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North Carolina: Updating Abstinence Education

October 11, 2007

Union County has spent more than $12,000 on new abstinence education materials because the lessons now in use - copyright 1989 and 1990 - do not connect with today's students, officials said.

"One video had Kirk Cameron [from the 1980s sitcom "Growing Pains"] and the kids were like, 'Who is he?'" said Nancy Addison, secondary education director. The new curriculum's DVDs show kids surfing the Internet and listening to iPods.

The new materials cannot be used, however, until parents have the opportunity to review them and the school board endorses them. Parents can examine the materials at school libraries through the end of November.

"The public will never know how many extra hours our nurses and teaching staff put into this," said board member Richard Weiner, who served on the committee that helped select the new lessons. He hopes the updated materials prove to be "a little more relevant to the kids."

North Carolina requires teachers to stress abstinence until marriage to prevent pregnancy and avoid STDs. Parents have the freedom to opt their children out of sex education altogether. Abstinence must be taught in health lessons to girls beginning in fourth grade and to boys beginning in fifth grade, and the instruction continues through ninth grade. Districts can go beyond this minimum requirement, and Union County schools continue teaching abstinence through 12th grade.

A district may decide to move beyond abstinence and teach contraception as well, but only after a public hearing on the issue. So far, about 30 districts have done so, said Denise Pittillo, abstinence consultant for the state Department of Public Instruction.

Back to other news for October 2007

Adapted from:
Charlotte Observer
10.07.2007; Shawn Cetrone

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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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