Sex education has been a controversial topic for decades and something many would prefer not talking about, but one Louisiana organization says its something that’s not being talked about enough.
The Louisiana Public Health Institute launched the Geaux Talk campaign.
Kristie Bardell says, “Really empower care givers, so that they can inform legislators and advocate for mandatory comprehensive sex education in school curricula.”
According to a statewide survey conducted by LPHI, 61 percent of caregivers believe their kids will receive or have received comprehensive sex education in school.”
“We know that is simply not the fact and in some instances they may not receive any form of sex education.”
LPHI is pushing for comprehensive sex education in every classroom.
“Emphasizes that abstinence is the best way to reduce teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, but also includes risk reduction strategies such as condoms and contraception.”
The goal is to reduce Louisiana’s high rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Right now Louisiana ranks 6th in the country for teen pregnancy, 1st for syphilis rates and 2nd for gonorrhea.
Jan Daniels says, “This needs to be discussed with our children, we want to raise healthy children.”
To do that the Children’s Coalition in Ouachita Parish is starting the conversation about sex ed with community leaders, faith based organizations and community members.
“We realize people have trouble talking to their children about this subject and we wanted to figure out a way, how to have a talk and open up the conversation with children.”
The coalition is doing radio interviews and community events and incorporating medical professionals into the conversation.
“This is a subject that really needs to be talked about. We need to talk about it openly with our children. We have children learning facts on their cell phones, learning things from tvs and movies and this is not medically accurate information.”
Caddo Parish ranks in the top ten in the state for most STD’s and the teen birth rate is higher than the national average.
The Executive Director of the Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana says the Geaux Talk website provides tools for parents.
According to the LPHI’s survey, 84 percent of Louisiana caregivers believe sex education is an important part of a school’s curriculum.
Bardell says, “The current law states that sex education can be taught in 7-12th grade, but it must emphasize abstinence. In fact a lot of individuals believe abstinence is the only thing that can be taught in school… when in fact you can include medically accurate information.”
In Bossier Parish public schools sex education is taught in 7th and 8th grade health and PE classes and in 10th grade biology classes. It includes dating and peer pressure, sexually transmitted diseases and other topics.
If parents do not want their children to be taught sex education in school, state law allows them to opt out.