Local organization seeking to add abstinence-plus to Nacogdoches ISD curriculum

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Discussion is underway on the idea of introducing a direct form of sex education into the curriculum of an East Texas school district.

A sexually transmitted disease clinic in Nacogdoches says they want instruction on condoms and birth control to be added to the abstinence curriculum. Everyone is concerned about a growing teen pregnancy rate, but the subject of how to prevent teen pregnancy is being debated.

Health Horizons serves clients, some as young as 13, who have HIV or AIDS. Heartbeat Pregnancy Center serves pregnant teens. The two agencies shared concerns about teen pregnancies on a newly formed community coalition committee, until today.

Heartbeat is resigning as Health Horizons endorses 'abstinence plus' as a sex education curriculum option.

"I'm very familiar with abstinence-plus curriculum which states abstinence is good, but because we assume you are going to be sexually active, you need to use condoms or some kind of birth control," said Deanna Still, the executive director of the Heartbeat Pregnancy Center. We're totally against that."

"We knew that we were going to be getting some push back, and so I expect that, but the thing is if we can work together as a community, said Gary Roberts, an educator with Health Horizons. "We can do what's best for our kids."

Right now, Nacogdoches schools have no sex education program other than a reproductive talk in health class. Administrators say more is needed, but Dr. Ronny Cox, an NISD administrator said, "We're going to maintain our philosophy that abstinence is always the best policy."

"Abstinence is awesome," Roberts said. "I would love to teach abstinence, but I've been doing this a long time, and a lot of our kids are not abstaining from sex."

That fact is why more school districts, including Lufkin, are adopting curriculums with more frank discussion on condoms and birth control. NISD's superintendent says the district will take the lead of the community it serves.

"It makes us feel really good that there are other individuals out there and organizations out there who realize it's a challenge and they're not leaving it at the school's door steps and saying, 'Hey as a community, let's focus on it, and let's address it,'" said Dr. Fred Hayes, NISD's superintendent.

Discussion is underway, but Health Horizons makes it clear its objective is to get abstinence-plus or something very similar into NISD.

Before any new curriculum is adopted, parent forums will be conducted and a recommendation to the school board will be submitted by the superintendent.

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