Teaching Fear

B. Teen Aid

The other leading abstinence-only curricula are produced by Teen Aid, Inc., founded in 1981 on the belief that avoidance of sexual activity and strong family ties provide teens with necessary stability and with increased opportunities for the future. LeAnna Benn is the executive director of Teen Aid, Inc., a Spokane, Washington-based organization that developed and now promotes Me, My World, My Future, a fear-based sex education program for students in grades 7-9. Benn developed and wrote this Teen Aid curriculum in 1981 with teacher, Nancy Roach. Benn operates Teen Aid, Inc. under the assumption that "all the kids can succeed at abstinence and [we will] deal with individual cases if they can't," ignoring the fact that in an age of HIV/AIDS, an individual case of "failed abstinence" can prove fatal. Benn believes contraceptives should not be discussed because, "you undo the abstinence message if you talk about contraception in the classroom."

The Teen Aid curriculum for students in high school, Sexuality, Commitment and Family, was written by Nancy Roach and Steve Potter. In a Teen Aid report, Potter and Roach wrote, "Many of the programs offered for adolescents suggest that sex is simply a feeling and that the sex act in no way has any moral implications; i.e., to be free of all feelings of guilt is to be sexually normal."

The Teen Aid programs take a heavy-handed approach, using scare tactics and providing students with information on only the negative consequences of sexual behavior. For example, they cite the following as results of sexual activity: loss of reputation, limitations in dating/marriage choices, difficulty in sexual adjustment and confusion regarding personal value. Like Sex Respect and Facing Reality, the curricula are filled with sexist bias, religious bias and racist and classist comments. For example, the text editorializes against marriages across "class" boundaries:

Sociologists have found that when similar economic backgrounds (`social class') and educational levels are disregarded by couples, marriage adjustment is very difficult. Different cultural backgrounds are also hurdles too high for some couples to negotiate.
The curricula provide no information on sexual orientation, and depict non-traditional families in a negative light.

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