Ouachita schools continuing sex ed to bring awareness to STDs

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OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - With sexually transmitted diseases on the rise in Northeast Louisiana, educators are making sure they keep students aware.

Kathy Rutledge is the nurse for West Ouachita High School. She says sex education is still in their curriculum.

"Currently, the Monroe region is first in chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis," Rutledge said. "Unfortunately, this is where we are."

Rutledge says the most significant battle when teaching students about STDs and sex is all of the false information they have access to social media.

"We want everything to be medically accurate," Rutledge said.

Rebekah Oaks is the principal. She says teachers and nurses create experiments for the students to show how quickly STDs can spread.

"One of the most important things is we want to educate them on how to know what's correct information and what's not," Oaks said.

The major emphasizes on sex education in the Ouachita Parish School System policy is encouraging sexual abstinence. The policy says educators would like students to refrain from sex outside of marriage.

"They don't always make a good judgment, but we have to give them the information to help them do the best they can," Oaks said.

Oaks says they need parents to do their part when discussing sexual health with students.

"That the job of educating on sexual education is ultimately the parent's job," Oaks said.

OPSS policy also says parents have the choice to excuse students from getting sexual education at the school.

"We want to have an open school, where they feel not judged, but they feel accepted," Oaks said.