Abstinence Campaign in Schools

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January 27, 2006
Teens and sex, it's a subject that some parents may prefer to avoid. Experts say talking about it is the best thing a parent can do. Columbia County schools are encouraging teens to be sexually abstinent.

National studies show a little over fifty percent of all teens have sex before their 18th birthday. In Georgia, more than twenty thousand girls become pregnant every year. The majority come from homes where both parents are married. Some experts say the problem with sex education is lack of communication.

It's not about safe sex, it's about waiting till marriage to have sex. That's what Maureen McCormack wants to teach her students.

"It gives them a perspective of how to make responsible decisions in their lives," McCormack said.

Studies show most sexual teen relationships last about six months. Juvenile court judge Douglas Flanagan says he sees several sex cases every week and the problem is getting worse. He can't give any specifics because the cases involve minors.

"There have been a lot of sexually active boys and girls doing a lot of sexual acts you're not supposed to do unless you're married," Judge Flanagan said.

Family therapist Joe Holt says that's partly because parents aren't talking about sex with their children.

"Children now are presented with a lot more opportunities and pressures than we've had in years past,” Dr. Holt said.

Columbia County will use comedy to try and make abstinence look cool.

"He tries to get the children's' attention on their level on why they should abstain, why they shouldn't give into peer pressure, why they should not be sexually active" Judge Flanagan said.

Statistics show Georgia has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country. One in five sexually active teenage girls will be pregnant before their 18th birthday.

"Many times they do things they aren't happy they did, and it's hard to take back," Judge Flanagan said.

And studies show one out of every four sexually active teens has a sexually transmitted disease right now. Educators like Maureen McCormack hope parents will talk to their children so teenagers in this area won't become part of that statistic. Parents can expect to see permission slips coming home soon.

The comedy tour will be here in the next few months. The speaker is a former military police officer. He has a background in education. His goal is to present the information in a way that relates to teenagers.