A petition drive is directed at the 4J School District, following presentations by a medical group as part of the district’s sex ed curriculum. As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, petitioners want it barred from future presentations.
Critics say that in recent weeks, Dove Medical has given abstinence-only presentations at several Eugene schools.
Dove Medical is a faith-based, non-profit clinic in Eugene that’s a member of the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, and has been accredited by groups including the American Association of Christian Counselors, and Heartbeat International.
Pro-choice advocates say this crosses a line, as such groups are religiously-motivated and have advocated against abortions.
Jane Brinkley is South Eugene High School’s student representative to the 4J board, as well as a member of the Young Democrats of Lane County, and president of the South Eugene HS Feminist Union.
Brinkley says so far, they’ve gathered roughly 1500 signatures, and expects to have more before the 4J School Board’s next meeting on March 20th.
“We should be given the full access to resources and information so that we can make informed decisions,” Brinkley tells KLCC.
“So really this petition is students and youth making the call that churches don’t have a place in school and that we should be allowed to have sex education that’s comprehensive.”
Brinkley adds that they’re not arguing that abstinence is wrong or shouldn’t be taught, “but if that’s the only option you’re providing to students, and you’re creative connotations around sex that are negative and limiting, you’re going to end up with STIs (sexually-transmitted infections), unplanned pregnancies, and overall sex-negative energy around the topic.”
In a statement, the 4J District says Dove Medical is not engaged in abstinence-only messaging, but speaks of health aspects related to decision-making and boundaries. And in an email to KLCC, Dove Medical says its curriculum conforms with Oregon Human Sexuality Education standards and is free of religious content.
Read the full 4J District statement here as shared on its Facebook page:
“RUMOR CHECK: Schools in Eugene School District 4J provide age-appropriate, fact-based, medically accurate, comprehensive human sexuality education, aligned with Oregon state standards. Our Whole Lives (OWL) is the district's adopted human sexuality education curriculum for middle and high school students. This curriculum is taught by 4J health teachers.
“4J schools do not provide "abstinence-only" sex education. “Abstinence-only” programs are known to be ineffective, and this is not 4J's or Oregon’s approach. Oregon state academic standards for health education recognize abstinence as the most reliable way to prevent sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy, but also call for students to learn complete, balanced, and medically accurate information about human sexuality; contraceptive skills-based education; and decision-making skills to make healthy choices around sexual health and relationships.
“We are hearing concerns from parents and community members based on inaccurate information that is circulating about sex education. Concerns have been raised that 4J schools have changed to teaching abstinence-only sex education, or that sex education is now taught by outside organizations providing faith-based abstinence-only content to students. THIS IS FALSE.
“Our health teachers work to help students learn the knowledge and skills they need to build lifelong healthy approaches to relationships, make healthy and safe decisions, and engage in responsible sexual behavior.
“Schools also regularly supplement learning opportunities in various classes with guest speakers aligned with the curriculum. For example, health classes at various schools engage visitors from organizations such as Planned Parenthood, Ophelia's Place, HIV Alliance, and Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS).
“Dove Medical Center is one such organization that sometimes is scheduled to visit health classes. They are not engaged to convey an abstinence-only message, but to speak about aspects of health related to the curriculum such as healthy boundaries and decision-making skills. Such visiting presenters supplement, not replace, the comprehensive sexuality education provided by 4J's health teachers in middle and high schools.
“Our community values and our state requires comprehensive, fact-based sexuality education. Eugene School District 4J is committed to delivering just that for all of our students.
“For more information about comprehensive sexuality education in Oregon, see:
Read Dove Medical’s official response here:
“Dove Medical is a medical clinic accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) and a member of the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. Dove Medical is a faith-based organization that is not evangelistic, but is focused on meeting the needs of the community. As a 501 (c) 3 non-profit our emphasis is placed on service and not politics.
“STOP–AND–THINK® is a skill based, sexual risk avoidance program that focuses on teaching practical decision making skills and is free of religious content. Our curriculum conforms to Oregon Human Sexuality Education standards and provides opportunities for students to develop and understand their personal values, attitudes, and beliefs about sexuality.
“Dove Medical concurs with the statement released by the 4J School District and appreciates their accurate characterization of our role in Human Sexuality Education as presenting information about healthy decision making skills, peer pressure and healthy boundaries.”
Copyright 2019, KLCC.