Colorado: Retired Teacher Wants to Tighten Rules for Teaching Sex Education
February 22, 2007
Concern over rising pregnancy and dropout rates has prompted state Rep. Nancy Todd (D-Aurora) to push legislation requiring that sex education classes in Colorado schools be science-based. Students need accurate information if they are to make good choices, said Todd, a retired teacher, and the best way to ensure this is if the information comes from doctors, public health departments, and health services. Schools would be able to opt out of the curriculum, however.
HB 1292 would urge educators not to promote religious values but would allow them to discuss the moral, religious, and ethical issues surrounding sexuality, said Todd: "Those discussions will come up naturally."
The legislation would encourage parental involvement, emphasize abstinence, discuss the dangers of STDs and cervical cancer, and teach students ways to avoid unwanted sexual advances.
Todd said children living in a sexualized culture often receive the wrong information from media. Teens who receive early, comprehensive and age-appropriate sex education are more likely to delay sex and behave more responsibly, she said.
Colorado ranks 22nd among states in total teen pregnancies, with approximately 12,130 girls becoming pregnant before age 18 each year, said Todd. The state ranks 29th in STDs.
House Education Committee member Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) said he believes sex education should be parents' responsibility. Todd said parents would be encouraged to help develop the courses.
02.15.2007; Steven K. Paulson
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.