Arizona: What's Taught in Schools Hinges on Districts
April 13, 2010
The Arizona Board of Education does not require school districts to offer sex education; however, those that do must stress abstinence. Beyond that foundation, particular curriculum details are left up to the local school boards to decide.
Starting next year in the Kyrene School District, students in seventh and eighth grade can participate in one of the most comprehensive sex education programs offered in Arizona public schools. Instructors will teach students that condoms can reduce the risk of STDs and unwanted pregnancies, though condoms will not be distributed or demonstrated.
The Kyrene curriculum's definition of sexual intercourse will include oral and anal sex. Some students might mistakenly believe they can avoid HIV and other STDs through oral and anal sex, said health educators. Parents must give their permission for their child to participate in the opt-in classes.
"We're probably more out-front on this than other K-8 districts," said Sue Yost, Kyrene's health curriculum coordinator.
In the Deer Valley Unified School District, schools do not offer sex education classes to students in sixth through eighth grades. "We're a very conservative district," spokesperson Sandi Hicks said.
Arizona ranked third-highest in its pregnancy rate for girls ages 15-19 in 2005, behind Nevada and New Mexico, according to a national study. In 2008, Arizona recorded 28,084 pregnancies among girls age 19 and younger, the state Department of Health Services reported.
Arizona Republic (Phoenix)
04.11.2010; Kerry Fehr-Snyder
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.