West Point school board looks at abstinence-only policy

By The Associated Press

WEST POINT — West Point schools superintendent Burnell McDonald says the local board is leaning toward an abstinence-only policy for sex education classes in the fall.

The Daily Times Leader reports the West Point School Board looked this week at an abstinence-only policy. It plans to adopt a policy next month.

“We think this policy best reflects what the parents want their child to be taught in the schools,” McDonald said. “The abstinence-plus policy would be a lot more controversial because it deals with giving kids options after the fact, and we think our community would want us to teach strictly abstinence.”

Mississippi schools have until June 30 to decide how to incorporate “abstinence-only” or “abstinence-plus” classes into the curriculum for the 2012-2013 school year.

State law allows abstinence-only programs to include discussion of condoms and contraceptives if they give the risks and failure rates of each. Abstinence-plus programs have more leeway to discuss condoms and contraceptives but are still required to provide the risks and failure rates.

The courses will be optional, and parents will have to opt-in or opt-out for their child. Boys and girls will be separated, and the courses will be taught at the high school level.