Marlboro County abstinence education project

As some of you may recall, in February of this year, SC PIE was awarded a three-year grant to conduct an abstinence education pilot project in Marlboro County. This pilot project has a unique delivery approach to abstinence-until-marriage education for South Carolina public schools, and for that matter, it is a unique approach for most public schools in America.

   Abstinence-until-marriage education for public school students is most commonly implemented by employees of nonprofit agencies. This model has been coined the “drop-in” model because outside staff provide instruction for up to two weeks and then move on to another site. While this model has some advantages, the instructor is not available to provide follow-up or support, and therefore is less  likely to be as effective in making a lasting impact on students.

   The abstinence education model introduced by SC PIE, and being piloted in Marlboro County, is what we call the “teacher-training model”. With this approach, public school teachers, who are responsible for this subject, are thoroughly trained and provided an excellent curriculum called Worth the Wait by Scott & White Hospital of Texas.  These trained teachers then implement the curriculum to grades 6, 7, 8 & 9 in every school within their district. SC PIE provides ongoing technical assistance and training to school districts throughout the year. While teachers are instructing students to abstain from sex until marriage in the classroom, SC PIE staff is working in the community training parents, clergy, lay leaders, public and private health care providers, and other community groups. The goal of the community component is to promote a consistent message from all the adults who are connected to adolescents and to encourage adults to support the student’s abstinent lifestyle.

   For several months, SC PIE, Coker College, a teacher from Marlboro County School District, and Dr. Jimmy Stands, have worked to develop the first phase of teacher training that will begin for Marlboro County school teachers in August. This training will be executed through a graduate-level college course offered by Coker College with credit through USC. Teachers will receive 42 hours of intense instruction starting with the evidence related to the fraudulent Kinsey studies that
began sexuality education in public schools and the course advances chronologically to the most recent adolescent brain research that proves the human brain does not have full cognitive ability until a person reaches about twenty-five years of age. This in-depth study is intended to create a paradigm shift in the minds of educators who have never been taught the vast array of reasons abstinence-until-marriage is the best and most ethical means for teaching adolescent sexual health.

   SC PIE and the graduate course instructors are very excited about the potential of this course and the impact it will have on the people who are shaping the minds of South Carolina’s children. We are so blessed to have two extremely capable instructors for this course, both of which also happen to be committed Christians and are certain they are called to this “mission”. 

   Another awesome blessing for this project is the cooperation of the Marlboro County School District. They have allowed 16 of their school teachers to miss classroom instruction time for eight full days to participate in training. Then, the teachers are committing two half days of their weekends to participate. This, as pointed out by the DHEC evaluator working with our project, is a paradigm shift in and of itself. This level of cooperation for an approach that was frowned upon in the recent past is truly miraculous. We are so grateful and give God the glory!

   While this project is funded through a grant from DHEC, the amount of funding the agency was able to appropriate is always short of what we need for different phases of the project. SC PIE had to cut and maneuver funds from other vital areas of the project to accommodate the need to train 16 teachers. In addition, SC PIE will attempt to independently fund another participant so that this SC PIE volunteer will be better equipped to provide train-the-trainer forums for the community component. Unforeseen costs for the project are currently unfunded. We hope that you will pray about contributing to this specific need for this important graduate course instruction. If you are willing to support this project to help us train more teachers, please send your tax deductible contribution to:  SC PIE, PO Box 819, Lugoff, SC  29078. Note in the memo section of your check: “graduate course costs”, and we will be sure it is appropriated for this need.

   SC PIE has met with several other school districts around the state who are interested in implementing the teacher-training model for abstinence education. In fact, there are seven school districts currently waiting until more funding is available for us to replicate this approach in their district.

   As always, thank you for your support and prayers as we try to impact public education for Christ.

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