Arkansas is one of a few states that still has no legal mandate for sex education, even with the ever-increasing number of people with sexually transmitted diseases.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that there were
over two million cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia cases in
state ranks near the top for teen pregnancy and STDs. Since 2014,
there has been a 60 percent increase in gonorrhea cases (around
7,300). There are 17,000 cases of chlamydia (13 percent increase) and
964 cases of syphilis (an increase of 147 percent).
Council Founder and President Jerry Cox said there was no reason for
the state to get involved in how schools tackle sex education. He
said it should be up to local school districts to decide how their
program fits into their faith values.
philosophy and values Family Council, a religious advocacy group, has
isn’t something every Arkansan agrees with.
to Cox, the solution to the STD crisis comes down to risk avoidance
programs rather than abstinence.
Parenthood of the Great Plains has taken no official stance on
whether or not Arkansas should have sex education in the classroom.
Gloria Pedro, with Planned Parenthood Arkansas, said it’s not their
point to determine what should be taught in schools.
said people do have various ways in which to learn about sex,
sexually transmitted disease and STD prevention – be it at school
or somewhere else. She said Planned Parenthood always wants to
provide information to patients and advocate for what’s best for
them and their bodies.
schools that do opt-in to teach sexual health are taught to highlight
the importance of abstinence.
School District has come up with a concrete answer to teaching sex
education. According to the district, students are taught about
sexually transmitted diseases in their health class, which is a
required course for every high school student. A school spokesperson
said it follows the recommended state guidelines, as noted by the
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (formerly, the
Arkansas Department of Education).
has been legislation introduced previously to create a broad health
education course to address STDs and sex education but without
Arkansas Department of Health agrees there is a societal need to
address STDs in schools to keep the spread of these diseases from
Medical Director of Infectious Diseases Naveen Patil said parents
need to talk to their kids while doctors need to talk to their
patients and screen them for STDs. Society, as a whole, needs to be
more open to the situation.
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