Friday, January 20, 2012

Letter to Rochester City School District Board

Next week, on January 26, the Rochester City School Board will vote on policy changes that provides comprehensive sexual health education and access to prevention resources (condoms) to high school students.  ABC Youth Leaders drafted a letter to the Commissioners of Health.  They are asking community members to sign this letter and they will deliver them to the school board members.

Board of Education
Rochester City School District
131 West Broad Street
Rochester, NY  14614

Dear Commissioners:

I support the proposed changes in the Rochester City School District AIDS education policy.  I believe this policy will provide students with the information and resources necessary for them to take personal responsibility and make informed decisions for their sexual health.  The rates of HIV, STIs and unintended teen pregnancies among Rochester youth create a public health issue and demand a call to action by the entire community.

Young people today are bombarded with mixed messages from media, social networking and peers that often leave them misinformed and confused.  I believe that teachers, school nurses, health educators and school based clinic staff will play an active role in providing students with the information and resources needed to make healthy decisions.  I acknowledge and support the active roles that parents play in educating their children around sexual health, but there are many students who have no one.    They need the unbiased professional who will listen and guide them without judgment. 

Rochester teens have identified the lack of access to condoms (for sexually active youth) as a barrier to their sexual health.  There is a misperception that access to condoms encourages sexual activity.  Research demonstrates that condom availability programs in schools do not result in increased sexual activity but in fact increase condom usage for sexually active youth.  I believe that condom education and access from a school educator or health care professional in the RCSD will demonstrate equal success.

I appreciate the time and commitment the RCSD Board members have put forth in addressing this issue.  I encourage you to listen to the facts and science behind the issue and not make decisions out of misinformation or fear.   I sincerely urge you to take action to address the sexual health education and access to services for your students and vote to pass the AIDS Education policy before you.

Thank you very much!


Youth 4 Change
ABC Action Front Center Youth Leaders

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