65 pregnant teens = one canceled abstinence-only program

School board reconsiders effectiveness of high school's sex-ed program.

Published August 17, 2006 1:00PM (EDT)

It became nearly impossible for the Canton, Ohio, school board to ignore the unintended byproducts of its abstinence-only program when 13 percent of Timken High School's female student population became pregnant last year. Thanks to Feministing for pointing us in the direction of this ridiculous-but-true story about a school board that has, to its credit, finally seen the light of sex education.

Of course it took 65 of the 490 female students becoming pregnant within a year to adequately deliver that message, but as Jessica of Feministing queried, "I guess better late than never?"

Sure, we can throw them that bone. The board decided Monday to include safe-sex education in the curriculum, while continuing to promote abstinence. It also plans to replace a few well-worn health textbooks that are "older than some students," according to WYFF 4 of South Carolina. Patty Rafailedes, a physical education teacher in the district, told the station, "If we had math books from 1988, reading books from 1988, as a parent, I would be furious."

Susan Ross, coordinator of health services for the Canton schools, admits the district was well behind the times. "Our sex education curriculum was really outdated," Ross told the Associated Press. "It was about 18 years since it was revised. With kids, having good and updated knowledge is critical." Sounds to me like the adults were the ones lacking "good and updated knowledge." Let's hope their recent enlightenment spreads to the rest of Ohio.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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