Prentiss County prepares to select sex education curriculum

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

BOONEVILLE – The Prentiss County School District curriculum coordinator gave school board members information to assess which kind of sex education course they want to implement for the 2012-2013 school year.
School districts across Mississippi are required to begin using either an abstinence-only or an abstinence-plus curriculum under a state law passed in 2011.
The law is aimed at helping reduce Mississippi’s teenage pregnancy rate – the highest in the nation – and its rate of sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers – also the country’s highest in some categories, curriculum coordinator Jason McKinney told board members.
Parents have the option of keeping their children out of the classes.
To elicit their feedback, McKinney has put a brief survey form on the website for each school and sent messages to parents through the district’s all-call system to inform them.
One question on the survey, which will be available through April 26, asks at what grade level the subject should first be taught.
Although many districts throughout the state may already use a sex education curriculum, Prentiss County does not, only addressing the issue in part through middle school science classes and high school health classes.
Once implemented, the classes will be taught in single-gender classrooms with boys and girls taught separately.
School districts must incorporate a sex education policy in the curriculum by June 30. McKinney will present results of the parent survey at the May 22 school board meeting, and asked board members to be prepared to vote on a curriculum option at that time.
lena.mitchell@journalinc.com