A West Texas high school is considering expanding its sex-education program beyond teaching abstinence after 20 cases of chlamydia were confirmed among students this week.
“We do have an abstinence curriculum, and that evidently ain’t working,” Jim Rumage, superintendent for the Crane Independent School District, told KFOR-TV about the outbreak at Crane High School.
“We need to do all we can,” he added, “although it’s the parents’ responsibility to educate their kids on sexual education.”
With a school population of about 300, roughly one in 15 students has the sexually transmitted disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called the outbreak a health issue of “epidemic proportions.”
Rumage defended the school’s sex-ed program – three days of abstinence-only advocacy each fall – in a separate interview with the San Antonio Express-News. “If kids are not having any sexual activity, they can’t get this disease … That’s not a bad program,” he said.
Some residents are already clearly unnerved by the outbreak, which was so severe that the district sent letters home to parents last week. “I have a kid. Honestly, I don’t want my kid growing up in an area where nasty stuff like that happens,” one resident told KWES-TV.
School district officials met on Monday to discuss possible changes to the sex-ed teachings. Any changes would have to be approved by the school board in a vote on May 19.