NYC Schools Can't Teach Sex Ed On Property Rented From Catholic Church

The Catholic Church defines "religious freedom" as the ability to impose <em>their</em> religion on everyone else.

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Personally, I think this would be an excellent time to reconsider the tax-exempt status of those schools, but that's just me. There's just something about a landlord forbidding the teaching of a subject on religious grounds that doesn't sit well with me:

In New York City, the public school students who attend classes in a building owned by the Catholic Church can’t actually attend allof their classes there. As the New York Daily News reports, students need to leave campus in order to receive state-mandated instruction on sexual health, as part of a long-standing agreement between Church officials and the city’s public school district that has recently come to light.

New York state law requires sex ed classes to include information about condoms, birth control, and HIV and STD transmission, and those standards were strengthened specifically for New York City’s public school district under a new citywide standard enacted in 2011. So far, that initiative has been wildly successful, and New York City’s teen pregnancy rate hasplummeted by more than 25 percent over the past decade.

But Church officials say that type of comprehensive sex ed instruction violates Catholic doctrine. In Catholic-affiliated schools, students are taught abstinence-only education with no mention of contraceptive methods — and at least in New York City, the Church’s influence can even impact public schools’ ability to teach sex ed.The Catholic Church is the biggest landowner in New York City, and leases about 40 buildings to the city’s Department of Education. That financial arrangement is attractive to the Church at a time when enrollment in private Catholic schools is declining, and Church officials see no reason to change their sex ed policy. “It is an arrangement that has been working well for both sides for years, and one we intend to continue,” Diocese of Brooklyn spokeswoman Stefanie Gutierrez told the New York Daily News.

Some public school students disagree. Tayshawn Edmonds, a 15-year-old who attends El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice in Williamsburg, has to walk 15 minutes off campus to attend his sex ed classes. “The church owns the building, so they call the shots,” he explained. “But I don’t see why they get to control what we’re doing at our school.”

I'm glad you asked that question, Tayshawn. Because RELIGIOUS FREEDOM! You see, the Catholic Church defines "religious freedom" as the ability to impose their religion on everyone else.

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