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New Mexico schools shun abstinence-only group

New Mexico schools shun abstinence-only group

Officials with an abstinence-only sex education group in New Mexico say demand for their presentations at Albuquerque public schools has plummeted after media reports and school officials questioned whether the group's lessons are medically accurate, the Albuquerque Journal reports. Officials with the Best Choice Educational Services, which conducts the abstinence-only classes, say local schools have been "confused" by the scrutiny of its program, which they insist contains medically accurate data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But Albuquerque school board member Miguel Acosta and some public-health officials in the city have said the program provides false information about condoms' effectiveness in protecting against sexually transmitted diseases. Most of the 25 Albuquerque public schools that invited BCES to conduct abstinence-only sessions last year have not asked the agency to return this year, says BCES peer mentoring director Mandi Dotson. BCES executive director David Magruder says the falling demand for the program could threaten its funding. With fewer students attending BCES's abstinence-only classes--about 3,400 have participated in the classes so far this year, down from about 5,000 students at the same point in 2004--the group may lose out on some of the $75,000 in state funds and $536,000 in federal grants it receives each year.

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