School officials have declared an outbreak of chlamydia at a high school in Crane County, Texas, where the only sex-ed course is legally required to emphasize abstinence. School district officials sent out letters to parents last week warning that 20 of Crane High School's 300 students have come down with the disease, which afflicts males and females but can cause permanent reproductive damage in the latter if left untreated, the Express-News reports. The letter said parents should be aware of the "growing problem," CBS 7 reports. The district also planned to have a meeting with school officials, parents, and teachers to discuss a strategy and the school's sex-ed program.
Currently the Crane Independent School District "does not offer a curriculum in human sexuality," according to its student handbook, but does offer a three-day course in sex-ed each fall semester. Texas law mandates that such courses emphasize abstinence, Salon reports, and indeed a district committee recommended Scott & White's "Worth the Wait" Abstinence Plus curriculum three years ago. "If kids are not having any sexual activity, they can’t get this disease … That’s not a bad program," says Jim Rumage, the district's superintendent. But residents say they're not too thrilled with the results: "I mean I have a kid, honestly I don't want my kid growing up in an area where nasty stuff like that happens," resident Edward Martinez tells News West 9. (A huge number of Americans have chlamydia and don't know it.)