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Rhode Island
rejects abstinence-only program

Rhode Island
rejects abstinence-only program

Education department says abstinence program fails to meet state mandates.

The Rhode Island department of education has rejected a federally funded abstinence-only sex education program offered by the conservative group Heritage of Rhode Island, saying that it falls far short of the state mandates for sex education in Rhode Island public schools, The Providence Journal reports. Peter McWalters, state education commission, wrote on the department's Web site that the HRI program was "not consistent with Rhode Island health education standards" and as such should not be offered in any public school in the state. McWalters also will write to every state public school to inform them that the abstinence-only program is unacceptable. State sex education requirements currently include instruction on condom use to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

HRI executive director Chris Plante said the abstinence-only instruction was not meant to replace current sex education programs in the state but would only augment them. He also told the Journal he was disappointed his agency's abstinence program was rejected before HRI could meet with state education officials to discuss a compromise that would add abstinence instruction to the current sex-ed curriculum. (The Advocate)

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