Sex Education Bill Passes Senate Now Goes Back to the House for More WorkBy Lawayne Childrey | Published 03 Mar 2011 08:21am |
Mississippi has some of the highest teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease rates in the nation. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports how a new sex education bill making its way through the state legislature could impact the lives of thousands of teens throughout the state.
Children as young as 10 years old have tested positive in Mississippi for sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis, Chlamydia even gonorrhea. Dr. Nick Mosca Directs the Sexually Transmitted Disease and HIV Division of the State Health Department. He says those statistics could mean serious long term problems for Mississippi teens.
“We want our teenagers to grow up and have healthy families, be able to have children. And so a teenager who's exposed to a sexually transmitted disease could compromise that ability."
That’s why Dr. Mosca says it's important for parents and those who work with teenagers to know how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
"They need to talk about risk, they need to be able to guide teenagers to make health decisions."
One sex education bill approved yesterday by the Mississippi Senate would ban school officials from demonstrating how to use a condom and require parental permission before students can be in the class. Under those conditions Senator Chris McDaniel of Ellisville calls the bill palatable.
"It's just we need to be absolutely certain that what we're doing is not offending traditional beliefs nor families throughout the state that want control over those types of issues for their children."
However, Senator David Jordan of Greenwood has a slightly different view.
"Students need to be more informed because you got about so many pregnant students, children in the school system. So I think for us to set on the sideline and say that well it’s too embarrassing to be talking about this, it ought not to be that's a parental problem. But since it’s not being done it's gonna have to be done somewhere in the educational system,"
Under the bill school districts must choose to teach either abstinence or abstinence plus. It also requires that students be separated by gender. The bill now goes back to the house for more work. Lawayne Childrey MPB News.
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