Schools could extend controversial sex-ed program

by: Tina Terry Updated:

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IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. - Leaders at Iredell-Statesville schools could decide whether to expand a controversial sex education class to the district's entire freshman class.

In December, Eyewitness News reported that some parents feel the program is too racy for their students.

Ninth-graders at Iredell-Statesville high schools may soon have to study a sex education curriculum called "Making Proud Choices."

It's been taught in the county for about four years on a volunteer-only basis, but administrator Linda Rogers said it's information every high school student should learn.

She said the program is a proven success.

Even Iredell County's Health Department said it's one factor that has helped lower teen pregnancies.

"(There has been) a 37 percent decrease we've seen in the pregnancy rate since the start of this program," said Liz Crawford with the Iredell County Health Department.

The curriculum explains abstinence and teaches teens how to use contraceptives to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

But opponents take issue with a chapter called "How to Make Condoms Fun and Pleasurable."

An exercise in that chapter discusses foreplay and suggests teens could hide a condom on their body and ask their partner to find it.

It also talks about making up a sexual fantasy using condoms.

One parent said it's information that could help sexually active teens, but she understands why some are opposed.

"I can see where there would be some issues with using words like having sex and using condoms is fun, because it seems like it's encouraging our young people to be sexually active," said Kelly Hutchinson.

But Rogers said the chapter is all about countering negative attitudes about condoms that can make some teens choose not to use them -- putting themselves at risk.
She's hoping school board members will see the importance of the program.

Because of opposition, Rogers said the superintendent has proposed only offering the course to students whose parents opt in, and that is something that she supports.

The school board will take up the issue again on Monday.

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