House hearing focuses on sex education

The issue of sex education has been a contentious topic at the Capitol. Many conservative lawmakers in the Bible Belt state contend sex should be discussed at home, not in class. Others have said there’s a need for students to be informed about how to protect themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, especially since the state has the nation’s highest teen pregnancy rate.

“You can almost mathematically figure out what not talking about this subject and not having some comprehensive program is costing the citizens in quality of life, mental health, health care. You can go on and on,” said House Public Health Committee Chairman Steve Holland, D-Plantersville.

Under current law, school districts are not mandated to teach comprehensive sex education or abstinence. However, districts do have the option to teach abstinence. If districts want to teach more than abstinence, they must receive school board approval.

AP
1/12/11