Parents nervous about having “the talk” with their children may find solace in a Hays CISD panel that’s geared toward them.
Hays CISD continued its “Girl Talk, Boy Talk” panels on sexuality for a fifth year, inviting students and parents to ask questions regarding sexuality.
The Girl Talk panel event took place on Nov. 8 and 54 student and parents attended the event. The Boy Talk panel took place Nov. 14.
“I love the program,” said Macie Walker, RN and Director of Student Health Services for Hays CISD. “It’s a lot of work and it’s such a valuable tool.”
Walker said the goal of the panel is to help parents initiate conversations about sexuality with accurate and age appropriate information so parents can have further discussions with their children at home while maintaining their own values.
The Girl Talk/Boy Talk panel was first implemented in response to a local survey of sexual activity among students in Hays CISD in 2012.
According to the 2012 survey, 51.2 percent of students in Hays admitted to having sexual intercourse at least once in their lifetime, which was higher than the state average of 45.9 percent and the national average of 46.8 percent.
However, that number has steadily gone down over the years.
“The number has been decreasing,” said Walker. “It could be possibly multi-faceted but we like to think the panel is helping our kids make better, educated decisions.”
Each panel is comprised of three experts from different fields who are sent questions from text messages during the panel.
For Boy Talk, the all male panel includes a physician, a spiritual adviser and a counselor, while the Girl Talk portion has an all female panel consisting of an obstetrician, a counselor and spiritual advisor.
Reverend Karen Thomson, who leads the Metropolitan Community Church of Austin, has been the spiritual advisor for Girl Talk since its inception.
“I don’t approach the panel as any authority or official spokesman for a religion,” said Reverend Thomson. “Rather, I encourage people to engage their own religious leaders on the subject of sexuality.”
Thomson said the topic of sexuality is an important topic to engage in for clergy and that she was happy to help with such an important issue.
“I believe the program is wonderful,” said Reverend Thomson, “As a religious leader this is one of my favorite and one of the most important events I’ve participated in.”
Walker said that while the panelist do make a point to speak on common subjects such as puberty and development, the individuals and their questions mainly drive the event.
She also stated that feedback from parents has mostly been positive, however some parents seem skeptical as to what the panel actually entails.
“It’s been positive,” said Walker. “We try to set the stage and it can be awkward at first, however multiple parents will come up and say how awesome this was.”
Teen Sexual Activity Statistics
- Have you ever had sexual intercourse?
US 2015: 41.2%
US 2013: 46.8%
Texas 2013: 45.9%
Hays 2016: 41.8%
Hays 2014: 43.5%
Hays 2012: 51.2%
- Had you had sexual intercourse for the first time before age 13?
US 2015: 3.9%
US 2013: 5.6%
Texas 2013 :5.2%
Hays 2016: 6%
Hays 2014: 8.6%
Hays 2012: 11.2%
- Had you had sexual intercourse with four or more persons (during your life)?
US 2015: 11.5%
US 2013: 15.0%
Texas 2013: 14.9%
Hays 2016: 10.7%
Hays 2014: 12.2%
Hays 2012: 15.1%
- Did you not use any method to prevent pregnancy? (during last sexual intercourse, among students who were currently sexually active)
US 2015: 13.8%
US 2013: 14.7%
Texas 2013: NA
Hays 2016: 20.1%
Hays 2014: 4%
Hays 2012: NA
Information courtesy of the Hays CISD