Officials at a small West Texas high school are rethinking their abstinence-only sex-ed program after an outbreak of the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia was reported last week.
KOSA-TV of Odessa and Midland reports that the school district sent a letter to parents of Crane High School students informing them that 20 cases of chlamydia had been confirmed at the school with an enrollment of about 300 students.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called the outbreak a health issue at “epidemic proportions,” KFOR-TV of Oklahoma City reported.
State health officials had notified the district of a significant number of chlamydia cases reported in Crane County and adjacent Upton County. District officials plan to meet with the school’s advisory committee of teachers, parents and school officials to discuss the situation Monday.
Chlamydia is curable but if left untreated, it can cause permanent damage to reproductive systems and increase chances of contracting HIV.
“We do have an abstinence curriculum, and that evidently ain’t working,” superintendent Jim Rumage said. “We need to do all we can, although it’s the parents’ responsibility to educate their kids on sexual education.”
He added: “It’s not a bad thing because if kids are not having any sexual activity, they can’t get this disease.”