Parents are divided about sex education.
"It shouldn't be an option. It should be in schools," says Leon Flowers.
Camika Rogers says, "As a parent I think it's more of the parent's choice and they should have a choice about what their kids sexual information should be."
Now MCS is giving parents that choice and giving them no choice but to decide.
Parents must fill out a form either way: Choosing to have their child in sex education or not to. In past years, parents only filled out a form if they wanted to exclude their child from sex ed; children who did not return a form from their parents were automatically placed in the sex ed program during the Family Life Curriculum.
"Everybody should have their right to opinion. If the school wants them to sign a consent form then they should have. If the parents want them to do it yes, if they don't want them to then no," says parent Tamika Brewer.
But those at Planned Parenthood in Memphis disagree with MCS. They say with more than 60 percent of Memphis high school students being sexually active, all students should have sex ed.
"If they choose to be sexually active then we want them to have the knowledge that will protect them from disease and protect them from pregnancy," says Barry Chase with Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood also says giving parents a choice will complicate the issue, "Parents everywhere in our community, and it's no different than any other, are often uninvolved are not prepared to take the time to read or listen and know what this is about."
Chase adds that MCS also needs to expand sex ed through high school, when teens are talking about sex and even more sexually active. Currently at MCS, sex ed stops the first year of high school.
MCS says they will begin the new sex education requirements in November. Their recent decision to change their sex ed practices comes as a response to State Bill 3310, which requires schools to, prior to the sex education class, obtain parent or guardian's written consent or written wish to exclude their children.
The school system adds that parents will be provided plenty of information about the sex ed program. Permission forms will be sent home with parents, according to MCS.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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