State law stresses abstinence.
Creating Healthy and Responsible Teens Initiative
This webpage describes the Creating Healthy and Responsible Teens Initiative, created by the Mississippi State Department of Health and Mississippi First, which aims to reduce teen pregnancy and improve teen sexual health by supporting school districts with the development and implementation of comprehensive, "abstinence plus" sex education programs.
Mississippi Code 37-13-171 Abstinence-only or Abstinence-plus Education
(1) The local school board of every public school district shall adopt a policy to implement abstinence-only or abstinence-plus education into its curriculum by June 30, 2012, which instruction in those subjects shall be implemented not later than the start of the 2012-2013 school year or the local school board shall adopt the program which has been developed by the Mississippi Department of Human Services and the Mississippi Department of Health. The State Department of Education shall approve each district's curriculum for sex-related education and shall establish a protocol to be used by districts to provide continuity in teaching the approved curriculum in a manner that is age, grade and developmentally appropriate. (2) Abstinence-only education shall remain the state standard for any sex-related education taught in the public schools. For purposes of this section, abstinence-only education includes any type of instruction or program which, at an appropriate age and grade: (a) Teaches the social, psychological and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity, and the likely negative psychological and physical effects of not abstaining; (b) Teaches the harmful consequences to the child, the child's parents and society that bearing children out of wedlock is likely to produce, including the health, educational, financial and other difficulties the child and his or her parents are likely to face, as well as the inappropriateness of the social and economic burden placed on others; (c) Teaches that unwanted sexual advances are irresponsible and teaches how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increases vulnerability to sexual advances; (d) Teaches that abstinence from sexual activity before marriage, and fidelity within marriage, is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and related health problems. The instruction or program may include a discussion on condoms or contraceptives, but only if that discussion includes a factual presentation of the risks and failure rates of those contraceptives. In no case shall the instruction or program include any demonstration of how condoms or other contraceptives are applied; (e) Teaches the current state law related to sexual conduct, including forcible rape, statutory rape, paternity establishment, child support and homosexual activity; and (f) Teaches that a mutually faithful, monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the only appropriate setting for sexual intercourse. (3) A program or instruction on sex-related education need not include every component listed in subsection (2) of this section for abstinence-only education. However, no program or instruction under an abstinence-only curriculum may include anything that contradicts the excluded components. For purposes of this section, abstinence-plus education includes every component listed under subsection (2) of this section that is age and grade appropriate, in addition to any other programmatic or instructional component approved by the department, which shall not include instruction and demonstrations on the application and use of condoms. Abstinence-plus education may discuss other contraceptives, the nature, causes and effects of sexually transmitted diseases, or the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, along with a factual presentation of the risks and failure rates. (4) Any course containing sex-related education offered in the public schools shall include instruction in either abstinence-only or abstinence-plus education. (5) Local school districts, in their discretion, may host programs designed to teach parents how to discuss abstinence with their children. (6) There shall be no effort in either an abstinence-only or an abstinence-plus curriculum to teach that abortion can be used to prevent the birth of a baby. (7) At all times when sex-related education is discussed or taught, boys and girls shall be separated according to gender into different classrooms, sex-related education instruction may not be conducted when boys and girls are in the company of any students of the opposite gender. (8) This section shall stand repealed on July 1, 2021
School-Based Prevention Education
This webpage provides information and resources about "abstinence-only" and abstinence-plus or "comprehensive" education programs. The Mississippi Department of Education Office of Healthy Schools and Mississippi School Board Association developed sample abstinence-only and abstinence-plus policies that school districts can use when developing their health and sexual education programs.