1997 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Frazier
Senate Bill 2894
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-13-131, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE FOR A CHARACTER-BASED SEX EDUCATION PILOT PROGRAM IN SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN THE STATE WITH HIGH TEEN PREGNANCY RATES AS PART OF THE COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL HEALTH EDUCATION PROGRAM AND TO PRESCRIBE THE COMPONENTS OF SUCH PILOT PROGRAM; TO DIRECT THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO COOPERATE WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES AND THE INFANT MORTALITY TASK FORCE TO IMPLEMENT SUCH PILOT PROGRAM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. 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) As part of the Comprehensive School Health Education Program, the State Department of Education shall, pursuant to appropriation therefor by the Legislature, develop and implement a Character-Based Sex Education Pilot Program to be located in the public school districts with the highest numbers of teen pregnancies. The Character-Based Sex Education Pilot Program shall include the following interdependent components:
(a) Any such program or curriculum in Mississippi schools that include sex education, as a minimum, emphasize that abstinence from sexual intercourse is the only completely effective protection against unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) when transmitted sexually;
(b) Any such program shall include and emphasize the family as the irreplaceable foundation of society; and abstinence from sexual intercourse outside of a lawful marriage as the expected social standard for unmarried school-age people;
(c) Any such program or curriculum shall clearly articulate, through appropriately trained teachers and/or other personnel, using directive teaching methods, a curriculum that is abstinence-based, family-centered and age-appropriate with the overall goal of preparing students to achieve their full potential as healthy, mature adults by becoming responsible for their behavior and its consequences;
(d) Course materials and instructions relating to sex education or sexually transmitted diseases should be age-appropriate, should emphasize the importance of self-control and regaining self-control pertaining to sexual behavior, and should indicate the degree of reliability and unreliability of condoms and other forms of contraception as they relate to adolescents;
(e) Any such program shall inform the students concerning: laws relating to the financial responsibilities associated with pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing; laws relating to sexual abuse; how to cope with and rebuff unwanted physical and verbal sexual exploitation by others; and psychologically sound methods of resisting unwanted peer pressure; and
(f) Any such program shall be consistent with the National Guidelines for Sexuality and Character Education.
The State Department of Education shall cooperate with the Department of Human Services and the Infant Mortality Task Force to implement the Character-Based Sex Education Pilot Program in order to qualify for federal funds under the provisions of the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-193), and amendments thereto.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.