We may never crack this case: a small school district in West Texas that offers no sex education whatsoever is experiencing a large outbreak of chlamydia. How could this possibly have happened?
According to KWES, the Crane Independent School District sent letters to parents confirming a chlamydia outbreak in the district. (Chlamydia has few to no symptoms, but can cause infertility in women if left untreated.) NBC DFW says the letter was sent only to to the high school, which has an enrollment of about 300 students. One man told KWES, “I mean I have a kid, honestly I don’t want my kid growing up in an area where nasty stuff like that happens.”
That is... perhaps not only the only lesson we can draw take from this. Raw Story points out that Crane ISD offers no sex education. The 2014-2015 student handbook says that Crane “does not offer a curriculum in human sexuality,” but if one is adopted, it would be an abstinence-based curriculum. (In a slightly conflicting statement, the local CBS affiliate says that Crane does currently offer three days of sex ed for high school students, which definitely seems to be working.)
Every school district in Texas has a Student Health Advisory Committee that meets to make decisions about health curriculum (in reality, virtually all they discuss is sex ed and occasionally nutrition). According to CBS, Crane ISD’s SHAC is planning to meet to talk about whether they need more than ten minutes of sex ed.
Even if they do adopt a sex ed program, Texas’ abstinence-based sex ed programs can be almost bizarrely unhelpful, relying heavily on reminders that condoms aren’t always 100 percent effective and weird metaphors about how having sex is like unwrapping a beautiful present to leave only torn paper behind. Raw Story also points out that in 2012, Crane’s SHAC recommended a sex ed program called “Worth the Wait” for its students. As recently as 2010, according to a Dallas Observer article I wrote, Worth the Wait used to be a strictly abstinence-only program, using the following metaphor for how dangerous and wrong sex is:
“Getting involved in a physical relationship with someone can be like the pot of boiling water. First, you start kissing and then hands start roaming and then, oops! Sex just kind of happens!”
More recently, Worth the Wait claimed it was shifting away from abstinence and towards a “risk-factor avoidance” model. According to its publisher, Scott and White, discussing contraception under the new system is still optional for middle school students; the high school and middle school curricula, as is required by Texas state law, both focus primarily on abstinence.
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