The Clarion-Ledger, 2/26/9

Some lawmakers are hoping a proposal to develop a sex education program for Mississippi’s public schools survives this session.

A bill filed by state Rep. Alyce Clarke awaits consideration in the Senate Appropriations Committee. A similar Senate measure died earlier this session.

House Bill 234 would allow the state boards of education and health to create a sex-education pilot program aimed at reducing Mississippi’s teen pregnancy rate. The bill, which must clear a Senate committee by Tuesday, authorized “age-appropriate” courses in two school districts that would be selected by the state Department of Education.

Supporters of the bill said the need for such a program is underscored by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released in January.

The CDC said Mississippi’s teen birth rate was the highest in the country, more than 60 percent higher than the national average in 2006.