Florida sex education debate: abstinence-only or comprehensive?

WMNF photo: Tampa Tiger Bay Club debate on Florida sex education

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When students in Florida schools are taught about sex, should it be from a comprehensive sex education curriculum or should it be abstinence-only?

On Friday the Tampa Tiger Bay Club hosted a conversation about sex education in schools. As you can expect, the discussion gets pretty heated.

Hillsborough County Public Schools are testing a sex education curriculum in certain schools.

One panelist is a conservative activist who is fighting against it because it doesn’t exclusively teach abstinence-only. The other four are health experts who say that instead of abstinence-only, a more comprehensive sex education curriculum has better health outcomes.

These are the five panelists:

Damaris Allen is the president of the Hillsborough County Council PTA / PTSA

Ashlee Cappucci is physical education supervisor for K-12 in Hillsborough Schools and helped prepare the sex education curriculum.

Paola Ferst is Planned Parenthood outreach educator for Sarasota / Manatee.

Dr. Linsey Grove is an instructor in health sciences at USF St. Pete.

Terry Kemple is president of Community Issues Council. They have a website called Protect Pasco Children.

Kemple was critical of one guide for Hillsborough teachers, “This is the resource guide that’s to be inclusive to everyone except whose values don’t include acknowledging LGBTQ.” He got some applause and some jeers from the audience, as well as a follow-up question to what that means.

“There are people who don’t believe in the whole ‘homosexual agenda’ spectrum mentality. There are people who don’t believe that that’s appropriate. Especially not in school. Not to be teaching out kids to accept — to talk about — those issues, Kemple said.”

Here’s a link to the full MidPoint program.

Listen to the full debate here:

Watch part 1 here:

Watch part 2 here:


At the beginning of the show, we played a voicemail left by a listener after last week’s show. It was Veterans Day and we played part of a speech by President Trump. The caller was critical of Trump’s treatment of veterans.