A bill that would update the state's 26-year-old sex education law cleared its first hurdle in the Senate on Thursday after a year-long struggle getting approval in the House.
The bill would require that "medically accurate" information about sex be taught in public schools. It also would require school districts to report what they are teaching about sex.
The bill's sponsor Rep. B.R. Skelton, R-Pickens, said the bill would help reduce sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancies, which create steep obstacles for young people to overcome and places additional burdens on social services.
But to get the votes needed to pass in the House, lawmakers on the House floor removed another key provision of the bill that required sex-ed teachers to be certified to teach the subject.
Skelton and other sex-ed advocates urged a Senate K-12 education panel Thursday to consider returning the certification requirement back to the bill.
The problem, Skelton said, is that some sex-ed instructors are teaching "distorted" information.
Skelton said he heard of a sports coach telling students, "'The only thing better than sex is macaroni and cheese.'" We certainly don't need that kind of thing going on in our classrooms," he added.
The committee OK'd the bill without the additional certification requirements. The bill now goes to the full Senate Education Committee for consideration.