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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
MISSISSIPPI: Lee County Adopts Sex Education Policy
Chris Kieffer
January 13, 2012
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupelo) (01.12.12) -

In a meeting Tuesday, the Lee County School Board voted to begin offering an abstinence-only sex education program. The district currently does not teach sex education; its action this week conforms to a law passed by the 2011 Legislature, which requires all districts to present an abstinence-only or an abstinence-plus curriculum starting with the 2012-13 academic year. Both options allow discussion of condoms and contraceptives, though risks and failure rates must be reported, and they require that boys and girls be taught separately. Districts choosing abstinence-plus will have more freedom to discuss contraception and STDs. Neither option allows teachers to say that abortion can prevent the birth of a baby. "From the information we had, there was not a lot of difference in what you could teach between the two options," said board President Sherry Mask. "We felt it would be best to start with the abstinence-only program, and we could change it if we needed to after we became familiar with the program." The courses will be taught in high school; districts will be able to choose from curricula approved by the Mississippi Department of Education.