Local sex education addresses all threats

This letter is in response to the story about drug-resistant gonorrhea and sexual-health education in Durango schools (Herald, Dec. 11.)

As health educators, we would like to clarify any misconceptions. Durango School District 9-R provides comprehensive health education to all students in kindergarten through high school.

District 9-Rís health-education program is based on Colorado Comprehensive Health Education Standards and uses best practices, skill-building activities and evidence-based resources whenever possible.

This standards-based curriculum includes age-appropriate physical and personal-health education topics including self-esteem and body image at the lower elementary grades, puberty and body changes at upper elementary and in-depth instruction about sexual health at the middle and high school levels.

District 9-R uses the evidence-based sexual-health program called Safer Choices at grades eight and nine. Safer Choices is an abstinence-based program and promotes abstinence as the safest method to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Contrary to the statement made in the Heraldís article, Safer Choices does address the risks of disease transmission via unprotected vaginal, anal and oral sexual intercourse.

Safer Choices also has a family component to promote and facilitate family communication around sexual health. District 9-R works closely with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Inc. and San Juan Basin Health Department to ensure the delivery of accurate information to our students so they can make the best choices for their health.

Jenny Pritchard and Linda Herz, District 9-R, health educators