Erica Clark, a nurse in the Meridian Public School System, says school officials are dealing with the problem of teenagers having sex.
"What we have is an abstinence program that we've incorporated in seventh grade that teaches seventh graders how to make better decisions when approached with sexual activity," said Clark. "We also have a program in the fifth grade that teaches what we call puberty which teaches the kids about their bodies."
Statistics show kids as young as age 12 can and do become sexually active. NewsCenter 11 asked Clark if that is a result of their glands maturing or is it peer pressure?
"It has a lot to do with both," said Clark. "Of course, peer pressure is something students have to deal with and I think some of them don't think before they act and make the wrong decision. I think they think that they're invincible a lot of time and invulnerable to things that can occur and they're risk- takers. And they don't mind taking those risks and I think that's usually what happens. They don't think of the consequences of their actions."
In studies of the problem, experts agree early sex is common.
"We've found that most kids are starting to have sex between the eighth and ninth grades," said Clark.
She said again, it's peer pressure and hormones. Meridian gynecologist Dr. Ronnye Purvis said it is more than just that.
"In areas of our community where a lot of kids feel as though there are no dreams and they have no way out, it doesn't matter," said Dr. Purvis. "So what's important for us is to get into those kinds of communities and explain to them that it does matter. They have to be shown there's options other than just having children."