What is it like to be a teen parent? What legal issues come along with parenthood? Those are just two of the questions Lubbock independent school district students will learn to answer as part of a new sex education curriculum.
Starting this week students in Lubbock ISD High Schools will learn about the rights and responsibilities of parenting. A state mandated program will add to LISD's abstinence based curriculum. Which some parents say is needed when it comes to teaching kids about the adult consequences of sex.
Trying years are some of the most trying years for parents. Vanessa Duran is right in the middle of them.
"He's a pretty good kid. I don't have to worry about him," Duran said. Still Vanessa, like other parents, worries about her 15-year-olds' future. This for Vanessa, means talking about sex with her son Ryan.
"I don't remember. It was a long time ago," Ryan Brito said.
That's because Vanessa says she started to teach Ryan about the birds and bees as early as 8-years- old.
"Kids are having kids so early," Duran said.
Vanessa was one of those kids. She got pregnant in junior high.
"I was 14 when I became pregnant with Ryan and 15 when I had him," Duran said.
That's the same age Ryan is today.
On this, day students in a Coronado High School health class are told about some upcoming lessons. Lessons, Lubbock High freshman Ryan will soon face. They're called PAPA.
PAPA stands for parenting and paternity awareness.
"The main purpose of this to talk to teenager about how they prove paternity and once paternity is proven what those students are going to be held accountable for as far as child support," Lubbock ISD Lead Health Teacher Lynn Haley said.
The instructional tools were developed by the Texas Attorney General's Office.
Last year lawmakers passed legislation that mandates school districts teach PAPA. Something high school health classes must start this academic school year. Haley says now, any high school student who enrolls in health class will learn about PAPA.
"This is not just LISD. It's not just the schools, it's a program that the community needs to stand up and help with because we are talking about teen pregnancy and teenage STD's. We're talking about changes in our whole community," Haley said.
Lubbock County is above the state and national average for teen births and in some zip codes, the rate is nearly ten times more. Lubbock County's rate of Chlamydia per-capita is also higher than 48 other states. Only Mississippi and Alaska are higher. It's those numbers that has Lubbock ISD now talking with middle school students about sex.
"Students are sexually active at a younger age and there for we need to devote time to younger students and working on their self esteem and learning about the reproductive system." Haley said.
LISD's program is called Choosing the Best. Haley says science teachers started to implement the program in their classrooms last spring.
"I hope by implementing some of these programs with our younger students that we will see some changes in the next two or three or four years. I hope that we'll see our number go down," Haley added.
However, Vanessa is not convinced. She says while PAPA and Choosing the Best are steps in the right direction, Ryan and other teens still need more education in and out of the classroom.
"It's obliviously not enough. For some reason Lubbock won't address teenage sexual activity and I think for that why we have such a high birth rate and STD rate"
NewsChannel 11 contacted Frenship and Lubbock-Cooper School Districts. We learned Frenship will start teaching the PAPA program next month. Lubbock-Cooper has already implemented the curriculum.
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