PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi now leads the nation in teen pregnancies, but one high school in Jackson County is trying to put the put the breaks on the baby boom.
Resurrection High School, along with the group "Promises," is offering students a 10 week program teaching the benefits of waiting to have sex. An open, honest dialog between students is an important part of the learning process.
"We talk about guy and girl relationships, we talk about pregnancies, and we do talk about sexually transmitted diseases," abstinence instructor Jennifer Williams said.
Williams believes these kinds of conversations are important, considering Mississippi's high number of teenage pregnancies. A report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts Mississippi's teen birth rate 60 percent higher than the national average in 2006. That's 68 teen births per thousand.
"It is a different world than it is was 20 years ago. Half of the U.S. population that has had sex is either carrying a sexually transmitted disease, or they have had one at some point in their life. It is really scary, and we need to address it."
The teachers say it's hard to preach abstinence to kids when sex is so pervasive in pop culture. But they say they won't stop fighting the battle.
"You can't be blind and think your children are not going to see and hear these things. But I think you discuss with them, what do they think?" Tracy Roth said.
As a devoted parent, Dr. Tracy Roth applauds the school for being proactive, and hopes the state will also open its wallet to help curb the growing problem.
"I think state funding is a wonderful idea. The states can chose where they want to pay, on the front-end or the back-end. Right now, the state is paying heavily on the back end," Roth said.