Mississippi’s sex ed law, known as House Bill 999, prohibits condom demonstrations in classrooms. In 201 , Sanford Johnson, Deputy Director at Mississippi First, participated in a teacher training on the abstinence-plus curriculum Draw the Line/Respect the Line through Mississippi First’s work with CHART (Creating Healthy and Responsible Teens).The CHART Initiative supports Mississippi school districts in adopting and implementing comprehensive or “abstinence-plus” sex education policies and evidence-based, medically accurate, and age-appropriate curricula. Sanford was at the training to become certified to teach teachers how to implement the Draw the Line/Respect the Line curriculum. As one of the training facilitators modeled an 8th grade lesson – one in which a condom demonstration was replaced with another activity to comply with state law – the facilitator was told that she used her hands too much in talking about the “do’s” and “don’ts” of condom use and that her hand motions could be interpreted as a “demonstration.” She decided to hold her hands behind her back while she re-taught the lesson.
In response to what he saw as the silliness of the situation, he created a tongue-in-cheek video called How to Put on a Sock using his own foot, sock, iPhone, and wry sense of humor. He posted the video to YouTube so that Mississippi First could link to it on our Facebook page.
Since its posting in July 2012, the video has been picked up by online media outlets multiple times, but last week it went viral, receiving over 1 million views. Buzzfeed, Bossip, Mother Jones, and other media outlets, including a radio morning show in Omaha, Nebraska, have linked to the video. The video’s popularity speaks to the important work that needs to be done around sex education and teen health in Mississippi. Several of these posts have a few of the facts wrong about Sanford, the video, and why it was made. This blog post intends to correct those errors.
The Quick Facts on How to Put on a Sock
- Sanford Johnson co-founded Mississippi First in 2008 with Rachel Canter. He was not a teacher when the video was created. He was, and still is, the Deputy Director.
- He did not create the video as an instructional tool for students or teachers. The purpose of the video was to highlight the difficulty for teachers in complying with the law while still providing accurate information to students about sexual health.
- The video is not a part of any curriculum or program advocated by Mississippi First or in use by any school district in Mississippi. Though it accurately reflects the steps to correctly apply a condom, it is a satirical video.
- Yes, Sanford is wearing an Auburn shirt. He is a very proud alumnus.
- Sanford does not endorse any particular brand of sock, shoe, or condom.
- Mississippi First has no interest in licensing the video for profit. We are an educational non-profit. If you like what we are doing, donate to the cause, follow us on social media, or sign up for our e-mail updates.
Staggering Statistics on Sex Education in Mississippi
- According to the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System, 54.2% of youth in Mississippi have engaged in sexual intercourse, the 2nd highest percentage in the nation; the national average is 46.8%. 19.7% of Mississippi youth also reported having four or more partners during their life, which is higher than the national average (13.8%) (CDC, YRBS, 2013).
- 91% of Mississippi teens who reported being sexually active did not use both a condom during and birth control pills; an IUD or implant; or a shot, patch, or birth control ring before their last sexual encounter (CDC, YRBS, 2013).
- 39% of Mississippi teens who reported being sexually active did not use a condom during their last sexual encounter.
- In 2011, the Center for Mississippi Health Policy completed a study that showed 92 percent of parents surveyed said that sex-related education should be taught in the Mississippi public school system at an age-appropriate grade level.
- The same study found almost 3 in 4 parents (72.2%) support students learning how to correctly use a condom through classroom demonstrations in sex‐related education classes.
- 8 in 10 parents (82%) with children in public schools in Mississippi were in favor of the teaching of “where to obtain birth control products” in sex‐education classes.
Mississippi First is a policy organization whose mission is to champion transformative policy solutions ensuring educational excellence for every Mississippi child. Mississippi First advocates for preK, charter schools, Common Core, and evidence-based sex education.