Major changes could be coming to the sex education curriculum in South Carolina schools, if a bill currently in the House passes in the State Legislature.
Currently, the Comprehensive Health Education Act (CHEA) of 1988 provides the basis for sex education in school districts throughout South Carolina. Some of the requirements include each district providing 750 minutes of sex education to each student throughout 9th-12th grade, creating a 13-member Health Education Advisory Committee, and providing staff development for health teachers.
According to a study by the New Morning Foundation released earlier this year, 75 percent of school districts in South Carolina are not in compliance with at least one portion of CHEA's sex education requirements.
The new bill, titled the Comprehensive Health Education Act (S.C. House Bill 3435), aims to update the 1988 law.
The changes proposed include combining boys and girls into one health education class, providing pregnancy prevention education, certifying teachers to teach health education, and requiring school districts to choose from an approved list of comprehensive health education programs.
The programs are subsidiaries of Planned Parenthood, and some include more information on how to practice safe sex rather than abstinence.
Under the new bill, school districts would also be required to provide yearly reports to the State Department of Education that demonstrate compliance with the law, and health teachers would be required to attend development classes every two years.
According to statistics from the New Morning Foundation, South Carolina ranks 12th in the U.S. for teen births.