TPP was founded on the premise that adolescents are able to make healthy decisions regarding their sexuality. TPP emphasizes abstinence as the healthiest and safest choice, and as the only 100% effective method of preventing STD transmission and unwanted pregnancy.
However, we know historically that many youth do not always choose the safest and best road in various situations. These youth do not deserve a death sentence through HIV infection, a sexually transmitted disease, or the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy.
As such, TPP’s primary voice is that of promoting abstinence, though contraception is not treated as taboo. Contraceptive units are available to schools or organizations that choose to add them to their program, and STD’s are a standard portion of the full TPP program.
School district personnel, classroom teachers, parents, youth and community leaders take a lead role in determining student needs and program content in many areas. Questions from teachers, parents and students are always answered in an honest and open manner.
TPP teaches sexuality education using 4 guiding principals:
1. Ages and Stages: Youth of all ages benefit from direct and honest information about sexuality. This information should be age appropriate, as well as school and community targeted. TPP feels elementary and middle school age youth do not have the cognitive and emotional maturity to “choose” sexual activity, thus in grades 5-8 only abstinence education is provided.
2. Parents are Primary. Parents are the primary educators of youth on the topic of sexuality. All efforts are made to include parents in TPP programming through homework assignments, parent orientation sessions, community presentations and parent newsletter. The concept that parents are the most important source of information is reinforced throughout TPP classroom curriculum.
3. Holistic Education: Quality sexuality education should be based on the holistic view of self, specifically, that all humans have emotional, physical, intellectual, social and ethical “components”. Each of these areas can be affected by sexual decisions, and each should be considered in the decision-making process. All youth can benefit from the ability to identify the risks of early sexual involvement as well as the long-term holistic benefits of abstinence and healthy sexual choices.
4. Skills for Life: TPP believes that positive social skills are the basis for dealing with a wide range of influences such as negative peer influence, sexual pressures, relationship issues and personal stress. Skills taught and practiced through TPP include assertive communication, decision-making skills, critical-thinking skills and risk assessment. These skills if learned well can be applied to any type of relationship or peer pressure situation. “Just say no” is an ineffective strategy to teach young people how to cope with difficult decisions.