JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- It's a topic sometimes tough to talk about, but with teen pregnancy on the rise in Arkansas, avoiding "that talk" could result in serious consequences and lifelong responsibilities. In the Nettleton School District, Social Worker, Amy Reed, says they stress the importance of making what she calls positive decisions.
"We start talking about abstinence in the 4th grade and go all the way to the 12th grade. On the first day of school we separated boys and girls, and we really focused on abstinence and self-esteem for our 10th through 12th graders," said Reed.
Reed says she favors teaching abstinence over birth control-- especially to younger children.
"At this young of an age, that's just too big of a decision to make. We want to encourage kids to wait until marriage they're really not, I don't think, mature enough to make those kind of decisions," said Reed.
"Condoms are not 100% effective, birth control is not 100% effective and so many teenagers find that out the hard way," said Kristie Lloyd.
Kristie Lloyd is a community educator for PACES. It's mission is to help parents raise healthy, nurtured children. Lloyd teaches sex education and character development in 9th grade health classes at Jonesboro and Nettleton school districts.
"My goal, as a community educator, is to help teenagers understand the facts. I want them to understand STD's and teen pregnancies are very heavy consequences to have to deal with," said Lloyd.
While Lloyd's program is abstinence based, she does not avoid the topic of contraceptives if students bring it up in the classroom. Lloyd believes teen pregnancy rates will go down when parents become the sex educators.
"Parents should be starting as young as 3 and 4 years old...beginning to open that line of communication," said Lloyd.