Youth Commission Ready to Bring Sex Ed Issue Before Board -- Again - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/14/02

Youth Commission Ready to Bring Sex Ed Issue Before Board -- Again

The Lubbock Youth Commission has been shot down once already by the LISD School Board, but the Youth Commission isn't giving up the fight just yet. In January, they'll ask the school board, for a second time, to pass a more comprehensive sex ed program. That program would replace the current one, which almost exclusively promotes abstinence.

This time around, the Youth Commission has momentum behind it. There are two contributors to that momentum. The first is an overwhelming number of supporters, and the second is cold hard facts. Two years after the Lubbock Youth Commission originally pushed the LISD to change its sex ed policy, the commission is gearing up for another big push.

"The last presentation in 2000, it didn't work. We hope this time we have a lot more momentum and it will work," says Lubbock Youth Commission Mayor Corey Nichols.

About 30 to 40 students and adults gathered in city council chambers for one last public forum before the students go back to the school board on this issue. It's an issue that has gained national media attention because of Lubbock's extraordinarily high teen pregnancy and STD rates, some of the highest in the country.

"We've been on-air as much as we can. MTV and everything. And if there's not a change, I'm sorry for the public," says Youth Commission PR Director Maranda Buchanan.

This second appearance before the school board looks much more promising. The Youth Commission now has widespread public support behind them. They've made huge strides with the public. In addition, STD rates among teens in Lubbock have steadily been on the decline for the past two years.

The City of Lubbock Health Department and Director Tommy Camden fully credit the Youth Commission and its public awareness campaign for those dropping statistics.

"So, we've made steps in bringing the rates down just talking about them. So, that gives us great hope for if it were actually implemented," says Nichols.

The Youth Commission gets its second chance to change the school district's mind in January. If they can't get the district to budge, they plan to keep fighting. In addition, the commission has so much momentum behind it, it will soon branch out and begin to tackle other youth issues. Up next, youth substance abuse.

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