Advertisement

Health officer says schools curriculum needs updated

March 17, 2005

The Washington County Board of Education's reproductive-health curriculum isn't working, County Health Department officer William G. Christoffel told the school board at its meeting Tuesday night.

Christoffel went before the board to ask that it consider updating and revamping the curriculum. He said that while the national teenage pregnancy rate has fallen, Washington County has had fairly constant levels of birth rates for teenagers ages 15 to 19.

According to information provided by Christoffel, the U.S. birth rate for teens in that age group was 41.7 per 1,000 in 2000. Washington County, with a teenage rate of 45 per 1,000, was fourth in Maryland, which had an average rate of 33 births per 1,000 in 2000.

Other counties have seen those rates drop with active, up-to-date family-life curricula, but Washington County, which stresses abstinence, has remained stagnant, Christoffel said.

Advertisement

"Obviously what we're doing right now is not working," Christoffel told the school board.

Board member Russell Williams told Christoffel the board will look into the curriculum. Christoffel responded that the school system must do something quickly to address the problem, which he called one of the county's three biggest health issues.

"I hope we don't think and ponder this issue too long," Christoffel said, "because our rate continues to be unacceptably high."

- Karen Hanna

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|