Thursday, December 29, 2005

Sex Education Battle In Tampa - Florida

TAMPA, Fla., U.S -- The Hillsborough County, Fla., School Board is facing a battle over the issue of sex education. While district educators are stepping up efforts to teach HIV, AIDS and pregnancy prevention, the other side is promoting abstinence only, the Tampa Tribune reported.

That group includes A Woman's Place Ministries, a faith-based organization that has been sending speakers into Hillsborough schools since 1999. Lesley Bateman, director of prevention services for A Woman's Place, said she is concerned about the district's sex education policy, described as "abstinence plus" as opposed to abstinence only.

"My understanding is that they are teaching about condoms in a far more positive light than we would," Bateman told the newspaper. "Our view is, why would you really want to take that chance?" Lloyd Zimet, coordinator of wellness programs for Hillsborough schools, said some students are confused with differences in what the district is teaching and the message from Bateman's speakers.

Bateman confirmed her speakers tell students: "For most STDs, condoms don't protect." Zimet and others said that message alone could cause sexually active students to use no protection, figuring it doesn't matter.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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