By Leslie N. Dees
CNHI News Service
On paper, the abstinence-only sex education plan looks as though it will save Mississippi public school children from the pitfall of pre-martial sex and teenage parenthood.
But how helpful is it going to be?
The Attala County School District and other districts are in the discussion phase of adopting a plan that stems from Mississippi House Bill 999 and will be implemented in the coming school year.
There are two choices: the abstinence-only plan and abstinence-plus plan.
And, from what I’ve been hearing, most schools are opting for the abstinence-only plan.
Yes, abstinence is the only sure-fire way to prevent sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy. It is the only 100 percent effective form of birth control.
However, not teaching the entire picture – one that includes information on sexually transmitted diseases and other forms of birth control – is just wrong.
It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound. The Band-Aid isn’t going to heal it. It’s just going to hide it.
Last year, in Mississippi there were 5,462 babies born to unwed mothers, ages 15-19.
And, through the abstinence-only education, students will learn negative effects of not-abstaining and the consequences. The burden that can be placed on the student and their parents if a child is born out of wedlock.
They will be taught how to reject sexual advances and how drugs and alcohol can increase vulnerability to sexual advances.
Also, that sexual activity in the marital relationship is the only appropriate way.
The abstinence-plus plan provides the same information with this exception: teaches age-appropriate material on contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases with the factual information on risks and failure rates.
When all is said and done, these questions remain: When did it come the school system’s job to teach students morals? Isn’t that the parents’ job?
Leslie N. Dees is the managing editor of The Star-Herald. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lndees.