Student Well-Being Letter to the Editor

Abstinence Programs Can, and Do, Work

June 05, 2012 1 min read
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To the Editor:

In the Commentary “Education and the Path to a Sexually Healthy Nation” (May 9, 2012), authors Debra Hauser, Monica Rodriguez, Elizabeth Schroeder, and Danene Sorace start off with an untrue characterization: “failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.” Terms such as “failed” belong to those with an ax to grind. The inclusion of the phrase “until marriage” does not sound like any abstinence-based program I have heard about. I should know, because in my school I have an abstinence-based program.

When I arrived in my middle school four years ago, the school had been averaging three or four 8th grade pregnancies each year. I approached the United Way, and organizers came to my school and started an abstinence-based program. One thing that was taught was a very powerful how-to-say-no series that was very convincing. The results? Zero pregnancies in my 350-strong 8th grade for the last four years. Failed programs? Says who?

John Feeney


Furman Middle School

Sumter, S.C.

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A version of this article appeared in the June 06, 2012 edition of Education Week as Abstinence Programs Can, and Do, Work


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