The Louisiana State Senate Education committee gathered on April 27 to discuss Senate Bill 106. Senator Wesley Bishop created the bill that will require public postsecondary schools to create and implement an action plan to address unplanned pregnancies. It is currently being recommitted to the Finance committee.
Bishop worked in higher education for 25 years before he became a senator. “I have worked at University of Mississippi. I worked at Southern University and in those 25 years in higher education this [unplanned pregnancies] happens a lot.”
Bishop was involved in student affairs and he had the task of approving students to drop out of college. “I often had many young ladies to say that I have to withdraw from school because I am pregnant,” he said. “The responsibility of raising that child often times fall on that young woman and her parents and support system.
If this bill is passed, Bishop would like to see the program implemented during a freshman orientation class. “I think it’s important to talk about your behavior while here on this college campus because the reality is that it doesn’t matter if you have an A in your chemistry class if you can’t show up because you happen to be pregnant.”
The bill states that abstinence education should be incorporated into the student success. A Southeastern survey sent out on May 2 through social media and Southeastern email found that most students enrolled in a postsecondary school would be against teaching abstinence in school. Thirty-four students responded to the survey that contained questions about the proposed bill, if they were students, and if they were male or female.
One of the participants reports in the survey that abstinence is not a reasonable form of prevention at this age and consensual sex should not be punished or demonized.
However, many students state that they would not be opposed to education on safe sex practices.
In the past, the Education committee have proposed bills related to this topic. They have not worked. “Some of the pushback has come from that we’re mandating or that we’re forcing something on people that we should not be legislating,” said Senator Gerald Boudreaux.
Many of the participants agreed that they have an issue with the education system controlling personal decisions.