Rhode Island education officials have banned from public schools a federally funded abstinence program that civil rights advocates said embraced sexist stereotypes and included a voluntary student health survey that violated privacy laws.
Lawyers at the Rhode Island affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union first complained last year that a now-abandoned textbook used by Heritage of Rhode Island taught students that girls should wear clothing that doesn't invite "lustful thoughts" from boys. The book described men as "strong" and "courageous" while women were called "caring."
A speaker on an accompanying videotape said abstinence helped him "honor my relationship with Jesus," although Heritage officials said the tape wasn't used in public schools.
"The curriculum had these incredible sexist viewpoints about men and women and boys and girls that seemed to come out of the nineteenth century," said Steven Brown, executive director of the state's ACLU.
Authorities at the private health education firm said they stopped using the disputed materials a year ago.