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U.S. News

Florida: As Schools Revise Sex-Ed, Some Urge Teaching More, Earlier

April 12, 2006

Of Palm Beach County middle school students surveyed in 2005, 25.4 percent reported having had sexual intercourse, according to a draft CDC report. The report also found that one in 10 students had three or more partners. In response, the school district is launching a new abstinence-based sex education curriculum for seventh-graders this spring. It provided training workshops for teachers late last month.

Health officials said students need more comprehensive sex education, citing the county's doubling of births among girls ages 12-14 in 2004.

Schools do not have time to waste before talking candidly about birth control and STDs, said Dr. Martha Fishbane, the county Health Department's school health director. "We keep wanting to hold back on this information when all the data show kids are becoming sexually active younger and younger," she said.

Of the five-day curriculum, one day is spent discussing anatomy, two days are spent studying HIV/AIDS, and two are spent learning responsible decision-making and healthy life skills. Neither the course textbook's chapter on STDs other than HIV, nor the benefits of abstinence section are included in the five-day lesson plan. But teachers are free to expand the course beyond five days.

A committee of educators and health officials is also reviewing outside speakers whose programs are approved by the district. For the 2006-07 school year, statistics used by the programs will be vetted for accuracy and whether they match CDC data, said Fred Barch, the district's science curriculum coordinator.

Back to other news for April 12, 2006

Adapted from:
Palm Beach Post
04.08.06; Rani Gupta

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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