Local and Community News
Louisiana: Board Considers Abstinence Health Program
April 11, 2003
Dan Richey, state coordinator of the Louisiana Governor's Program on Abstinence, recently asked the Lafayette Parish School Board to institute an abstinence-only program for seventh-grade public school students. "Our goal would be ... to be in the classroom next fall in a pilot program," Richey said.Adapted from:
The 12-week course provides one hour of instruction per week. According to program literature, the course does not include any discussion of condoms or contraception but talks extensively about STDs, peer pressure and self-respect. Richey said the program provides information on how condoms and other birth control methods do not prevent the spread of STDs. "We want the students to understand there is a myth out there about condoms preventing disease," Richey said.
CDC reports the surest way to avoid STD transmission is to abstain from sexual intercourse, but the correct and consistent use of male latex condoms can reduce the chances.
Superintendent James Easton said no decision has been made, and the matter would be recommended for board approval. "We do have a program presently in place. It does not hurt to have more training in this regard," he said.
At present, 36 Louisiana school districts use the governor's abstinence-only program. All program materials are provided by the state, which receives $1.6 million from the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 to administer it, Richey said. Volunteers from Lafayette Parish would be trained to teach the classes, which are often taught by Protestant or Catholic catechism teachers, Richey said. "We look for people who have a passion for the issue and have time to prepare and go into the classroom," Richey said. "We have 500 volunteer teachers who have taught 20,000 students statewide."
Daily Advertiser (Lafayette, La.)
04.08.03; Sebreana Domingue