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Jan 15, 2009
Yes, literally clowns. And not just any clowns. Clowns who teach middle schoolers sex education!
The good folks at the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland were kind enough to send this info to me touting the work of one Derek Dye, the latest in the long, funny and sad line of abstinence-only sex education heroes. Dye uses his juggling clown schtick to draw the middle school kids’ attention, and then… Wham!
“Having sex before you are married is just like juggling machetes!”
“Sex before marriage will destroy all of your life’s dreams!”
Check out this must-see video of Dye at work in a middle school classroom:
(For the second straight time, Derek Dye and the New Life Center have asked that the video be taken down (first YouTube, now on Amplify), as they don’t want other people outside of their abstinence-only funding circles to know what kind of fraud they are perpetrating on the American taxpayers and school kids in Ohio. After this notice, we linked to Derek’s site where the video was still located, but he has now taken the video down from his own site, as well. Because our tax dollars are going to this nonsense, and because such funding puts the sexual health of our youth at risk, we are putting the video back up here as a public service.)
As clownish as Dye’s words may sound to you, they are unfortunately not rare ones for young people to hear in classrooms all over the country. Thanks to George W. Bush and a complicit Congress, we have spent $1.5 billion to fund abstinence-only until marriage sex education in our public schools. And yes, that money goes to people like Derek Dye, as he is employed by the Elizabeth New Life Center that received a $800,000 CBAE grant in 2007 to promote abstinence until marriage. His qualifications? A “Bachelor of Fun Arts” from Barnum Bailey Clown College, and an abstinence educator certification that can be purchased for $50.
So… what’s wrong with abstinence-only until marriage sex education? Abstinence-only programs censor information about contraception and condoms; make moral judgments students may not share; stigmatize and shame students who have already had sex; and discriminate against GLBTQ students who can’t legally marry. These programs often encourage stereotypical gender roles, use scare tactics, blur religion and science, and contain factual errors, like saying that HIV can be spread through sweat and tears.
And using condoms is like juggling machetes…
What’s more, abstinence-only programs don’t work – independent study after study has shown that students who receive them don’t have lower pregnancy, HIV, or STI rates. And worse, students who receive abstinence-only programs are less likely to use contraception and condoms when they do have sex.
Then again, as one colleague told me today, nothing wants to make her have sex less than a clown… so maybe they’re on to something.
So… what can we do to make sure that abstinence-only programs like this one are not funded with our tax dollars? First of all, contact the Obama transition team to make sure that they ZERO OUT these programs in their first budget. Also, ending abstinence-only funding is currently 3rd place on Change.gov’s user rankings, so you can go there and vote for it , too.
(As Mr. Obama is now Mr. President, you can contact him here and urge him to end abstinence-only funding and start funding comprehensive sex ed)
Secondly, we must contact all of our representatives to let them know that we do not want this waste of money being snuck back into the budget through the appropriations process. Send them that message here.
For those of you living in Ohio, call or email your Ohio State Senator today and urge them to co-sponsor the Act For Our Children’s Future, a bill to establish standards for comprehensive sexual health education in Ohio’s public schools.
LET’S SEND OUT THE CLOWNS!!!
UPDATE: Apparently, Derek Dye is now ashamed of his work. After a wave of free publicity and 20,000 views on YouTube, Derek got YouTube to take the video down beause of "copyright infringement". Derek, what’s the problem, don’t you want to spread your amazing abstinence-only message to as many people as possible? Or maybe you realized that when viewed outside of the irrational abstinence-only crowd, your work is seen as the fraud that it is?