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    Heather Faber, a student at Fayetteville State University, is the first to admit that when she was a teen she didn’t talk about sex with her parents. {mosimage}
    “We talked amongst our friends. Nobody wanted to talk to their parents about sex,” she said. “And I can’t even remember what we heard about sex in class.”
Faber believes this knowledge vacuum is leaving America’s teens in a lurch. On Tuesday, April 29, she and some of her schoolmates at FSU are putting the topic on the table for discussion by the community at the Let’s Talk About Sex Community wide Forum.
    The idea for the forum came about after the group’s policy class researched the Abstinence Only Sex Education curriculum that is currently in place throughout North Carolina.
    “The Abstinence Only curriculum isn’t working,” said Faber, citing the upswing of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases across the state.
    The group decided that a good place to start affecting a change was within its own community, so they planned the forum.
    “We aren’t crusading to do away with Abstinence Only, because obviously, teenagers should not be having sex, but we think they need to know how to protect themselves if they are. Our country is spending millions of dollars on teen pregnancies,” she said.
    The forum, which will feature N.C. Representative Rick Glazier, will present the current curriculum along with the statistics; then, attendees will be break into small groups to discuss the issue.
    “We want to have school administrators, social workers, parents and teens,” she said. “Then we want them to discuss these issues and talk about what they think should be taught. We want to hear everybody’s voice because this is too important, we can’t just sweep it under the rug.”
    The group has its own ideas about what they think should be taught. Faber said first and foremost, abstinence should be the central theme. But that should be coupled with information. “We don’t want to teach them to have sex, but if they are, they need to know about STDs and contraceptives,” she said. “But it remains a parent’s choice. Parents can opt out of that portion if they do not think their children are mature enough to talk about it.”
    Faber faults the current program with providing faulty statistics.
    “When they talk about condoms, they only talk about their failure rates — not what they prevent,” she said. “The message is ‘Don’t have sex, if you do, you are going to get pregnant and get an STD.’ We are not giving them valid options, and the truth is, a lot of these kids are already having sex. If you’re going to teach condoms, teach effectiveness — not just failure.”
    Faber said that most teens don’t think about the repercussions of sex.
“They don’t think about how an unplanned pregnancy will affect their whole life,” she continued. “That one act can stop them from becoming who they are supposed to be. They might have to drop out of school, which will result in their inability to get a good job, which may lead to them getting on welfare. Armed with knowledge, they won’t make the mistake of getting pregnant in high school.
    “Definitiely 14, 15, 15, 17 and 18-year-olds don’t need to have sex,” she said. “They are not mature enough to handle that kind of relationship. Even at 24, some people aren’t.”
    “We invite anybody and everybody to come out — not to talk about sex, but about sex education,” she said. “We aren’t encouraging teens to have sex, but rather a fact-based curriculum that teaches abstinence plus safe sex.”
    The forum, held in Shaw Auditorium in the Business and Economics Building, will begin at 6 p.m. and is open to the public. Organizers hope parents will come with their teens. Representatives of Planned Parenthood, as well as the Department of Social Services will also be on hand.
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