The Pasco County school system has acted in the best interest of its students by taking a strong stance on sex education.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, the Pasco school system – the only system in the area that does not teach sex ed from an abstinence-only platform – recently rejected a Christian ministry’s push for an abstinence-only platform in schools, including “abstinence-themed assemblies as well as a full curriculum.”

The Pasco educators responsible for this decision, citing the “well-roundedness” of Pasco’s current program, should be lauded for their dedication to honest pedagogy, a basic respect for science and a core understanding of students’ needs. Abstinence-only education fails to adequately protect students from the real dangers of ignorance: Students must be prepared to know about sex and birth control if they’re expected to be sexually responsible rather than just be told not to have sex until they’re married.

The very premise of abstinence-only sex education assumes several flawed premises – that the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases somehow vanish upon marriage – when in fact diseases like HIV/AIDS and syphilis do not take into account marital vows before destroying a victim’s body.

Abstinence-only sex education – which in its purest form does not teach about birth-control and argues for chastity before marriage – does not even offer valuable advice for married people who don’t want to have children either immediately after marriage or at all. Of course, this problem betrays the overtly Christian agenda – an agenda that fails to act in students’ best interests – behind abstinence-only education: The only purpose for sex is to have children.

Though there’s sure to be debate on the purpose of sex, the core problem with abstinence-only education revealed by this position is its core lack of scientific meat. This is compounded by its attempt to substitute science with preaching, causing the stance to seem a lot more religious in its educational aspect than anatomical, making consideration of implementing it unjustifiable.

A study by the Guttmacher Institute in New York released in December 2006 suggests there’s no proof of that abstinence-only programs even prevent sex, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. As detailed in the Washington Post, millions of dollars used to support “just-say-no” programs for teens goes to programs that teach flat-out lies: For example, “that abortion can lead to sterility and suicide, that half the gay male teenagers in the United States have tested positive for the AIDS virus, and that touching a person’s genitals ‘can result in pregnancy.'”

“Teaching abstinence but not birth control makes it more likely that once teenagers initiate sexual activity, they will have unsafe sex and contract sexually transmitted diseases” pediatrician Dr. S. Paige Hertweck told MSNBC.

Abstinence-only sex education doesn’t prevent sex and makes sex more dangerous for teenagers. Pasco County realized this danger and protected its students – a move that should be emulated in nearby school districts.