Monday, May 11, 2009
A local State Representative is hoping cut down on teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases by preventing school districts from providing an abstinence only curriculum. The bill sponsored by Chelsa Wagner of Pittsburgh would force public school districts in the state to provide a “comprehensive sexuality education.” Wagner says the curriculum can include abstinence education but it will also need to include age appropriate education about contraception, protection from disease, and pregnancy. She says the class should also discus how drugs and alcohol can impact sex related decisions and encourage teens to talk to their parents or other trusted adults about sex. Wagner says, “This legislation is about giving young people the tools they need to protect themselves and their futures.” The Pittsburgh Public school district recently adopted a similar curriculum. Wagner says she moved this legislation after being told that a quarter of all 14 to 19 year-olds have had STD’s and that the number doubles in the African American population. A companion bill would give parents the right to pull their children from all sex ed classes. Wagner says by allowing the districts to craft the specific curriculum and providing an opt-out clause for parents the state is not trampling on local rights.