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Maine officials
reject abstinence program

Maine officials
reject abstinence program

The Maine Department of Education has informed all district school superintendents in the state that the curriculum offered by the abstinence education group Heritage of Maine does not meet the state's minimum comprehensive sex education requirements and cannot be the only sex education program taught in Maine schools, the Portland Press Herald reports. In a two-page letter to school superintendents, Greg Scott, the education department's legislative coordinator, says Heritage of Maine's abstinence-only focus--and any sex education program that discusses only abstinence--fails to meet state health education guidelines. Maine law requires that sex education programs offer instruction on abstinence, birth control, and on using condoms to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Scott says the letter is not a judgment of Heritage of Maine or its programs, but simply a clarification of Maine state law. Heritage officials said they were disappointed with the Department of Education's decision, and say their programs are needed to stem a growing epidemic of STDs among Maine youths.

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