Chlamydia outbreak at Texas high school with no sex ed policy

If you’re in charge of the high school curriculum in Texas, you know a few things. You know that evolution is bad. You know that Newt Gingrich is good. And you know that sex is gross.

That’s why high schools in Texas aren’t required to include sexual education in their curriculum. And if they do choose to talk about students getting it on with each other, they have to emphasize how dangerous and awful and icky and unholy it is. So what little sex ed Texas students get in class sounds a lot like this:

Why didn’t they listen???

God doesn’t want you to do the deed before you get married, but high schoolers have been ignoring the Good Word for as long as there have been high schoolers. To the surprise of no one outside of Jesus Camp, throwing the Bible at teenagers’ junk doesn’t make them any less horny. It just makes them less safe. Late last week, it was reported that the Crane Independent School District in western Texas is going through a chlamydia outbreak. At least 20 of the district’s 300 high schoolers have been infected.

The Crane Independent School District does not include sex ed as part of its curriculum, although one district administrator had recommended that the school adopt the “Worth the Wait” abstinence-plus program back in 2012.

If the school had taught an abstinence-focused program like Worth the Wait, it would have been “better than nothing” in the same way that lining Rick Perry up as a cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys would be “better than nothing.” When bioethicist Alice Dreger sat in on her son’s abstinence-focused sex ed class last month, she found that the material ranged from misleading to wrong to borderline encouraging unprotected sex.

So of course, she live-tweeted the whole thing. Some highlights here (check out the whole live-tweet at Mashable):

In what also comes as no surprise to anyone who doesn’t think that lying to kids about condom failure rates is a moral or generally good idea, states where the sex ed curriculums range from nothing to worse than nothing are bad at preventing teen pregnancy and STDs — really, really bad:  CDC data shows that nine of the top eleven statewide rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are in the Old Confederacy. Six of the top ten for teen pregnancy.

These rates are higher in states with abstinence-only or abstinence-focused policies than they are in states that teach comprehensive sex education, because if you teach high schoolers how to have sex without getting diseased or pregnant, they have sex without getting diseased or pregnant.

All this is to say that if you’re going to unbuckle the Bible Belt, make sure you bring protection.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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