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Update: Abstinence-Only School Didn't Really Have a Chlamydia Outbreak

The Short of It

Last week, parents of students at Crane High School in Texas received an alarming letter that said 20 cases of chlamydia were diagnosed among its 300 students. But now, the superintendant says that was a mistake. There were only three in the entire county.

The Lowdown

After the letter went home, there was quite a stir in the media and then the community. Parents and teachers say their kids have had to deal with negative attention from people in surrounding towns, and there's been conflict within the school.

"Some of our kids even started being mean to each other placing blame without any facts," band director Daniel Todd told

But the Texas Department of State Health Services reported that there have only been three reported cases of chlamydia in Crane County, which has a population of about 3,000—so not really an outbreak.

School superintendent Jim Rumage admits he made an error in the initial letter. Twenty students had been tested for Chlamydia, but not necessarily received positive results.

"Evidently, they had tested a lot of people, but they didn't have any confirmation back, and we misunderstood what it was, and I was just trying to be proactive," he said.

The Upshot

The school's abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum was immediately called into question after the original letter went home, and a new plan still will be considered by the school board on May 19.

In the meantime, parents and teens are coping with the negative repercussions of the national attention the school's been given. They're using #liftingupcrane on social media to show solidarity.

"Now, the town and students are trying to rally around each other saying, 'This isn't true, and we're going to stick together,'" says Todd. "It's been a very painful process."

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