WAIT: Local schools to teach abstinence-only

By Laurie Bernstein - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - At many high schools in Columbus, sexual education is non-existent.

Times are changing, though, with the program WAIT getting ready to debut in 9th grade health classes.

"We talk about the emotional, financial, physical and intellectual benefits of abstaining from sex until marriage," said Carmen Overton, the Program Director for New Horizons Community Service Board, who created the program.

After two weeks of instruction in the classroom, the program will also offer continual support for kids who want to wait to have sex.

Many in the community call the idea refreshing.

"I think abstinence is definitely the way to go, then you don't have to worry about STD's or unexpected pregnancies," said Lydia Warren, a Columbus Resident.

It's what the program leaves out--contraceptive use--which has some in the community worried.

"It's unrealistic not to expect kids to experiment sexually at some younger ages. To not teach it is to stick your head in the sand," said Michael Cook, a Columbus Resident.

"You can tell kids not to do something, but more than likely, they are going to. It's better to give safe alternatives," said Norman Barnett, another Columbus Resident.

Even many of the people we talked to who support abstinence education still say these kids should be given the knowledge to make safe decisions, and should have access to information on contraception, just to be on the safe side.

Program directors for WAIT say they want more for the kids, and abstinence is the only way to be 100% safe.