Yet again, Mississippi First was recognized for our sex education work on a national stage! On August 9, Mississippi First and Sanford Johnson, our Deputy Director of Advocacy, were featured in a segment about sex education in America on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
The segment was about what sex education looks like across the county. John Oliver covered a lot of bases in the segment, including the fact that there is no national standard for sex education, meaning that sex education looks very different depending your state of residence and, in many cases, the school district your child attends.
John Oliver highlighted the need for medically accurate sex education. He also pointed out one of the deficiencies in House Bill 999, Mississippi’s sex education law, by featuring a video made by Deputy Director Sanford Johnson called How to Put a Sock on it. In Mississippi, you cannot demonstrate in a public school how to put on a condom. In response to this section of the law, in 2012, Sanford created a tongue-in-cheek video called How to Put on a Sock using his own foot, sock, iPhone, and wry sense of humor. He posted the video to YouTube so that Mississippi First could link to it on our Facebook page. To learn more about the video’s purpose and context, click here. Over the last three years, this video has gone viral with over 1,000,000 views. Mississippi First retains the copyright for this video, and it may not be used without permission.
As exciting as it is to be featured on a national show, it is a great reminder that our work is essential in decreasing our high teen birth rates and STI rates in Mississippi. CHART (Creating Healthy and Responsible Teens) works with Mississippi school districts to increase adoption and implementation of abstinence-plus sex education policies and evidence-based, medically accurate, and age-appropriate programs. The CHART program is a partnership between Mississippi First and the Mississippi State Department of Health. We want all school districts, whether or not they ever adopt CHART, to teach only evidence-based programs. We are working with the State Department of Health and the Mississippi Department of Education to make this happen.
This upcoming year will be big because HB 999 is up for reauthorization by the Mississippi State Legislature. We hope the Legislature will make implementation of high-quality abstinence-plus programs easier for school districts. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to track the legislation.
Mississippi First is dedicated to increasing educational achievement and graduation rates, decreasing the achievement gap, and improving teen health in Mississippi. If you like what we are doing, donate to the cause and visit our sites to learn more about our educational policy work and sex education work.