Local News

Wake County Parents Protest School System's Expanded Sex Education Plan

Posted May 7, 2002

— Some Wake County parents are not exactly pleased that their children may get more sex education at school. They made their feelings known as the controversial topic went before the

Wake County school

board Tuesday.

The board is considering whether to go from an abstinence-based curriculum to a more comprehensive sex education program. Nearly 200 parents and others turned out to show their opposition to the proposal.

Members of Raleigh's Upper Room Church of God and Christ donned white shirts as a sign of purity, then stood in protest. They said they are against any expansion of the Wake County school system's sex education curriculum.

Should sex education be taught in schools? Yes, but teach abstinence only Yes, but teach a comprehensive plan No, not the responsibility of schools

"Sex should be taught in the home," said parent Rosa Collins. "My mother taught me. My father taught my brothers. And I think it should stay that way."

Olive Chapel Elementary School students from Apex took a school bus to the Poe Center for Health Education in Raleigh. The center's health instructors deliver a lesson called "Puzzled by Puberty" to fifth-graders as a regular part of Wake County's current abstinence-only sexual education program.

Right now, Wake County students learn what puberty means and how new life is created. The school system's health advisory committee said Wake County students should get a sex education lesson that goes beyond the basics.

The group encouraged the school board to move to a more comprehensive plan that takes students beyond issues of reproduction. The plan includes providing information about contraception and sexual orientation in age-appropriate grades.

The council stressed that abstinence until marriage would remain the the cornerstone of the program.

"Abstinence until marriage should continue also to be the recommended behavior, supported and reinforced through any and all instruction in this area," said Dr. David Moore of the Health Advisory Council.

The plan has parents on both sides of the issue talking.

"They should learn everything they need to know about sex, that's what I think," said parent Martha Smith.

"I think a lot of it should be done at home as far as instruction from the parents. I don't think it's really the school's responsibility to get into it any more than they already are," said parent Bill Bradley.

The protestors included state Rep. Russell Capps, who was instrumental in getting the state's abstinence until marriage law passed.

"The law is working well and is a waste of taxpayer money, as valuable as that money is and as much as the schools need the money now," he said. "I've expressed that to the board and I hope they'll take that into consideration. They do not need to be going into this kind of thing. They know what the public feels about it, and we need to keep the program we've got that's working well and is funded by the federal government."

The school board said it could be late fall before it makes any recommendations.

If members decide to expand the curriculum, the board must hold a public hearing to let parents voice their opinions before a final vote.

For some perspective, take a look at the number of teenage pregnancies reported in the Triangle in 2000 among girls ages 15 to 19:

  • Johnston County: 8.5 percent
  • Durham County: 8.1 percent
  • Wake County: 5 percent
  • Orange County: 2.8 percent
  • Orange County has the Triangle's lowest teen pregnancy rate.

    Chapel Hill-Carborro City Schools

    teach comprehensive sex education, although there is no solid evidence that the curriculum is responsible for the low rates.


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