LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Lufkin Independent School District Superintendent said there are about 50 teens pregnant for every 1,000 students in Angelina County. The school board met Thursday night to decide if a new way to teach sex education is the answer to the problem. The curriculum was approved in a 6-0 vote, with one board member absent. The new program will be implemented during the next school year.
"I'd like to tell you that what we've been doing is working terrifically. The good news is our teen pregnancy rate on our campuses hasn't gone up. The bad news is it neither has it gone down in the past 10 years," said Lufkin ISD Superintendent Roy Knight.
However, now they're trying new material.
"If you wait until kids are in high school, then you've waited too late to start with appropriate education for kids," Knight said.
So, if adopted, "Worth The Wait" will be the new 6th grade program and "Big Decisions" will be geared toward high schoolers.
"Just like with my own children being raised. I raised them to make sure that abstinence was the way," said Knight.
"I believe that abstinence is the really only program for our students. I believe that wholeheartedly," said First Assembly Student Pastor Jimmy Ramsey.
The new curriculum focuses mainly on abstinence, but it also points out the good and bad in a variety of pregnancy prevention issues. Some parents are ready for the change.
"I think the kids need information," said mom Denise Jones.
Leah Page is a mother to three. She said, "I think people are fooling themselves if they think that the kids don't already talk about it and do it, I'm afraid to say. But, I'm all for it."
"There's got to be a wait a minute. There's got to be a hold on. There's got to be a let's do something about this," said Doug Price.
As far as the students, some think teaching abstinence is the school's best bet.
"It's really nice to know that some people out there are saying don't do it instead of saying alright, if you're going to do it, do it this way. Somebody saying 'no' and that's what we really need," said student Charles Jones.
"It's just a lot of pressure for teens to have to deal with already," said Lufkin High School Sophomore Katie Philp.
They've watched their peers and they know something needs to be done.
"I see a lot of people that have had that and the pain it has caused in people's lives and the consequences of that and I think it would be really good if people were encouraged to stay away," said Lufkin High School Senior Courtney Mask.
Senior Michael Mendoza said, "I've had so many friends that have had kids or are pregnant."
Knight hopes the new curriculum will change that.
He said, "Sometimes we have children raising children."
Which is why he hopes this will be a step in the right direction.
"Knowledge is the key to success," Knight said.
The new approach could mean fewer pregnant teens walking the hallways.
Knight said the program is used in multiple school districts across the state.
What do you think about the change in curriculum? Should schools teach "abstinence only" or will students benefit from a curriculum that also explores "safe sex." Post your comments below. We may share them with other viewers online or on-the-air.