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Sex Education in Nevada
Sex Education in Nevada

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AIR DATE: January 28, 2011

How do we learn about sex in Nevada's schools? The school district has a set curriculum it gives to teachers and nurses. But some groups say that isn't enough - Planned Parenthood isn't allowed to go into classrooms and teach teens. Another group is turning to local pastors to educate young people in church. How do we teach our kids about sex? How much should they know? Does education increase or decrease the risks of pregnancy and STDs? Do our kids not know enough... or more than we think? And how much of that is correct? Are you a teen or parent - what do you think about sex ed? We want to hear from you.

GUESTS
Laura Deitsch, Education Program Mgr, Planned Parenthood of Southern Nevada Michael Flores, youth-led nonprofit TRENDZ (Taking Responsibility and Education into New Directions)
Pam Caylor, Dir, First Choice Pregnancy Services
Jordan, high school student & Planned Parenthood youth group member
Kathi Thomas-Gibson, Outreach Coordinator, Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services for the City of the North Las Vegas
Andrea Sundberg, Exec Dir, Nevada Coalition Against Sexual Violence
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    COMMENTS:
    Telling teenagers to refrain from sex is like telling a gambler to say out of the casinos. Teens are going to have sex whether or not you tell them to. It's human nature. Give them a condom and tell them if they get someone pregnant....they are out of your house and on their own. That's what my parents would have done. Preaching abstinence is futile and an it's an easy way to escape from the reality of the situation. If they're mature enough for sex, then they're mature enough for parenthood!
    Ryan Jan 31, 2011 12:10:18 PM
    Children should be growing, playing, studying and learning how to be good citizens. When they get entangled in sex, they become consumed with relationships and lose out on other aspects of life. I never met anyone who regretted waiting for marriage, but I have met many who regret having sex before getting married.
    KarenJan 26, 2011 11:48:09 AM
    Children grow to sexually capable beings fairly early. I have never known any idealistic notion of trying to stop millions of years of evolutionary biological urge to breed. It is much better to arm them with ALL options for their health and welfare along with it being the best option financially.
    Heleva PryceJan 27, 2011 14:23:09 PM
    I graduated from the Clark County School system in 2006, and in 2008 I wrote a paper on the Las Vegas Academy's sex education curriculum as an example of failing abstinence-only education in America. I was able to obtain classroom materials from my former health teacher. Looking back, I was appalled at the paucity of information. Sex education lasts for only one week, and fails to cover external female anatomy, female reproductive healthcare (including such things as yeast infections), contraceptives, or partner communication. Most distressing was the blatantly negative tone. Human sexuality is a broad and complex topic which demands frank, open, and ongoing discussion. It is also a wonderful, natural, and healthy part of the human experience, and should be treated as such.
    GabrielleJan 26, 2011 10:15:04 AM
    I agree with the notion of sex education as health education. Since the beginning of the public school system in our country, the mission of public schools has been to educate children with the goal of becoming productive members of society and health education is a critical part of that. Of course parents should take responsibility for educating their children about health, but it is also the responsibility of the public school system to fill in the gaps that parents have left behind. Expecting that all parents "should" and will teach their kids adequately is unrealistic and potentially harmful to society as a whole.
    Rhiannon Jan 26, 2011 10:01:05 AM
    I too am a CCSD teacher, and I see abstinence only education an accident ready to happen. Statistics show that districts that teach a well rounded truthful sex ed program have much lower teen pregnancy and STI rates than abstinence only districts such as ours.
    DavidJan 26, 2011 09:59:34 AM
    David, Where do you get your data?
    KarenJan 26, 2011 10:11:25 AM
    I suggest you start with the CDC and WHO sites for current medical statistics. The NEA has links to studies show the effect on overall education, Oxford University has article links to peer reviewed studies on the effects. While I agree that David should support his argument with sources,valid information is available to support his premises.
    Heleva PryceJan 26, 2011 11:12:10 AM
    Abstinence until marriage is not realistic. Especially since people are going to college and working towards their career before getting married. So one should fight their innate biological drive until they are 30? because that ring on your finger will protect you from HIV/AIDS?
    AngieJan 26, 2011 09:57:40 AM
    Abstinence until marriage IS realistic, but I don't feel that this is the issue. The issue is, what is being taught? How? How is it being received, interpreted, and applied? (Is it helping or hurting the youth in our schools?)

    I know a hand-full of Health and Child Development educators in Clark County. Just because the kids aren't paying attention doesn't put the teachers at fault. I've sat in some of those classes of some GREAT teachers. If the students take the lessons seriously or not, they will see the consequence, good or bad, for these decisions. (My personal opinion is that it should be taught in the home first).

    AnneJan 26, 2011 22:25:14 PM
    Pam suggests that kids should be chaste until their wedding night. What about the large number of teens who are gay or lesbian and are not legally allowed to marry? Will they have to remain chaste for life or until same-sex marriage is legal in their state?
    Susan ErtelJan 26, 2011 09:51:06 AM
    Bottom line on the issue - as a land owner and TAXPAYER I am forcibly obligated to pay taxes funding public education. Regardless of the argument for self respect and prospective abstinence for a "wedding days" Statistics do not support that unrealistic ideal. Parents do not parent and it has been deemed by default of societal majority that the schools have taken over the responsibility of parenting including sexual responsibility and education. Biology happens and prevents the best use of MY tax dollars. I would rather invest in a bulk condom and preventative measures even sterilisation than LOSE money in a student not meeting his/her educational obligation to graduate which is the BEST use of my tax dollars.
    Heleva PryceJan 26, 2011 09:46:41 AM
    The conversation seems to be centered only on one premise. That is everyone expects to grow into adulthood and become married. There are many who choose not to be married, so focus the issue in those terms, as well.
    Bob PiperJan 26, 2011 09:45:21 AM
    As a current UNLV student, and a former student of a Henderson high school, I can tell you that abstinence is idealistic illusion in the face of maturing, hormonal teens. My mother told me to stay abstinent, but did I? Of course not. But when I had questions I didn't know who to go to or who to ask because I was told not to in the first place. We need more open, proper sexual education in public schools.
    SkyJan 26, 2011 09:40:06 AM
    I am a former CCSD teacher currently on medical leave. The reason why CCSD would not return your calls reference this issue is that they hide their curriculum from the public. They violate open meeting laws regarding sex education curriculum meetings, as they are afraid of upsetting the conservative base in Clark County. Students treat sex ed as a joke in schools. It offers no information to help these kids be safe and make safe decisions.
    StevenJan 26, 2011 09:36:57 AM
    Abstinence is the only thing that the schools should be responsible for teaching our children. Having no sex is the only safe way to prevent unwanted pregnancies or stds. It is the only safe way. For example: Why dont we teach our children how to properly smoke medical marijuana, since it is many of them will probably end up using it anyway? Until the parents (who were probably also sexually active in their teen years) begin to take more intrest in their children's future we will continue to see unwanted preagnencies, std's etc.
    Thomas BrownJan 26, 2011 09:35:38 AM
    So how does one plan to force breeders to be parents? Sorry but that sort of Nanny Government thinking has already eroded many of constitutional rights. If you wish to parent your children in a particular way, that is your choice but since it is the whole of the taxpayers who fund education and lose out for every failure due to whatever reason including pregnancy and STDS,it is MUCH more affordable to incorporate in the education curriculum inclusive sexual responsibility and methods for preventing pregnancy and STDs including use of condoms, pills, sterilization and abstinence.
    Heleva PryceJan 26, 2011 09:53:51 AM
    Pam,I hear you discuss the success/failure rate of condoms. I think a better conversation would be the success/failure rate of "abstinence only" education.
    DonnaJan 26, 2011 09:28:46 AM
    There is more truth to the joke: Do you know what you call people who practice abstinence? PARENTS
    Heleva PryceJan 26, 2011 09:56:12 AM
    Helva; you blew that joke. It should be: What do you call people who practice rhythm birth control?
    TomJan 26, 2011 13:33:52 PM
    I appreciate everyone who is there today to discuss this important topic. I would like to see LGBT relationships added to the conversation. We have many young people who are LGBT and are not getting any information. We have to remember that not all of our young people are heterosexual.
    christinaJan 26, 2011 09:20:57 AM
    I have to agree. Pregnancy is NOT the only issue with sexuality. Any student in public schools who contracts an STD and drops out is wasting tax funding for their education. If they had been TAUGHT sexual responsibility and the use of preventative methods for STDS it is cost beneficial.
    Heleva PryceJan 26, 2011 09:59:05 AM
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