Tupelo chooses abstinence-only sex education class

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Tupelo Public School District tweaked its sex-education policy on Tuesday to keep it in line with a new state law.
The law, signed by then-Gov. Haley Barbour in 2011, requires all districts in the state to teach either abstinence-only or abstinence-plus sex education courses. Districts have until June 30 to decide.
Tupelo’s School Board voted at Tuesday’s regular meeting to continue teaching abstinence-only sexual education, as it has been doing since at least 2000. The board adopted a few minor changes in the existing policy to match the language in House Bill 999.
The reason Tupelo chose the abstinence-only route is that it allows greater flexibility, Interim Superintendent David Meadows said.
The option says districts may teach several items, such as the benefits of abstaining from sexual activity, the consequences of not abstaining, the harmful consequences of bearing a child out of wedlock and the inappropriateness of unwanted sexual advances.
The abstinence-plus policy says districts must teach each of those points.
“We have experienced success with an abstinence-only policy,” Meadows said. “We believe we can do everything in the abstinence-plus policy, if we so choose. It gives us the most flexibility.”

Read more in Thursday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.