities that could harm student performance and impact future success in life.

Experts across the public health and education sectors agree that comprehensive sex education works.

It fosters equity, improves public health and student performance, and creates a more level playing field for those students who, for whatever reason, cannot expect to receive a factual and complete education at home.

We urge Hillsboro voters to consider the overwhelming evidence in support of comprehensive sex education for adolescents and teens before supporting or voting for the candidates who support removing Sex Education from schools, or revisionist (they call it “more positive”) History.