Mississippi schools now have two options when it comes to sex-ed: abstinence education, AKA "pretending premarital sex doesn't exist," or a new program called "Abstinence Plus." Multiple choice time! "Abstinence Plus" is:
A) Part of a new threat level ratings system, like the Department of Homeland Security's advisory system for potential terrorist attacks. Code Orange is to Code Red as Abstinence is to Abstinence Plus. All students will now wear chastity belts.
B) A new line of super absorbent tampons.
C) Great news — and a potential solution to combat the state's rising teen pregnancy rates — because "Abstinence Plus" encourages abstaining from sex but teaches the dangers of having unprotected sex, instead of pretending your genitals suddenly sprout out of nowhere when you say "I Do." According to the AP:
Dr. Martha Liddell, superintendent for the Columbus Municipal School District, said the school district chose to teach Abstinence Plus after consulting with educators, parents, school nurses and a representative from the Mississippi Department of Health.
"We heard statistics that would blow your mind," Liddell said. "There are a lot of children involved in sexual relationships."
Liddell said that during that initial meeting, both she and fellow educators were "floored" to learn that girls as young as nine years old were being diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
"This is an issue for our nation and an issue for our state," Liddell said. "We chose Abstinence Plus to teach students how making the wrong decision can affect your health."
The hills are alive with the sound of rational thinking! Abstinence Plus will be taught at every age level from 6th grade to 12th grade, with classes separated by gender to encourage open dialog. "A lot of times, the boy will pressure the girl for sex," Liddell said. "By educating them on the dangers and encouraging them to say 'no,' we're teaching them to be empowered as a girl." Be still, my heart.
If birth rates go down — and we have a feeling they just might — hopefully other states will follow suit.
Image via iofoto/Shutterstock.