May is Sex Ed for All Month. In Mississippi, however, not all youth are provided with the sex education they need and deserve. Mississippi needs more comprehensive sex education. In 2011, the Mississippi Legislature passed House Bill 999, which requires public schools to adopt and implement an abstinence-based sex ed policy and curriculum. Twelve years later, this law has not changed. We are still waiting for Mississippi to move toward comprehensive sex education. And while we wait, we work. We invite you to do the work with us.
Teen Health Mississippi (THMS) believes that young people in Mississippi deserve access to the information and resources needed to make informed and healthy decisions. As we work toward better sex education for all young people in Mississippi, we are connecting with our legislators to help them understand the importance of comprehensive sex education for Mississippi students. This happens in great part through our youth program Mississippi Youth Council (MYCouncil). Each year, THMS works with 10 young people who advocate for comprehensive sex education in the state. They do this by writing bills for legislative consideration, lobbying at their annual Capitol Day, and making Mississippians more aware of the need for comprehensive sex ed via blogs and social media. If you’d like to see Mississippi adopt a comprehensive sex education policy, please reach out to your legislators to let them know.
THMS has worked in sex education since 2011 with the Mississippi State Department of Health on a school-based program called the Creating Healthy and Responsible Teens (CHART) initiative. Through CHART, we work with school districts to provide age-appropriate, evidence-based, medically accurate abstinence-plus sex education. School districts can choose to become a part of this initiative that provides resources, tools, and technical assistance free-of-cost. To learn more about CHART, please visit our webpage. Parents, school faculty, staff, and administrators or concerned citizens can petition local school boards to adopt the CHART policy and program.
The Grades K-5 Human Growth and Development Initiative helps school districts find and implement the best curriculum that gives young learners age-appropriate information about a variety of topics that can have a positive impact on their mental health and decision-making. Some topics include proper terms for anatomy, good touch versus bad touch, internet safety, and how to be a good friend. School districts can reach out to Josh McCawley at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Comprehensive sex education is something that we need in our schools, but we also recognize that education happens in the home and community as well. THMS works with parents, trusted adults, and youth-serving professionals to provide a variety of interactive trainings. Our trusted adult trainings prepare adults to have needed conversations with the young people in their lives without stigma and misinformation. Adults often leave our trainings feeling more comfortable and prepared to provide their young people with the information and resources they need. For more information or to schedule a Trusted Adults training, email Triuna Taylor at email@example.com or see our training schedule. Let’s join hands and continue to work toward lower teen birth and sexually transmitted infection rates in Mississippi.
There is no Sex Ed for All Month without you! Together, by advocating in our communities, we can ensure Sex Ed for All.