2007 Regular Session
By: Representative McCoy, Burnett, Hines, Mayo, Perkins
AN ACT TO REQUIRE THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, ACTING JOINTLY WITH THE MISSISSIPPI COMMUNITY EDUCATION CENTER, TO ESTABLISH A PILOT PROGRAM AIMED AT PREVENTING TEENAGE PREGNANCY; TO PROVIDE THAT THE PILOT PROGRAM WILL BE IMPLEMENTED IN THE EAST TALLAHATCHIE CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT FOR AN INITIAL PERIOD OF TWO YEARS, BEGINNING IN THE 2007-2008 SCHOOL YEAR; TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT TO REPORT TO THE LEGISLATURE ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PROGRAM BEFORE OCTOBER 1, 2008; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) The Legislature finds that national studies rank the State of Mississippi as having the highest rate of teen pregnancy. In 2004, the Delta region ranked higher in the percentage of births to single mothers and more specifically, percentage of births to single teenagers, than the state average, and nine (9) of the ten (10) counties in the state having the highest percentage of births to single teens were in the Mississippi Delta region. The Legislature further finds that preventing early childbearing would eliminate a huge amount of poverty in the Delta, thereby revitalizing the region and improving the quality of life for all Delta region citizens.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature that this act establish an aggressive and focused strategy to reduce teen pregnancy in the Delta through the establishment of a pilot program designed for one (1) school district which will serve as a model for success in reducing teen pregnancy throughout the region, as well as directing the mindset of teenagers in the region to one characterized by healthy, responsible choices.
(3) The State Department of Education, acting jointly with the Mississippi Community Education Center, shall establish a pilot program aimed at preventing teenage pregnancy. The pilot program will be implemented in the East Tallahatchie Consolidated School District for an initial period of two (2) years, beginning in the 2007-2008 school year. During the first year of implementation, the State Department of Education, in its discretion, may expand the program to also include the West Tallahatchie Consolidated School District.
(4) The pilot program created under this section will be designed for students who are ten (10) years of age and older, their parents and members of the local community. The State Department of Education shall develop an age appropriate curriculum aimed specifically at preventing teenage pregnancy and educating expectant teen parents. The prevention of pregnancy curriculum must be integrated into the currently existing curriculum for students at each grade level, beginning with the fifth grade, and incorporated into the students' ordinary school day schedule. In addition, students and parents shall be required to participate in weekly sessions held in the evenings which present meaningful information pertaining to abstinence and healthy choices on the part of teenagers.
(5) The State Department of Education shall establish appropriate measures to determine the success of the pilot program. Before October 1, 2008, the department shall prepare and submit a report to the chairpersons of the Education Committees of the House of Representatives and Senate on the effectiveness of the program and making recommendations on whether or not the pilot program should be extended and expanded to include other school districts throughout the Delta region. For purposes of this section, the term "Delta region" is defined as the western section of the State of Mississippi that lies between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers, encompassing in part or whole the counties of Bolivar, Carroll, Claiborne, Coahoma, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Jefferson, Leflore, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tunica, Warren, Washington and Yazoo.
(6) In addition to those funds that may be appropriated by the Legislature for this pilot program, the State Department of Education may receive and expend funds made available to the department from any source, including any federal or other governmental agency, private business, industry, foundation or other organization, for the prevention of teen pregnancy pilot program. Any state appropriations made for the support of the program must be made to the State Department of Education.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.