New health and sex-ed curriculum coming to Niagara Falls City School District

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Students in Niagara Falls will have a new health education program soon and it includes major changes to the district’s sex education program. The Board of Education approved the plan in an 8-1 vote Thursday.

“A lot of my friends don’t know a lot that they should know about their health, from teeth like dentistry to sexual,” said Julia Pitarresi, a freshman at Niagara Falls high school

As a freshman at Niagara Falls high school, 14-year-old Julia Pitarresi says she’s ready to learn more about health. Now she’ll be able to, thanks to a new health and sex education curriculum in Niagara Falls schools.

According to Superintendent Mark Laurrie, teen pregnancy rates are only getting worse.

So, after weeks of parent and student feedback, the Board of Education approved the plan Thursday.

“That makes me feel very happy,” said Pitarresi.

Superintendent Laurrie says the plan isn’t just about sex education.

“It includes physical health, mental health, dental health, and social, emotional health. So, it’s a comprehensive plan,” said Superintendent Mark Laurrie.

The plan includes new health educators that will cover age appropriate topics starting in 5th grade.

“The faculty members say it’s an important topic. they know what the kids are talking about, they hear the conversations, they’re asking for help,” said Laurrie.

Students will also get free physicals, dental and health care with the mobile health van which will travel to schools. Laurrie says to teach abstinence only is out of touch. He says now it’s time to focus on healthy behaviors.

“It’s nearly 2018, I think it’s time to me students where they’re at, to meet the community where it’s at and we needed to make a change,” said Laurrie.

The goal is to roll out the plan in schools as soon as February. Laurrie says the mobile health van is scheduled to come to schools in April. Parents will have the option for their child to opt out of any course. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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