HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - A new sexuality curriculum may greet students in Hillsborough County schools, if the district applies for a federal grant now available to 32 school districts in the state.
"Parents don't talk to their kids about it because they're scared to," explained USF Adolescent Medicine Chief Dr. Diane Straub.
So, Dr. Straub says, her adolescent patients ask her to talk about sex instead, and she has a lot to say after testing students in Hillsborough County.
"Of the kids we tested, 11 percent were positive for chlamydia or gonnorhea," she said.
In 2012, the CDC released startling statistics about Florida teens. There were 682 reported cases of HIV, more than 27,000 STD cases in general, and almost 16,000 babies born to teenagers.
"We can think about all the random acts of violence that harm our children on a daily basis but these are things that we are confronted with everyday," Hillsborough School Board Chair April Griffin said.
Griffin is lobbying district staff to apply for the new grant. It would give teachers extensive training in comprehensive sexuality and explain how to implement it in school. Parents would have the opportunity to opt out.
Right now, Hillsborough County has a sexuality curriculum, but it's not uniform or mandatory.
"Staff is very much taking it upon themselves to imposes their own beliefs and their values," Griffin said.
According to Dr. Straub, misunderstanding about the grant caused the effort to fail earlier this year, when the district decided against applying.
"It's still promoting abstinence. Nobody argues that," Dr. Straub said.
"Hollywood is teaching our kids about sex...They're learning it from sources I would never want my kids to learn from."
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