KWTX TV (Waco, Texas) (05.19.2013)
In 1995, Dr. Patricia Sulak, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Scott & White Hospital and professor at Texas A&M Medical School, was involved with Travis Middle School’s parent teacher organization in Temple, Texas, when the school superintendent asked her to find a suitable sex education curriculum. Sulak reviewed several sex education curricula and, as a parent and physician, found most were outdated, inaccurate, and unacceptable. Sulak talked to her Scott & White Hospital colleagues about collaborating to write a new curriculum.
Sulak declared, “After reviewing all the literature and problems of kids having sex, it’s obvious that they need to be waiting." The revised curriculum provides adolescents with medical facts and encourages them to delay the onset of sex. Sulak emphasized that it is best “for them to delay until they meet that one person they are going to spend the rest of their life with." However, she cautioned that if teens were going to be sexually active, they needed to see a healthcare professional to reduce their risk of getting an STD or becoming pregnant.
The Temple school board approved the Scott & White curriculum and began using it in their schools in 1996. Several other school districts have now adopted it as well. The seventh edition of Scott & White Wellness and Sexual Health was released in 2011. The program is geared toward students in grades six through 12, with a curriculum covering CDC’s six youth risk behaviors. The curriculum emphasizes the risky behaviors of sexual activity, avoiding drugs, bullying, gangs, and even suicide. The 2-week course provides valuable information, but some have questioned the lack of guidance during the remaining 50 weeks of the year. Sulak stressed that it was important for students to take their work sheets home to review with their parents what they learned in school. The teachers continually tell students that their parents are their safety net.
Sulak noted that the teen pregnancy rate has continued to decrease, both nationally and in Texas. CDC has documented that genital herpes has decreased in US teenagers. Sulak stated that they would like to think that this curriculum is a part of the solution by incorporating sex education into Bell County area schools and beyond, but also said it could be due to other things that people were doing as well. She urged the medical profession, communities, and schools to work together to promote healthy behavior.