The Canton, Ohio school board rescinded its abstinence-only sex education program last week after learning that over one in seven female students attending Canton’s Timken High School were pregnant. The school board will expand its sex education program to include information on contraception, and will deemphasize the previously taught abstinence-only philosophy in an effort to lower the rate of teen pregnancy in the region.
The new sex education curriculum “moves beyond, ‘Just say no,’ which doesn’t work,” said the Rev. David Morgan, who worked closely with the school board to redesign the sex education program, according to the Associated Press.
This decision breaks with the Ohio Department of Education’s traditional approach to sex education. Currently, the Department of Education does not require schools to offer courses on sex education or to instruct students on the use of contraceptives. Although high schools in Canton educated students about sexually transmitted infections, this information was covered in conjunction with drug, tobacco and alcohol lessons, often with textbooks that were older than the students themselves.