A Texas high school is in the middle of a chlamydia outbreak, officials say. But according to the school district's student handbook, it does not offer sexual education.
Several students in one Crane, Texas, school district contracted chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease, according to a letter obtained by ABC News that went home to parents Monday. According to the letter, the surrounding counties were also in the middle of an outbreak.
"Crane Independent School District would like to make our parents aware or more aware of a problem that has been identified in our teenagers and young adults of our community," the letter reads.
Crane County has had three reported chlamydia cases in the last two weeks, but health workers have seven days to report them to the state, according to the Texas State Department of Health.
Chlamydia is the most common STD in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's caused by a bacteria, and can be passed between sexual partners who aren't using condoms, according to the National Institutes of Health. It is treated with antibiotics, according to the NIH.
Most people with chlamydia have no symptoms, but some men and women can develop discharge, burning and tenderness, according to the NIH. In women, chlamydia can prompt pelvic inflammatory disease or liver inflammation. It can also make it harder for women to get pregnant.
The school does not have a sexual education program, according to Crane's student handbook for the 2014-15 school year, which is posted online.
"Currently, Crane ISD does not offer a curriculum in human sexuality," the handbook says, explaining that if it ever does institute such a program, the parent can opt out. According to the handbook, state law requires more attention must be spent on abstinence than other behavior.
The school district did not respond to a request by ABC News for comment beyond the letter.
Dr. Jennifer Ashton, a senior medical contributor for ABC News and practicing OBGYN, said half of her patients are women under 21 years old.
"The factual knowledge regarding [sexually transmitted infections] is generally poor," she said, adding that it prompted her to write a book, "The Body Scoop for Girls."
"Reproductive health or sex ed courses have enormous variability in their content and teaching approach. Factors such as geographic region, school district and teacher beliefs/comfort with this subject matter all come into play," Ashton noted.
"Abstinence only may sound ideal but it's not realistic," Ashton said. "And in theory, better education reduces adverse outcomes."
A Republican lawmaker who promoted legislation to teach “abstinence-only” sex education in schools announced that his own unmarried high school-aged daughter has gotten pregnant.
Bill Cassidy, a state Senator from Louisiana released a statement to NOLA.com announcing that he was to be a grandfather and expressing his support for his daughter during this “challenging” time:
“Earlier this year, Laura and I learned we will become grandparents this summer. Our children have been the greatest blessing of our lives and we welcome our grandchild as a joyous addition to our family. Our daughter now faces a more challenging future than her peers. She has our unconditional love and support.”Cassidy has made a name for himself as somewhat of a “abstinence-only” crusader. Last year, he co-sponsored the Abstinence-Only Reallocation Act, which would award grants and special funding to public and private schools which stuck to teaching only abstinence instead of a more comprehensive lesson plan on sexual behavior. The bill, authored by perennial bad ideas machine Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), has been tabled in Congress, but Louisiana teens aren’t in the clear.
Despite efforts by some legislators to address this problem, Louisiana is one of the leading abstinence-only promoters in the country. In roughly one-third of all schools in the state, students are taught exclusively abstinence. No safe sex. No birth control. Nothing but “Don’t do it.” And you know how good kids are at listening to adults when they tell them not to do something…
It might explain why Louisiana currently has the 6th highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation. And while most of the country has been seeing major declines in teen births, Louisiana’s has hardly changed.
Now, it appears Cassidy’s own daughter contributes to those statistics.
Who could have seen this coming? Oh, right, the scientists who study teen sexual behavior:
States that prescribe abstinence-only sex education programs in public schools have significantly higher teenage pregnancy and birth rates than states with more comprehensive sex education programs, researchers from the University of Georgia have determined.
The researchers looked at teen pregnancy and birth data from 48 U.S. states to evaluate the effectiveness of those states’ approaches to sex education, as prescribed by local laws and policies.
“Our analysis adds to the overwhelming evidence indicating that abstinence-only education does not reduce teen pregnancy rates,” said Kathrin Stanger-Hall, assistant professor of plant biology and biological sciences in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. [source]...