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Making the Grade: How Should Nevada Teach Sex Ed?

Assemblyman David Bobzian says that the lack of cohesive sex education in Nevada – wide variances among schools over what is taught and when – was “frankly, keeping me up at night.” 

He’s introduced Bill 230 which would allow for what he describes as medically accurate, age-appropriate sex ed requirements that would be the same for each Nevada school district.

“Young people have a lot of the same problems, and a lot of the same challenges, and a lot of the same questions, whether they live in Elko or Las Vegas,” says Bobzian.

The bill proposes coursework on the reproductive system and protection from sexually-transmitted disease, among other topics, but also includes language on less physiologically-based instruction, such as “participation in and exploitation from the electronic transmission of sexually explicit images.”

“Not providing the information that kids need to make the appropriate decisions was definitely a problem for this state,” says Bobzian.

How big a problem? A recently-released study shows that Nevada ranks 4th nationwide for teen pregnancy rates.  

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Opponents to the bill say that sex education is a topic better handled by parents.

“Maybe we should be teaching our parents how to teach our children,” says pro-life activist Pam Caylor.

But Planned Parenthood’s Annette Magnus says that in-home sex education rarely happens.

“I was just here on the College of Southern Nevada campus last night, talking to a women’s studies class,” says Magnus. “I asked them – it was a group of about 35 students – and I asked them ‘how many of you were actually talked to by your parents about sex?’ Two people raised their hands. That’s the reality we’re being faced with.”

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KNPR's State of Nevada
KNPR's State of Nevada