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Book Being Thrown at Abstinence Law

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A 9th grade health book is at the heart of an abstinence controversy.
LOUISBURG — When it comes to Sex Education in our state, there's a new law that requiresschools teach abstinence until marriage. In Franklin County, the plan tocomply with the law is drawing fire. Entire chapters are being ripped outof textbooks in order to keep information about sex, contraception andsexually transmitted diseases away from students.

The matter has been debated for more than a year in Franklin County. Itdidn't reach a head until the decision was made and a volunteer school momworked to slice out offending sections from textbooks. The school systemis caught in the middle. The law says to teach abstinence, and the lawgives them no choice.

It's called "Making Life Choices," a 9th grade health textbook. But theFranklin County Schools curriculum committee and several parents didn'tconsider it healthy until a couple of chapters were cut out of the book.The uncut version shows some of the controversial passages, topics likecontraception and sexually transmitted diseases. The book repeatedlymentions abstinence, but the parts in question still got the axe.

Superintendent Gene Allen says many people didn't think the book went farenough. He says the law says abstinence until marriage, and that's thecontext the school system has to operate under.

Parents who support slicing out the chapters say the solution isn'tpretty, but it's right for the students.

"I think it's regretable to have books that we have to cut up in orderto present the right type of the material to the kids," saysparent Keith Shearon, "but I don't oppose making modifications totext and materials in order to do the right thing."

Other parents say no amount of editing can hide the facts.

Parent Al Sayles says good information is being kept away from the kids.Parents aren't keeping kids from having sex if they want to. More than75% of kids will become sexually active before leaving high school.Sayles believes kids should be protected rather than written off becausethey're sexually active.

Parents agree they want kids to abstain from sex. They just disagree onhow to get there.

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