Tulsa Public Schools voted Tuesday night to expand its sex education program. They'll start with four schools, with plans to expand the program to classrooms across the district.
The course is already offered in summer school. Now, it will be offered to 7th, 9th, and 11th at two high schools and two middle schools, as part of the day-to-day class schedule, if parents opt in.
The district says the state's alarming teen pregnancy rate has them looking to find ways to educate students.
"Forty-four percent of students who become pregnant or who are married at that age fail to graduate from high school, and that's something hat affects them for the rest of their life," said Steve Mayfield, of TPS.
The courses are a pilot program, being led by several outside organizations, trained to teach sex education.
"We really view the teen pregnancy prevention program as a drop out prevention program. This is really going to help students stay in school, finish school, go onto college, get good jobs, make Tulsa a better place to live," said Kim Schutz, Director of the Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
Schutz said this program is not your traditional textbook sex education program.
"That's really one of the main focuses of the campaign, is to get everybody talking," Schutz said.
Administrators say this is a pilot program for the entire school district. Eventually, outside program coordinators will hand off the teaching roles to classroom teachers.
"I think, ignoring the issue is something we don't have the luxury of doing any longer," Schutz said.
Now that the board has passed the issue, the classes will start in October for students at Clinton Middle School, Memorial junior high and high schools and Webster High Schools.
School administrators say they will have sessions for parents to get educated on the new class offering, as well. Letters to opt-in will be in the mail soon.