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State Office: Tenn. schools need sex education guidance


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  A division of the State Comptroller’s Office says Tennessee schools lack guidance on what they should be teaching young people about preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

According to federal statistics, the number of teen pregnancies reported in Tennessee each year has been falling steadily since 1991.

Still, teen pregnancies rates remain stubbornly high, primarily in the states rural areas. John Dunn with the State Comptrollers Office says a new interactive map is now available outlining which counties have the worst problem.

"What our map shows is that there are 37 Tennessee counties, which is more than one-third of the counties in the state of Tennessee, that have a teen pregnancy rate which exceeds 19.5, and that means that those counties have to teach a Family Life Education Program in their high schools."

State law requires that abstinence be part of any sex education course, but beyond that leaves local school boards to decide what will be taught.

The Tennessee Office of Research and Education Accountability says local schools need more direction about how to teach the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

About 1900 Tennessee teens between the ages of 15 and 17 get pregnant each year.

Would you like to see the Comptrollers interactive map?