Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 22, 2012

SP will include ‘Abstinence-plus’

By Rupert Howell

Sex education in South Panola Schools will include both “Abstinence-Only” and “Abstinence-Plus” curriculums following recommendations from Superintendent Keith Shaffer at the May 15 meeting of school trustees.

Sex education in public schools was mandated in the 2011 session of the Mississippi Legislature.
Shaffer told trustees that his moral convictions favored “Abstinence Only” curriculum but said, “I’m a realist and think we would be naive not to be looking down the road.”

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Shaffer also said, “I can’t assume everybody’s going to get what (sex education)they need at home.”

The superintendent made it clear that programs are “opt-in” to assure that parents would make the decision whether or not to have their children participate. He also emphasized that the “Abstinence-Only” curriculum would be used in Middle School that includes grades four, five and six.
Abstinence-Plus would be for high school students and both programs will become effective in the 2012-13 school year.

Both sex education programs prohibit any teaching that abortion can be used to prevent the birth of a baby; requires boys and girls to be separated into different classes when discussed or taught and prohibits instruction and demonstration on the application and use of condoms.

The Abstinence-Plus program requires a school nurse “ . . . to carry out functions of those strategies to promote consistency in the administration of the program if the district adopts the program developed by the Mississippi Department of Health.”

Shaffer told trustees to consider the informations as the “first reading” of the proposed new policy and that he would appoint a steering committee including, educators, clergy and health officials before the program was finalized.

“We’re looking for a lots of input and expect a ton of feedback,” before the program is finalized, Shaffer said.