New York Church Buildings Ban Sex Ed Or HIV/AIDS Classes For Schools Renting Rooms

A little known fact about education in New York has recently come to light and has had parents and students upset for years. Unbeknown to many who aren’t in the system, no course about sex education or HIV/AIDS prevention is allowed to be taught in any church-owned building, thus forcing students at the many schools who rent out rooms in churches to travel to other locations for these important classes.

Not only are sex education classes crucial for young people, but they are mandated by law. In 1987, the state decided that every student has to have classes on HIV/AIDS at least once a year. In 2011, a law was passed requiring students to have sex ed classes in sixth or seventh grade and again in ninth or tenth grade. This is what makes this rule so ridiculous and unreasonable.

At El Puente Academy in Brooklyn, students go to school all day at a space rented from a church, but when it comes time for their sex ed class, the kids have to walk 15 minutes away to the school’s offices. These students and their parents are an example of many who are fed up with an unreasonable rule. Despite their complaints, church establishments seem to think this is not a problem.

A Harlem mother whose daughter attends Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School, a school that rents out a church building in Washington Heights, expressed her frustration at the situation, saying, “I can’t see how a church is going to tell you about what to teach.”

Although the churches argue that it is completely in their rights to control what is taught under their roof, this is just a ridiculous attempt to try to change what young people are taught. Perhaps the silliest part about it all is that they are not stopping students from learning about safe sex or how to protect themselves from disease, it is required by law that they go to this class, so it is going to get done anyways. These churches are simply making it inconvenient for everyone for no reason.

Another strange and upsetting part of this situation is that the churches are not just banning sex ed, but also any sort of lesson about HIV/AIDS. It is so obvious to why it is crucial that kids are educated on things like sex and its dangers. Maybe if it isn’t taught to kids it just won’t exist anymore, and won’t be a concern? Um, no.

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Julia Birnbaum

Julia Birnbaum is a student at Sarah Lawrence college with a passion for writing and a love for all things pop. Julia is currently studying abroad in Florence, Italy.

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