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Sex Ed News Round Up: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, and South Carolina

Rachel Hart,
Reproductive Freedom Project
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January 16, 2008

For 11 years, students in California’s San Ysidro School District have gone without sex education despite the county’s high teen pregnancy rate. School officials say that their students aren’t getting lessons on how to protect against unintended pregnancy and STDs “because there are so many [other] things that need to be presented.” The school board will take up the issue this month and students may start getting sex education as early as March.

Later this year, the Florida state legislature will consider the Healthy Teens Act, a measure that would require schools in the state to offer students a more comprehensive curriculum.

Georgia’s Clark County school board voted to depart from a longstanding policy of abstinence-only-until-marriage instruction in local schools. The community has a high rate of teen pregnancy, and parenting teens addressed the school board, asking for a comprehensive curriculum.

A freshman biology unit entitled “Meiosis/Reproduction” at Maine South High School has come under the scrutiny of sex ed foes because it discusses contracetpion. Located in Park Ridge, Illinois, the school has been targeted by the Illinois Family Institute of Glen Ellyn, an organization committed to “promote and defend biblical truths.”

Several high schoolers from Morris Heights in The Bronx recently testified before the New York City Council and called for sex ed to be mandatory feature of classroom education. Of the five New York City boroughs, The Bronx has the highest teen pregnancy rate. The students began agitating for comprehensive sex ed in 2006 as middle schoolers all with parenting friends.

The Union County school board in North Carolina approved two changes to its abstinence-only-until-marriage programming:

Two changes were made to the original proposal, following parental concerns that some content was too explicit. School officials revised a scripted set of answers to questions that fourth- and fifth-graders may ask about lessons on human growth and development. Instead of providing a factual answer to questions about what happens when sperm meets the egg, instructors will now tell students to ask their parents.

In addition, parents can request that their eighth-graders study an alternative curriculum that omits lessons on contraceptives. In its place, these students would receive a lesson titled “101 Ways to Say No.”

Finally, South Carolina’s Batesburg-Leesville school district is considering whether or not it should join six other state school districts in adopting the abstinence-only-until-marriage program Worth the Wait.

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