KHSD unanimously approves new sex ed policy

In order to comply with new state laws, the Kern High School District voted unanimously Monday night to revamp its sexual education policy.

Designed to decrease the rate of sexually transmitted infections in the county, the new curriculum will include "comprehensive sexual health and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention" and will "promote understanding of sexuality as a normal part of human development."

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It's more of a comprehensive health curriculum that takes in more of the HIV instruction and also sexual health," said Brenda Lewis, the assistant superintendent of instruction.

After years of declining sexually transmitted disease rates in Kern County teens, the numbers have gone back up. The Kern County Public Health Services Department said one in four sexually active teen girls in the county has an STD.

In 2015, 8,580 new STD infections were reported in the county. The number of congenital syphilis cases in the county was 555 percent higher than the rest of California.

"I think our job in the Kern High School District is to continue to instruct our students, give them the latest available information that could help them understand the causes of STIs, how they get those diseases and appropriate places for them to go to get assistance," said Lewis.

Parents will be notified each year of the curriculum. The policy allows them to excuse their children without any disciplinary action.

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