Washington: Dozens of public schools that lease church-owned buildings will have to take students off site for sex education, as a result of a longstanding agreement between church and city officials.
The policy is unpopular with parents, who argue the church oversteps its bounds by forcing tenant schools to take students off the premises for mandated lessons, reports New York Daily News.
Tayshawn Edmonds, 15, of Brooklyn, a 10th-grader at El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice in Williamsburg, calls the move "crazy". The school is housed in a church building on Hooper St. that it rents for 649,000-dollar a year. To receive annual sex ed lessons, Edmonds and his classmates must trek across the neighborhood to El Puente`s offices which would take about 15 minutes on foot.
The city has rented space for public schools from the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn since 2005. The relationship gives the city access to needed classrooms and provides revenue for the cash-strapped Catholic Church at a time when parochial school enrollment is declining. State law enacted in 1987 requires city schools to administer lessons on HIV/AIDS to every student in each grade at least once a year.
In 2011, city officials mandated sex ed lessons, as well, for all students in either sixth or seventh grade, and again in either ninth or 10th grade. Diocese of Brooklyn spokeswoman Stefanie Gutierrez said it is an arrangement that has been working well for both sides for years, and they intend to continue.