Area student’s quest to reform sex education sees success, recognition

KC Miller, a 17-year-old senior at Westtown School, is one of the recent recipients of the TD Bank Young Heroes Award.
KC Miller, a 17-year-old senior at Westtown School, is one of the recent recipients of the TD Bank Young Heroes Award. Submitted photo

KC Miller, a 17-year-old senior at Westtown School, is one of the recent recipients of the TD Bank Young Heroes Award from the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia. He was recently honored at a ceremony at the museum.

Miller has been recognized for founding Keystone Coalition For Advancing Sex Education (CASE), a nonprofit whose mission is to spread awareness for comprehensive sex education, support student-led campus initiatives, and lobby for legislation in relation to sexual health and education.

“The last time Pennsylvania issued an update to their minimal requirements on sex education was 15 years ago in 2002. Since then, teen STD rates have continued on an upward curve. Pennsylvania’s outdated requirements neglect 15 years worth of research regarding adolescent sexual health and wellness,” Miller said.

Miller has written his own legislation through Keystone CASE titled the Pennsylvania Healthy Youth Act. The bill takes heavy influence from the recently successful California Healthy Youth Act, and a previous attempt to modernize sex education in the Pennsylvania Legislature.

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The bill would enact comprehensive sex education statewide and reform the abstinence-only and abstinence-based models traditionally used by Pennsylvania public schools.

“Abstinence-only and abstinence-based programs were started in good faith. Their goal is to keep kids safe,” Miller said. “However, the research shows that these programs have failed to accomplish their goals. I’m passionate about creating new approaches that keep teens safe and healthy because we desperately need a change.”

The National Liberty Museum describes the Young Hero Award as recognizing “young people who have taken action to make positive social change in their schools and communities. Each year we look for young people who have championed liberty by: engaging in civic activities; promoting respectful resolutions to conflict; advocating for diversity and inclusive environments for everyone; and taking leadership roles in their school or community.”

Keystone Coalition For Advancing Sex Education is a group of parents, activists, health professionals and educators who believe there is a need to enact comprehensive sex education.