Senate passes to require sex ed in schools

By Yvette Yeon - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - For some parents, a frank discussion with your kids about sex or drugs is difficult, at best. That's why some state lawmakers think the schools need to do more.

The Virginia Senate just approved a bill that would "require" public schools to offer family life education programs.

Right now, Virginia law requires the State Board of Education to issue guidelines for family life education, but currently it's up to each school system as to whether they want to teach the courses.

Teen mom, Catherine Comer, thought what most teenagers would:

"I always thought this won't happen to me," she said.

She didn't candidly talk to her parents about sex nor did she feel her school gave her enough information.

"Yeah they teach abstinence but that's it and that's not reality," she said.

At 16, this former Thomas Dale High School student got pregnant - she's among many others who thought it would never happen to them.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, in 2009, Chesterfield County had 370 teen pregnancies. Henrico County had 351, Hanover County had 110, Petersburg 196, and Richmond had a staggering 823.

"Not every parent feels comfortable talking about sex with their kids - not every teen is comfortable going to their parents," said Courtney Jones of Planned Parenthood.

The goal is to teach students about reducing unintended pregnancies, STD's and drug abuse. The coursework would be the same at every school - using medically accurate, age appropriate, evidence based information.

Conservative group, The Family Foundation thinks the status quo is perfectly fine in that parents should lead in educating their kids.

"It effectively removes the parent from the decision about whether a locality is going to teach family life education," said Chris Freund of The Family Foundation.

But even if the bill becomes law - parents will still have a choice to have their kid opt out of sex education.

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