Teaching Abstinence Not Enough To Protect Teens - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/11/05

Teaching Abstinence Not Enough To Protect Teens

When it comes to sex education, the state mandates schools only teach abstinence. The state school board recently adopted its new health book, which teachers use for sex education. The book refers often to abstinence, but NewsChannel 11 spoke with local high school students who say an alarming number of students are having sex anyway.

Sex education can be uncomfortable and awkward for both teachers and students. However, the reality is that students need to learn about sex because many teens are having sex.

"They (the teachers) try to drill it into our heads. The fact that if you do have sex, you should use protection," said a Coronado student.

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NewsChannel 11 looked through a copy of the state's new health book used to teach sex ed. We were unable to find any references to condoms, contraception, or birth control. But students said their teachers do tell them about protection.

"If kids want to have sex they're going to have sex, but I think it's good they're telling us we should do it the safe way if we're going to," said another Coronado student.

A meeting between the health department and Lubbock ISD was called after a Lubbock County student was infected with HIV.

"It's very disconcerting to me that it took an HIV positive case in the school system to get everybody stirred up," said Planned Parenthood CEO, Tony Thorton.

The textbook is only following state guidelines. Schools must teach abstinence, but Thorton says the lesson isn't realistic.

"Unfortunately, the state guidelines are not protecting children. Education goes beyond abstinence only when their childrens' lives are involved," said Thorton.

One Coronado student said the HIV case is the best lesson, better than any lesson from a textbook.

"A lot of my friends are pretty much swearing off sex completely because of it," remarked the student.

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The students who spoke with NewsChannel 11 had mixed opinions; some think abstinence is the best measure, others simply didn't care. However, students agree it's a good idea to talk about birth control and prevention in case they decide to be sexually active.

Planned Parenthood offers classes and information on prevention and birth control options. To set up an appointment, call 795-7123 .

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