You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

4 of 5 Texas school districts teach abstinence or no sex ed at all


Highlights

Texas has the fifth-highest teenage birth rate in the country.

The state has left decisions on how to teach sex education to local school boards.

Students in more than 80 percent of public school districts in the state are being taught only about abstinence in sex education programs, or aren’t being taught sex education at all, according to a study released Tuesday by the left-leaning Texas Freedom Network.

The numbers represent a small improvement over results seen eight years ago, when 96 percent of districts taught abstinence as the preferred form of sex education, if anything was taught.

“When it comes to sex education, Texas is failing our students and their families,” Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said at a Capitol news conference. “We have to trust young people with the information they need to make wise decisions about their reproductive health and their future.”

Nearly 1 in every 20 girls in Texas between the ages of 15 and 19 gave birth in 2014, the most recent federal data available — the fifth-highest teenage birth rate in the country.

TEXAS POLITICS DELIVERED EVERY DAY: Sign up for our Texas Politics email

At the news conference, state Rep. Mary González, D-Clint, announced the filing of House Bill 1547 that would ensure students are being taught “medically accurate, age-appropriate” curricula in sex education classes.

“We say we don’t want abortion, but we’re also not providing sex education that’s actually limiting teen pregnancy,” González said. “Parents don’t have all of the information. Schools can really supplement that.”

Since 1995, the state has left decisions on how to teach sex education to local school boards, although any material or curricula must focus on abstinence.

About 6 out of 10 high school seniors have had sex at least once, despite many not receiving education about condoms and other forms of contraceptives, according to David Wiley, a Texas State University health professor who helped author the study, based on surveys of Texas’ 10 largest school districts and to a sample of 148 other districts.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK: Our Lone Star Politics page brings Capitol news to your Facebook feed

School districts across the state typically use health science courses to teach students about sex education, but that class hasn’t been a statewide requirement for graduation since 2009, although school boards can still require the class as a local graduation requirement, Texas Freedom Network members said Tuesday.

Health science is required to graduate in the Austin school district, where students are taught that abstinence is preferred over sexual activity as long as parents sign-off on the material, district spokeswoman Tiffany Young said.

In the Round Rock district, high school health students learn about abstinence as well as contraceptives, spokesman Corey Ryan said. Middle school students are also taught by teachers trained under a sexual health and wellness curriculum, although they aren’t taught about contraceptives, Ryan said.

Wiley said the focus on abstinence-only education in public schools centers around a fear educators and some in the community have with students hearing about birth control and condoms in class.

“Young people are carrying a computer in their pocket where they can easily find sexual information with two clicks of a mouse,” Miller said. “We’re not really sure why we’re all so worried about teachers giving students basic information.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

Police increased presence around Pflugerville High after stranger approached girl
Police increased presence around Pflugerville High after stranger approached girl

Pflugerville police increased the number of officers who patrol near Pflugerville High School after a stranger approached a high school girl, then screamed at her when she walked away from him, the Pflugerville school district said in a letter to parents. This incident happened at a driving school adjacent to Pflugerville High School, the letter says...
UT survey details data on campus sexual assault, harassment, stalking
UT survey details data on campus sexual assault, harassment, stalking

The University of Texas has released the results of a survey on sexual violence and misconduct in which 15 percent of undergraduate women said they had been raped since being enrolled. The “Cultivating Learning and Safe Environments” report was sent to the UT community via email. “This survey is a wake-up call to me, as it should...
Police: Georgetown bank robber caught after fingerprints found on note
Police: Georgetown bank robber caught after fingerprints found on note

Police caught a bank robber in Georgetown after he left behind a note with his fingerprints on it, according to an arrest affidavit. Calvin Patterson, 33, of Killeen, was charged with robbery, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The robbery happened at 4:25 p.m. March 3 at the BBVA Compass Bank at 10 Spring St., the affidavit...
Murder charges dropped in shooting over drugs at Austin H-E-B
Murder charges dropped in shooting over drugs at Austin H-E-B

Murder charges were dropped this week after investigators took another look at a drug deal gone bad outside of an H-E-B store last spring in Southeast Austin. John Paul Montoya, 20, is cleared in the May 20 shooting of Jeffry Rudy Sierra Lopez, pending further investigation, court records show. He was released from jail on Wednesday, but was sentenced...
8-week-old boy found strapped to car seat in parking lot; parents arrested
8-week-old boy found strapped to car seat in parking lot; parents arrested

A Texas couple was charged with child endangerment Thursday after a woman told Harris County sheriff’s deputies that she found their 8-week-old child in the middle of a parking lot, according to multiple reports. A woman called police Tuesday night after finding the baby boy strapped to a car seat in a parking space in a Katy strip mall, ...
More Stories