DENVER (CBS4)– Some lawmakers want to revamp the sex education programs in Colorado schools. A new bill would require educators to provide children with a lot more information.
Right now the state law mandates that if you teach sex education in school it must be comprehensive.
Schools are not required to teach sex education and many opt out.
This measure would not only mandate that the subject be taught, it would go way beyond abstinence alone.
“What this bill will do is focus on creating a comprehensive sex ed standard for the State of Colorado,” said Rep. Crisanta Duran, a Democrat representing Denver.
The bill would cover everything from abstinence to birth control, disease prevention to condom use. It would reach out to gay as well as straight teens.
Planned Parenthood educator Rebecca Engel said most children do not receive the sex education they need at home.
“Not everyone is able to have that conversation at home so they need other access to this information,” said Engel.
Engel teaches sex ed in schools that allow it but she believes too many schools offer limited information, misinformation or no information.
“Being inclusive of all different sexualities, all different orientations to make sure everyone is protecting themselves,” said Engel.
Government surveys show two out of three high school seniors in Colorado have had sex. While teenage pregnancies are down, in 2010, the most recent data available, more than 5,400 women under the age of 20 gave birth in Colorado.
Engel said her philosophy is knowledge is power and maybe prevention.
“Being in the classroom we see what teens are doing and know what they’re not doing and comprehensive sex ed can really delay the onset of sexual actvity because they have the information to make healthy decisions,” said Engel.
The bill exempts private schools and does not compel schools to teach about abortion.
Many Republicans believe that school boards, not the state, should make decisions mandating education. They’re also worried the bill would amount to another unfunded mandate for schools.