State News

Broader sex ed curriculum sought

Posted February 3, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— Some North Carolina lawmakers and health advocates want parents to choose what public schools teach their children about sex.

They promoted legislation Tuesday that would create a two-track system for sex education in the seventh, eighth and ninth grades.

Sex ed, abstinence-only Groups want to expand beyond abstinence-only lessons

Current law makes abstinence-until-marriage curriculum the predominant method in school districts. Districts must go through a long process before they can offer comprehensive sex education that discusses contraception.

A bill expected to be introduced next week would require both types of sex education be taught statewide. Parents would decide which type their children would receive.

"We should take a step forward and definitely be something for other states to watch and for them to model after," said Sydney Brunson, a student at Jordan High School in Durham.

Two years ago, a bill that would have expanded sex education to promote safe-sex practices in addition to encouraging abstinence failed in the General Assembly.

The latest proposal is modeled after a choice program in New Hanover County, where three out of four students opt for the comprehensive curriculum.

Wake County Human Services medical director Dr. Peter Morris said he hopes the proposal would lead to fewer unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

North Carolina has the ninth-highest teen pregnancy rate in the country, according to state statistics. Teen pregnancies cost about $312 million a year, while prevention programs get about $2.5 million in funding.

"North Carolina's youth deserve to receive life-saving information," said state Rep. Susan Fisher, D-Buncombe.

John Rustin, vice president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council, said offering an option beyond abstinence-only education would confuse teens and muddy the issue.

"We think that the message ought to be consistent that these are very risky sexual behaviors, that they are going to put you at harm and that they are behaviors you ought not to engage in," Rustin said.

Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said such a message can be delivered in more than one format.

"It is important to have information," Atkinson said. "Just because you teach children (about) communism does not mean children will become communists."


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  • james27613 Feb 4, 2009

    My wife gave our daughters this nice cartoon book, I can't recall the title of it, it gives the young lady the basics and she can talk with mom to learn more about the changes she will
    be experiencing during puberty.

    Grandpa, a mechanical engineer just told me one day,
    'Son, just remember, Tab A, Slot B'

    Joking aside, I remember a program on PBS,
    a documentary about sex education back in the 1980's,
    the point the commentator wanted to make was that
    woman are not sperm receptacles and men should always
    take responsibility for birth control.

  • james27613 Feb 4, 2009

    USA is behind the times on sex education.

    Remember when you could not show a pregnant woman on
    network tv? Remember Romper Room, the woman was pregnant,
    she had to carry a large pillow to hide her body from the
    camera, also no women in lingerie ads on tv back then!

  • james27613 Feb 4, 2009

    "we're not rabbits" H. Ross Perot

  • james27613 Feb 4, 2009

    I remember back in 1978 at college, this guy
    was wearing a baseball cap with the following imprinted

    "Sex Education, First lesson free"

  • foetine Feb 4, 2009

    Kids ought to be able to get enough examples of what to do from the internet

    Sarah Palin couldn't educate her daughter and she was the greatest person ever to run for Vice President. What chance do we have?

  • Caveman93 Feb 4, 2009

    All I know I learned from my parents back when parents used to raise their children. Nanny State.

  • Shadow213 Feb 4, 2009

    personally, i think that public schools should have a comprehensive sex ed curriculum that is mandatory (not a choice for parents). if abstinence-only parents don't like it, they can just send their kid to a private school. it's quite obvious that those who are abstinence only are that way primarily due to religious beliefs. so therefore, the current curriculum (which is abstinence only) could be considered an imposition of religious beliefs in a government-run system.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 4, 2009

    The schools (aka the government) wants to teach children BECAUSE of the failure of the home...too many wivestales, too much religious mythinformation, too many apathetic parents...which all adds up to unplanned and unwanted teen pregnancies. THAT is why public schools need to teach kids human biology.

    Teaching abstinence-only has us ranked 9th in teen pregnancies. No surprise.

  • cartman Feb 4, 2009

    "Yet if the friends are taught properly at home as well as the "kids" who seek their advice problem resolved."

    There is the problem, most parents don't teach their kids properly. Many tell their kids abstinence is the only way. That doesn't help. Kids need to be informed, and since parents aren't doing a decent job the school system is stepping in. The teen pregnancy rate is an example of how parents are not doing a good job.

  • Thinkb4uspeak Feb 4, 2009

    My parents enrolled me in an alternative learning summer camp program where the teachers (exceptional educators recruited from around the state) took innovative and honest approaches to sex education. I wasn't a troubled kid-this was a college prep camp. But since this program was not associated with public schools their hands weren't not bound by all of the rules. I was so much more fortunate than my counter parts who learned sex-ed from late night cinemax, their other peers or by disasterous experimentation. They didn't attempt to teach morality. Instead they stated the risks bluntly, encourage questions with a confidential question box, advocated abstinence but emphasized personal responsibility. It was the best education I ever had. And although some of use were middle schoolers we approached the lessons with maturity as required by the teachers and the curriculum. It was the best education I ever had.