Children First: Alternatives to abstinence education - KOTA Territory News

Children First: Alternatives to abstinence education

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It can be hard for parents to talk to their kids about sex, and it can be even harder for kids to listen.

Schools often take over the nitty-gritty parts of sexual education, but not everyone agrees on how teachers should tackle the issue.

"It's kind of awkward," Miles Novak, a sophomore at Big Horn High School in Sheridan County, said of talking to adults about sex.
 
But it's generally accepted as necessary. What people don't agree on is what to teach.
 
"We're trying to get kids to be knowledgeable and be safe," said health teacher Michael Daley.
 
For him, that means telling kids not to have sex.
 
"Until you've entered into adulthood and are capable of making those challenging decisions," he said, "I certainly do believe it is the right choice."
 
But school nurse Tammy Aksamit said that doesn't mean teachers should neglect the alternatives.
 
"I think they also should be informed of what needs to be done to prevent disease or an unwanted pregnancy," she said.
 
"I think that we should learn more about protection," added Novak, "just because students ... don't follow the rules."
 
Researchers in 2008 found kids who received comprehensive sex ed were 60 percent less likely to get pregnant or get someone pregnant.

That's why some students want more options to be taught.
 
"When you choose to have sex, then you can still have it and still be protected," said Kris Johnson, also a sophomore at Big Horn High School.

Daley doesn't teach abstinence-only education, but he could if he wanted to: Wyoming leaves curriculum decisions up to individual districts.

Because of that inconsistency, students and teachers agree the education should come from one source.
 
"The parents are the ones raising you," said sophomore Michael Lamb.
 
"Parents know what they want their children to know," added Aksamit

South Dakota is the same as Wyoming in what schools teach.

The state draws up broad guidelines, but it's up to the districts to decide specifics and how to teach them.

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