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Proposed bill opens up sex education debate
Sex ed. Who should teach it, when should kids be learning about it and how much should they be learning, as well?
Senator Ken Haar of Malcolm is proposing a bill that would require all school districts to teach sex ed.
News 5's Lauren Conley spoke with Grand Island Public Schools on the issue Friday.
The district already has a pretty comprehensive sex ed program. They don't use the term sex ed, though. They call it Wait Training. Not like muscle building weights, but holding out.
And it starts in middle school.
"At this age, this is when they're starting to form their relationships, expand their relationships," said GIPS Associate Superintendent Dr. Robin Dexter.
Grand Island Public Schools start sex ed in 4th grade with basics on the human body.
In 7th grade they're learning about STD's and STI's.
By High school they've all but completed sex ed. Except for teen parents who opt to take a parenting class.
GIPS has approximately 70 teen mothers currently enrolled in the district and 15 to 30 parents take the class each semester.
"Dad's take the class and are, we really encourage that and bring a lot to the class. It's also sending the message that it takes both parents to raise a healthy child," said Dexter.
While GIPS already has a comprehensive sex ed program, Senator Haar's bill would make one controversial change.
LB 619 would require that sexual education be age appropriate, medically accurate, and teach all forms of contraception, but here at Grand Island Public Schools, kids are only learning abstinence.
"I think it's uncomfortable and it would force some deeper conversations," Dexter said.
Dr. Dexter says if the bill passes, the district would turn to community groups and parents about what they're comfortable including.
"The bottom line is do kids have a person they can go ask questions and get accurate information," Dexter said.
The district's "Wait Training" focuses on abstinence only education.
But, what about kids who want more information?
"I try to be honest with them, but I also encourage them that you know, they can go to their health provider or you know an adult in their home and ask about those sort of things," said Barr Middle School FCS Teacher Teresa Baumert.
GIPS stresses that parents should be having these conversations with their kids.
The district is developing parent education classes with central district health department on talking to kids about sex.
One of the main concerns of this bill is, should the state be regulating such a controversial subject?
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