Sex ed program in TN schools teaches abstinence - WSMV Channel 4

Sex ed program in TN schools teaches abstinence

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Some say a form of sex education taught in schools across Tennessee, including in Metro Nashville Public Schools, may not have the intended effect.

The course is called "Decisions, Choices and Options: The Facts About Teen Pregnancy," and focuses on adoption, parenting and abstinence education.

According to new legislation, all sex education in public classrooms must be abstinence-based, and one of the groups approved to teach the curriculum has posted a video of its instructor telling a group of students that life begins "at conception."

The group says it provides information about parenting, adoption and the dangers of abortion and sexually transmitted diseases. It also tells options young women face when dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.

Their goal, they say, is to provide current factual information.

"If you have a friend with five children, three of those children were conceived while she was taking birth control," a group instructor says in one video.

"Those claims are not necessarily untrue, but they were taken out of context," said Dr. Mary Romano, a Vanderbilt doctor who specializes in adolescent medicine.

The group recently gave a presentation during class time at Hillsboro High School. While Metro Schools officials said they have not received any complaints about that presentation, Romano said this type of sex education isn't always the best for teens.

"Obviously, a curriculum like this employs scare tactics," Romano said. "There are things where we'd like to think we can scare them out of doing: drinking and driving, substance use, texting and driving. I think what we've shown is telling teens, 'Here are all the awful things that can happen to you,' doesn't seem to change their behaviors."

According to Decisions, Choices and Options, the group teaches in more than 50 high schools across Middle Tennessee, both public and private.

They are just one of many approved sex education groups for Metro Schools. Others include Planned Parenthood and the Metro Health Department.

Channel 4 News called the head of Decisions, Choices and Options about her curriculum, but she has not returned our call.

A Metro Schools representative also said parents were given a chance to review the state's standards when it comes to sex education at a public meeting during the past school year, and parental permission slips were also distributed.

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