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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Should Florida revisit sex education in public schools? Dems say it's time



With Florida leading the nation in new HIV infections, Democratic lawmakers say now more than ever the Legislature should do away with what's commonly referred to as "abstinence-only" sex education in the state's 4,300 public schools.

Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Bay, and Rep. Reggie Fullwood, D-Jacksonville, are the leading sponsors of what they've dubbed the "Florida Healthy Adolescence Act" (SB 1056/HB 859).

The bill makes comprehensive sex education an option for districts -- which "doesn't force anything on school districts, on schools, on parents," Fullwood said. Those districts that do choose to offer it would have to provide medically accurate, factual and age-appropriate information to students.

Information covered by the umbrella of "human sexuality" education would include: family planning, pregnancy and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV and AIDS.

Bullard, a teacher for the past 16 years, said "students are going to do what students do," and adults need to give them the tools to make smart decisions, rather than promoting what he described as an outdated and naive policy.

"Let's just be honest with ourselves," he said during a press conference Wednesday at the Florida Capitol. "We can no longer assume by saying the word 'abstinence' that people will automatically abstain. It doesn't happen in real life; it doesn't happen with adults. Why would we even assume it happens with teenagers?"

"A teen that understands the ramifications and the totality of what they're doing is going to be a better prepared adult," he said.

Full details here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 7:20pm]


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