1997 Regular Session
To: Education; Appropriations
By: Representative Scott (80th)
House Bill 1527
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-13-135, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT BY THE 1999-2000 SCHOOL YEAR, EACH SCHOOL DISTRICT SHALL IMPLEMENT THE COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL HEALTH EDUCATION PROGRAM IN GRADES K THROUGH 12; TO AMEND SECTION 37-13-131, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL HEALTH EDUCATION PROGRAM TO INCLUDE THE TEACHING OF AND STRESSING THE ADVANTAGES OF TOTAL ABSTINENCE FROM PREMARITAL SEXUAL ACTIVITY; TO AMEND SECTION 41-79-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION BY THE LEGISLATURE, TO IMPLEMENT A PREVENTION OF TEEN PREGNANCY PILOT PROGRAM IN THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS WITH THE HIGHEST NUMBERS OF TEEN PREGNANCIES AND TO AUTHORIZE, SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION BY THE LEGISLATURE, AN ABSTINENCE EDUCATION PILOT PROGRAM AND SPECIFY THE COMPONENTS OF THE ABSTINENCE EDUCATION SERVICES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-13-135, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-13-135. (1) In addition to all other authority, duties and powers the school boards of the school districts of this state may * * * have, each shall adopt plans for the implementation of the Comprehensive School Health Education Program into the local school curriculum. By the 1999-2000 school year, each school district shall implement the Comprehensive School Health Education Program in Grades K through 12, in accordance with the following schedule: Beginning with the 1997-1998 school year, each school district shall implement the program in Grades 6 through 8, in addition to implementing it in one (1) of the Grades 9 through 12. Beginning with the 1998-1999 school year, each school district shall implement the program in Grades 3 through 5, and beginning with the 1999-2000 school year, each school district shall implement the program in Grades K through 2.
(2) School boards shall appoint a local health education council to make recommendations regarding a comprehensive health education curriculum.
(3) There shall be cooperation between the State Department of Education, Office of Comprehensive School Health Education and the school boards of the several school districts in implementing this program as it best suits the needs of the individual districts.
(4) The Commission on School Accreditation shall encourage the development of plans of comprehensive school health education and the implementation thereof.
SECTION 2. Section 37-13-131, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-13-131. (1) The State Department of Education is designated as the state agency responsible for the administration and supervision of the Comprehensive School Health Education Program as an educational curriculum in the State of Mississippi. It is the intent of the Legislature that all funds made available to the State Department of Education for the purpose of comprehensive school health education shall be administered by the State Department of Education.
(2) Pursuant to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the State Department of Education is authorized to establish an Office of Comprehensive School Health Education within the framework of the State Department of Education for the purpose of developing standards, procedures and criteria for the administration and supervision of a statewide program of health education in Kindergarten through Grade 12. The State Department of Education, through the Office of Comprehensive School Health Education, shall assume the further responsibility for promoting a statewide effort designed to prepare local school faculties and staffs to incorporate the comprehensive health education concept into their local educational programs.
(3) The Mississippi Department of Health, in conjunction with the Office of Student Development-Branch of Health-Related Services of the State Department of Education, shall develop a long-range strategic plan for a Comprehensive School Health Education Program in Grades K through 12. The Comprehensive School Health Education Program shall encompass four (4) interdependent components: (a) health education; (b) health service; (c) physical education and fitness; and (d) a healthful school environment. These curriculum components shall be designed to develop decision-making competencies related to health and health behavior. Such curriculum components are intended to motivate health maintenance and promote wellness, not only to prevent disease or disability. The Mississippi Department of Health, in conjunction with the Office of Student Development-Branch of Health-Related Services of the Department of Education, shall develop the strategic plan and make a report thereon to the Governor and the Legislature on or before January 1, 1995.
(4) The Comprehensive School Health Education Program shall include the teaching of total abstinence from premarital sexual activity, identifying the advantages of abstinence and stressing that abstinence is the only method that is totally effective in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
SECTION 3. Section 41-79-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-79-5. (1) There is hereby established within the State Department of Health a school nurse intervention program, available to all public school districts in the state.
(2) By the school year 1998-1999, each public school district shall have employed a school nurse, to be known as a Health Service Coordinator, pursuant to the school nurse intervention program prescribed under this section. The school nurse intervention program shall offer any of the following specific preventive services, and other additional services appropriate to each grade level and the age and maturity of the pupils:
(a) Reproductive health education and referral to
prevent teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, which education shall include abstinence;
(b) Child abuse and neglect identification;
(c) Hearing and vision screening to detect problems which can lead to serious sensory losses and behavioral and academic problems;
(d) Alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse education to reduce abuse of these substances;
(e) Scoliosis screening to detect this condition so that costly and painful surgery and lifelong disability can be prevented;
(f) Coordination of services for handicapped children to ensure that these children receive appropriate medical assistance and are able to remain in public school;
(g) Nutrition education and counseling to prevent obesity and/or other eating disorders which may lead to life-threatening conditions, for example, hypertension;
(h) Early detection and treatment of head lice to prevent the spread of the parasite and to reduce absenteeism;
(i) Emergency treatment of injury and illness to include controlling bleeding, managing fractures, bruises or contusions and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR);
(j) Applying appropriate theory as the basis for decision making in nursing practice;
(k) Establishing and maintaining a comprehensive school health program;
(l) Developing individualized health plans;
(m) Assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating programs and other school health activities, in collaboration with other professionals;
(n) Providing health education to assist students, families and groups to achieve optimal levels of wellness;
(o) Participating in peer review and other means of evaluation to assure quality of nursing care provided for students and assuming responsibility for continuing education and professional development for self while contributing to the professional growth of others;
(p) Participating with other key members of the community responsible for assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating school health services and community services that include the broad continuum or promotion of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention; and
(q) Contributing to nursing and school health through innovations in theory and practice and participation in research.
(3) Public school nurses shall be specifically prohibited from providing abortion counseling to any student or referring any student to abortion counseling or abortion clinics. Any violation of this subsection shall disqualify the school district employing such public school nurse from receiving any state administered funds under this section.
(4) Each local school district of this state may apply for a school nurse intervention program. State administered funds shall only be available on a 50-50 matching basis, and subject to appropriation by the Legislature, with the local school district providing its local contribution from nonminimum program funds. However, school districts with an ad valorem assessed value per student of less than Seventeen Thousand Dollars ($17,000.00), according to the most recent ad valorem assessed valuation, shall not be required to make a local contribution to the cost of the program. In order to be eligible for such program, each district desiring to participate shall apply to the State Department of Health by May 31 before the beginning of the applicable fiscal year. Such applications shall be on forms provided by the State Department of Health. The local school governing board and the county health department shall mutually determine their school nurse intervention program within the previously determined state guidelines. The State Department of Health shall determine by July 1 of each succeeding year which local school districts have
submitted approved applications for school nurse intervention
programs. This subsection (4) shall stand repealed from and after July 1, 1999.
(5) Beginning with the 1997-1998 school year and pursuant to appropriation therefor by the Legislature, in addition to the school nurse intervention program funds administered under subsection (4), the State Department of Health shall establish and implement a Prevention of Teen Pregnancy Pilot Program to be located in the public school districts with the highest numbers of teen pregnancies. The Teen Pregnancy Pilot Program shall provide the following education services directly through public school nurses in the pilot school districts: health education sessions in local schools, which target issues including reproductive health, teen pregnancy prevention and sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis, HIV and AIDS. When these services are provided by a school nurse, training and counseling on abstinence shall be included.
(6) In addition to the school nurse intervention program funds administered under subsection (4) and the Teen Pregnancy Pilot Program funds administered under subsection (5), pursuant to appropriation therefor by the Legislature, the State Department of Health shall establish and implement an Abstinence Education Pilot Program to provide abstinence education, mentoring, counseling and adult supervision to promote abstinence from sexual activity, with a focus on those groups which are most likely to bear children out-of-wedlock. Such abstinence education services shall be provided by the State Department of Health through family planning clinics and public health nurses, and through contracts with rural and community health centers in order to reach a larger number of targeted clients. For purposes of this subsection, the term "abstinence education" means an educational or motivational program which:
(a) Has as its exclusive purpose, teaching the social, psychological and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity;
(b) Teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school-age children;
(c) Teaches that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and other associated health problems;
(d) Teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity;
(e) Teaches that sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects;
(f) Teaches that bearing children out of wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child's parents and society;
(g) Teaches young people how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increase vulnerability to sexual advances; and
(h) Teaches the importance of attaining self-sufficiency before engaging in sexual activity.
(7) Beginning with the 1998-1999 school year and pursuant to appropriation therefor by the Legislature, in addition to other funds allotted under the minimum education program, each school district shall be allotted an additional teacher unit per every one hundred (100) teacher units, for the purpose of employing qualified public school nurses in such school district, which in no event shall be less than one (1) teacher unit per school district, for such purpose. In the event the Legislature provides less funds than the total state funds needed for the public school nurse allotment, those school districts with fewer teacher units shall be the first funded for such purpose, to the extent of funds available.
(8) Prior to the 1998-1999 school year, nursing staff assigned to the program shall be employed through the local county health department and shall be subject to the supervision of the State Department of Health with input from local school officials. Local county health departments may contract with any comprehensive private primary health care facilities within their county to employ and utilize additional nursing staff. Beginning with the 1998-1999 school year, nursing staff assigned to the program shall be employed by the local school district and shall be designated as "health service coordinators," and shall be required to possess a bachelor's degree in nursing as a minimum qualification.
(9) Upon each student's enrollment, the parent or guardian
shall be provided with information regarding the scope of the
school nurse intervention program. The parent or guardian may
provide the school administration with a written statement
refusing all or any part of the nursing service. No child shall
be required to undergo hearing and vision or scoliosis screening
or any other physical examination or tests whose parent objects
thereto on the grounds such screening, physical examination or
tests are contrary to his sincerely held religious beliefs.
(10) A consent form for reproductive health education shall
be sent to the parent or guardian of each student upon his
enrollment. If a response from the parent or guardian is not
received within seven (7) days after the consent form is sent,
the school shall send a letter to the student's home notifying
the parent or guardian of the consent form. If the parent or
guardian fails to respond to the letter within ten (10) days
after it is sent, then the school principal shall be authorized
to allow the student to receive reproductive health education.
Reproductive health education shall include the teaching of total
abstinence from premarital sex and, wherever practicable,
reproductive health education should be taught in classes divided
according to gender. All materials used in the reproductive
health education program shall be placed in a convenient and
easily accessible location for parental inspection. School
nurses shall not dispense birth control pills or contraceptive
devices in the school. Dispensing of such shall be the
responsibility of the State Department of Health on a referral
(11) No provision of this section shall be construed as
prohibiting local school districts from accepting financial
assistance of any type from the State of Mississippi or any other
governmental entity, or any contribution, donation, gift, decree
or bequest from any source which may be utilized for the
maintenance or implementation of a school nurse intervention
program in a public school system of this state.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.