Monroe Schools Have New Sex Education Program
The Monroe City School Board voted on Thursday to allow a one-week adolescent reproductive health pilot program in eighth grade classes.
The evidence-based curriculum was reviewed and recommended by the board’s curriculum committee, and parents nominated by board members served on a review committee.
All five lessons will be taught in one week by a registered nurse through the Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana. The program allows parents to opt out if they do not want their child to participate.
Louisiana State law defines adolescent reproductive health education as: “The dissemination of factual information related to the human reproductive system and which may include the study of sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, childbirth, puberty, menstruation, contraception as well as… parental responsibilities. “
The state authorizes the teaching of reproductive health from grades 7 to 12. While education should emphasize abstinence, it can include other harm reduction methods, such as contraception and condoms.
Ouachita Parish has some of the highest STD rates in the state, including the first for syphilis and gonorrhea diagnoses, the second for chlamydia diagnoses, and the fourth for HIV diagnoses.
Research shows that evidence-based adolescent reproductive health education can improve academic achievement by reducing risky behavior, preventing dating violence and bullying, helping young people develop healthier relationships , delaying sexual initiation and reducing unplanned pregnancies, HIV and other STIs.
The approved program is tailored for Monroe students, based on feedback from a parent survey conducted by the Louisiana Public Health Institute.
Parents in the Monroe area (region 8) were asked about adolescent reproductive health issues: who should teach it and what should be taught.
Data showed that the majority of parents in Ouachita Parish believe reproductive health is an important part of the school curriculum (67%) and should be required in schools (61%). In fact, more than half of the parents surveyed believed that their child was already learning about reproductive health in school.
“When we looked at what was already in college health textbooks, most of the information was already there, but teachers weren’t always comfortable teaching it or it was out of date,” Jan said. Daniels, director of youth development at the Children’s Coalition. . “The approved curriculum will be taught by a registered nurse during physical or health education classes and includes updated information on STDs, cybersecurity, contraception and sexual assault.”
The MCSB approved the curriculum as a pilot program this year. If they wish, the board could consider expanding classes to seventh grade students in the future.