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BRONSON–With temptations abounding for today's young teens, a special School Health Advisory committee decided its about time Levy County tackled the sometimes touchy subject of sex education.
Carol Jones, the schools, Tech Prep Coordinator who headed up the committee, saw the handwriting on the wall.
"Teen pregnancy is up in the county and sexually transmitted diseases are also on the rise in the 15-19 age bracket," she said. "We felt it was time to address the issue."
The committee encompassing County School and Health officials met twice in November and settled on a specific curricula that would best fill the bill for seventh and eighth graders in Levy County.
Educating middle school age kids would be most crucial since they're at vulnerable crossroads.
At its Dec. 18 meeting, School Board of Levy County members gave the green light for seventh and eighth grade students to be taught a Human Growth and Developmental course with an abstinance theme called "Choosing the Best"
The county's middle schools will have the opportunity to offer the course beginning this semester.
The "Choosing the Best" curricula was previously approved by the Florida Department of Education and the Department of Health.
"Choosing the Best" was written by Bruce and Donna Cook with a number of respected doctors acting as the medical advisory board. Bruce Cook is considered an expert on empowing teens to choose abstinence. He has talked about the topic on many national media venues.
Since 1993, more than 1,500,000 students nationwide have participated in "Choosing the Best" programs.
The course is textbook with a video accompanying each chapter or lesson.
Lesson titles include "Sex, Everybody's Talking About It.""The Risks of STDs and HIV/AIDS," "Teen Pregnancy and Safe Sex" and"Pressures to Be Sexually Active."
The courses will not be available until notification of parents and distribution of op-out letters.
Jones said it will be up to each middle school principal to decide how the course is administered.
"Some might include it in PE and some in after school programs," Jones said.
There is one qualified instructor in the county for "Choosing the Best." Fred Oats of the Department of Juvenile Justice will visit each campus to teach the course.