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Barrow schools to teach abstinence to sixth-graders

WINDER - This fall, Barrow County's sixth-graders will learn about the virtues of abstinence.

Barrow County currently offers abstinence education to seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders as part of the health education component. The Board of Education voted Tuesday to expand that curriculum to sixth-graders as well. That move will cost the system $2,480.

"Abstinence is effective in preventing teen pregnancy, and we have a teen pregnancy problem," said Lynn Stevens, District 5 board member. "We know our middle schoolers are engaging in sexual activity."

The curriculum and materials are purchased from Choosing The Best, an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization and publisher that promotes abstinence and the development of healthy relationships.

Sixth-grade students will have six lessons on how to make decisions, assess relationships and choose abstinence.

Seventh-graders will study eight lessons that cover safe sex and abstinence.

Eighth-graders will have eight lessons using real-life teen stories and role-play.

The curriculum adds a new ninth-grade component of eight lessons instructing students on how to set goals, make good decisions, develop healthy relationships and choose abstinence.

Barrow County's sex education committee voted 14-1 on Feb. 12 to implement the new program.

"Sex education is taught using abstinence education because that's what the people [of Barrow County] want," Stevens said. "Some counties around us are more liberal."