NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Niagara Falls City School District wants to change its sex education curriculum and is now asking for input from parents and students.
Superintendent Mark Laurrie says Niagara Falls has the highest STD and teen pregnancy rates than anywhere else in New York State.
“I know some really young parents, like under 18, like under 15 year old parents. That says something about our education,” said Chad, a student at Niagara Falls high school.
Many students shared their thoughts on the lack of sex education in Niagara Falls schools during a forum at Harry F. Abate elementary school Wednesday.
Dinah Harris, who’s a sophomore at Niagara Falls high school, says students need a more comprehensive program.
“More female anatomy, male anatomy, learning about STD/AIDs, how to prevent teen pregnancy,” said Dinah Harris.
Teen pregnancy and STD rates in Niagara Falls are some of the highest in New York State, according to Superintendent Mark Laurrie.
Some students say too often ‘taboo’ topics are ignored by parents and teachers, leaving kids to learn about it from their friends.
“I’m already exposed to it through my peers. So I would rather hear it from a teacher or someone who knows what they’re talking about other than my peers because they don’t,” said Kelana, another Niagara Falls student who also serves on the Youth City council.
Superintendent Mark Laurrie says he wants to move from an ‘abstinence only’ to an ‘abstinence plus’ program. He presented his ideas to parents and students during a forum Wednesday.
Laurrie says his plans include having service providers like Planned Parenthood educate students on healthy behaviors.
“Those conversations and those worries and those stressors that kids have are impacting and impeding their ability to come to school,” said Laurrie.
Before these changes can happen Laurrie is asking for feedback from both parents and students.
“It’s a transparent process in the community and they know we’re moving to break a cycle that’s long overdue,” said Laurrie.
Laurrie is also proposing to have a mobile health van, which would travel to schools and offer free physicals, dental and health care to students. Parents would have the option for their child to ‘opt out’ of any course or topic. Another forum is scheduled for October 11th before Laurrie presents this plan to the board of education October 19th.