Grassroots group wants to change SC sex ed - FOX Carolina 21

Grassroots group wants to change SC sex ed

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Students in an Upstate high school at their lockers. (File/FOX Carolina) Students in an Upstate high school at their lockers. (File/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Sex education in South Carolina is on the table for change, according to a grassroots group and a state representative proposing an addendum to the 1988 Comprehensive Heath Education Act.

The Heath Education Act was put into place 25 years ago. It laid out the requirements for school districts to create their own sex education programs, but there are not any requirements for schools to report back with the lessons taught.

Since the 1980s, some districts have updated their lesson plans, but none of the state mandated requirements have changed.

New Morning Foundation released results of a study about the last 25 years of sex education in South Carolina. It found that 75 percent of schools are not teaching sex education according to state guidelines.

The study found that in the places that do have proper teaching training [which is not required] and updated curriculum, teen pregnancy decreased. That updated curriculum teaches not only abstinence but also contraception methods.

In places that did not have updated lessons, New Morning Foundation's program TellThemSC.org  said the same problems of high teen pregnancy rates and high HIV and STD rates remain.

"South Carolina spends $197 million every year on the repercussions of teen pregnancy. That's a big number that we can change," said Emma Davidson, with TellThemSC.org.

The grassroots group is working to get South Carolina legislators on board to strengthen state sex ed policies.

Pickens County Rep. B.R. Skelton took the lead. Last week, he introduced an amendment to the current Health Education Act.

It includes requiring certification for teachers who teach health education, as well as making sure local school district curriculums are based on medical facts, they are updated every two years and that each district needs to report its compliance.

For now, each school district can set their own lesson plans as long as they follow state guidelines, but no one ever checks on it because it is not required. State Department of Education officials told FOX Carolina they would support compliance measures to keep an eye on districts across the state.

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