Retired teacher wants to tighten rules for teaching sex education
Associated Press Writer
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
DENVER (AP) ” A teacher-turned-lawmaker alarmed by rising pregnancy and dropout rates is pushing legislation that would require sex-education classes to be based on science.
Retired teacher Nancy Todd, a Democratic state representative from Aurora, said students need accurate information if they are going to make good decisions, and the best way to do that is to require that sex-education courses be based on information from doctors, health services and public health departments.
Her bill would urge educators not to promote religious values but allow them to discuss the moral, ethical and religious issues involved in sexuality. Todd said the proposal is not an attempt to bar the teaching of religious principles from the courses.
“Those discussions will come up naturally,” she said.
Todd said because “sex sells,” children are getting the wrong information about it from the media, rap music and videos.
“Rather than getting the facts, it’s getting glossed over,” she said.
Her measure (House Bill 1292) would encourage parental involvement, emphasize abstinence, warn about the danger of sexually transmitted diseases and cervical cancer and inform students on ways to avoid unwanted sexual advances.
Schools that did not want to participate would be allowed to opt out.
Todd said Colorado ranks 22nd in the nation in total teen pregnancies, with an estimated 12,130 girls becoming pregnant before their 18th birthday each year. She said Colorado ranks 29th in sexually transmitted diseases and 20 percent of teen pregnancies will result in abortions.
She said teens who get early, comprehensive, age-appropriate and medically accurate information on abstinence, family planning, and birth control are more likely to delay sex and behave more responsibly.
Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, a member of the House Education Committee, which will debate the bill next week, said the bill concerns him because he believes sex education should be the responsibility of parents.
Todd said parents would be encouraged to help develop the courses.
“This is not some deep, dark secret. We want them to buy in,” she said.
Deborah Fallin, spokeswoman for the Colorado Education Association representing about 37,000 unionized teachers in Colorado, said her organization is studying the bill to see if it puts any unnecessary mandates on teachers.
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