"The fact that our state requires sex education is a positive," said Forrest Alton. "At the same time, I think we have to acknowledge that the world young people are living in today versus the world they were growing up in 25 years ago is fundamentally different."
Alton is CEO of the SC Campaign To Prevent Teen Pregnancy. He said sex education needs an updated approach when it's taught in classrooms and it should not focus solely on abstinence since statistics show 47% of high schoolers have had sex.
"Young people are constantly bombarded with messages about sex whether it's MTV or the Internet or music videos or whatever the case," said Alton. "So, we don't have a choice anymore whether or not young people are going to learn about sex, we do have a choice of who the instructor is."
A new state bill would require all health education teachers to be certified.
Representative James Smith, one of the co-sponsors, said the curriculum should be streamlined so every student gets accurate and realistic information.
"What we've found is we don't have accountability to make sure everyone is getting the same quality and same level of information," said Smith.
Teen pregnancy has declined by nearly 40% in South Carolina the last two decades.
The State Superintendent said that proves the current legislation is working. His spokesman said the new bill would encourage kids to have safe sex instead of saving sex for marriage.
"What this bill would say is, 'It's okay to have casual sex, one night stands outside of marriage and talk about all the std prevention you can have with that,'" said Jay Ragley with the SC Department of Education. "When you remove the context of marriage from the conversation of reproductive health, it weakens abstinence and encourages students not to engage in less risky behavior it actually encourages them to engage in more risky behavior."
Smith said abstinence would still be part of the curriculum, but it would also have a focus on contraceptives and STD prevention, not necessarily within the context of marriage.
"We want abstinence taught, contraception taught," said Smith. "Information about sexually transmitted diseases so that our students and our young people are equipped to make the decision for themselves with medically accurate information."
"It's kind of like telling students 'We don't want you to smoke,'" said Ragley. "'But if you're going to smoke, this is the way you should do it.' That's just a bad policy."
Although teen pregnancy is on the decline, South Carolina has the 11th highest teen birth rate in the nation.
"Teen pregnancy is a very complex issue and so to think that any single message is going to be appropriate for every young person in South Carolina is a little misleading," said Alton.
Supporters say the curriculum and approach need to be updated to reflect a changing culture, while opponents say the current law is working, so there's no need for change.
Saturday, August 2 2014 12:19 AM EDT2014-08-02 04:19:52 GMT
District Attorney Ben David will hold a press conference Friday at 10 a.m. concerning the in-custody death of former Brunswick County Sheriff Ron Hewitt. According to a press release, the press conferenceMore >>
In a press conference Friday morning, District Attorney Ben David said that no criminal charges will be filed in the in-custody death of former Brunswick County Sheriff Ron Hewett. More >>
Friday, August 1 2014 11:38 PM EDT2014-08-02 03:38:34 GMT
TUCSON, AZ (KVOA) - Animal lovers in Tucson, Arizona are rallying to save the life of a stray puppy with major medical problems. The little dog had little hope of surviving but thanks to a caring communityMore >>
Animal lovers in Tucson, Arizona are rallying to save the life of a stray puppy with major medical problems. The little dog had little hope of surviving but thanks to a caring community he's getting a second chance at life.More >>
Friday, August 1 2014 10:56 PM EDT2014-08-02 02:56:42 GMT
Lake City, SC (WMBF) Controversy is stirring in one Florence County city as moves are being made to allow liquor to be sold on Sunday. Lake City leaders said uncorking the tap on Sunday, goes hand inMore >>
Controversy is stirring in one Florence County city as moves are being made to allow liquor to be sold on Sunday.More >>
Friday, August 1 2014 9:42 PM EDT2014-08-02 01:42:45 GMT
DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer AKRON, Ohio (AP) — The PGA Tour is refuting a report that Dustin Johnson has been suspended. Johnson said in a statement Thursday he was taking a leave of absence to seekMore >>
The PGA Tour is refuting a report that Dustin Johnson has been suspended.More >>
Friday, August 1 2014 9:29 PM EDT2014-08-02 01:29:47 GMT
WEST FLORENCE KNIGHTS Class 4A, Region VI 2013 Record: 6-6, lost to Northwestern in first round of playoffs 2014 Season Opener: August 22nd, vs. Fort Dorchester, 7:30 Key Returners: QB Marquane GoodmanMore >>
QB Marquane Goodman should be the star attraction one more year for the Knights. More >>
Friday, August 1 2014 9:28 PM EDT2014-08-02 01:28:33 GMT
WILSON TIGERS Class 3A, Region VII 2013 Record: 2-8 2014 Season Opener: August 22nd, at Timmonsville, 7:30 Key Returners: WR Christian Bruce is always a good go-to target, especially with Gaquan MaizeMore >>
9 of 11 defensive starters return and look to make an impact in a tough 3A region.More >>
Friday, August 1 2014 8:52 PM EDT2014-08-02 00:52:14 GMT
SOCASTEE, SC (WMBF)- The new high school football season got underway on Friday, with many teams holding their first practices. This season also marks the second year that athletic trainers will use newMore >>
The new high school football season got underway on Friday, with many teams holding their first practices. This season also marks the second year that athletic trainers will use new technology to help them track on the field injuries.More >>
Friday, August 1 2014 7:18 PM EDT2014-08-01 23:18:53 GMT
Horry County (WMBF) - What started as a research trip to Africa, quickly turned into a trip about Ebola prevention for CCU assistant professor Fredanna M'Cormack. M'Cormack is in Sierra Leon; that'sMore >>
What started as a research trip to Africa, quickly turned into a trip about Ebola prevention for CCU assistant professor Fredanna M'Cormack. M'Cormack is in Sierra Leon; that'sMore >>
Friday, August 1 2014 7:03 PM EDT2014-08-01 23:03:24 GMT
ATLANTIC BEACH, SC (WMBF) - As Gov. Nikki Haley wrapped up her meeting with the Atlantic Beach Town Council Tuesday morning, town police quietly escorted a young woman from the building. It turns outMore >>
As Gov. Nikki Haley wrapped up her meeting with the Atlantic Beach Town Council Tuesday morning, town police quietly escorted a young woman from the building. It turns out she works for the South Carolina Democratic Party and her removal was ordered by the governor's staff, according to the police officer who escorted her from the meeting.More >>
Friday, August 1 2014 6:45 PM EDT2014-08-01 22:45:47 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Taste of Home Cooking School is planning to share recipes that will enhance your holiday seasons. On Saturday, September 20, Taste of Home's Culinary Specialist, MichelleMore >>
The Taste of Home Cooking School is planning to share recipes that will enhance your holiday seasons.More >>