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Sun, Sept. 19

Abstinence sex-ed program proposed for eighth graders
WUSD investigating "Making a Difference!" reproductive health course endorsed by county health department

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - The Williams Unified School District (WUSD) is currently reviewing an abstinence-based reproductive health program called "Making a Difference!" geared toward Williams Elementary-Middle School (WEMS) eighth graders.

Still in preliminary stages, the school board voted Nov. 9 to investigate the program further, and appoint a parent-based development advisory council.

After the council reviews the program, WUSD will host two parent meetings, allowing the opportunity to preview the curriculum, give input and make suggestions to the school board.

"It's not a comprehensive program, abstinence is the main premise, but they do cover teen pregnancy and things of that nature," WEMS Principal Rachel Savage said during the board's regular meeting.

The program would come at no cost to the district, and is funded by an Arizona Health Dept. grant.

"In the state of Arizona, this seems to be what school districts want, predominately to have an abstinence program," Savage said

Eighth grade boys and girls would receive the program separately and outside of a core class, which Savage said would likely happen during second semester P.E,

A representative from the Coconino County Health Dept. will be available to answer more detailed questions on the program during WUSD's work session meeting in Nov. 29.

According to the program's website, the Making A Difference! curriculum has three major components. The first focuses on student goals, dreams and adolescent sexuality. The second on sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy, covering the "beliefs and attitudes about abstinence, HIV, STD, and pregnancy," and the third component focuses on "skills and self-efficacy," covering "negotiation and refusal skills, and provides time for practice, reinforcement, and support."

After completing the Making A Difference! course, their website said students will have an "increased knowledge about prevention of HIV, STDs and pregnancy; more positive attitudes/beliefs about abstinence; increased confidence in their ability to negotiate abstinence; increased negotiation skills; stronger intentions to abstain from sex; a lower incidence of STD/HIV risk-associated sexual behavior; and a stronger sense of pride and responsibility in making a difference."

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