DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - No sex before marriage. That's what all Mississippi students will be taught in school next year.
The state has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country. To fight that rising number, lawmakers are now requiring schools to teach abstinence.
School districts have two choices. They can teach abstinence only or 'abstinence plus.' The difference is abstinence plus covers STD's and birth control, abstinence only doesn't.
DeSoto County has spent months deciding which one will be taught in its schools. Educators have settled on abstinence only.
"We're just talking about social benefits, psychological benefits, and then the health benefits of being abstinent or practicing abstinence," says Keith Williams, associate superintendent of DeSoto County Schools.
The school district is following a state law mandating kids be taught the positives of waiting until marriage to have sex, and the negatives of not waiting.
Classes will be taught to 6th through 12th graders. They may include a discussion of condoms or contraceptives, but they won't look like the sex education classes you see in the movies. All demonstrations are against the law.
Parents have the option of whether their kids are taught the new curriculum.
"We will send a written notice home to parents a week before instruction beginning," says Williams.
If they opt in, students will be separated for the class.
"Once they start instruction, boys and girls will be separated and be in different classrooms," Williams tells abc24.com.
Tamika Skinner has two kids attending DeSoto schools. She supports the changes, but will teach her kids more.
"They need to see that whole picture, they need to know the whole part of it, which is not just wait until marriage," she says. "They need to know the reality of having sex before marriage which leads to STD's and teen pregnancy."
DeSoto's school board still has to approve the exact curriculum that will be taught. Members will do that on April 2nd.