OK, we get it: Sex education makes a lot of people nervous. And it turns out it may also make them spineless. The Cumberland County school board collapsed like a house of cards Tuesday when four speakers stood before the members and urged them to kill the "Get Real" sex-education program begun last year in the county's middle schools. There were no complaints about the program last year, although a few parents had opted their kids out of it.

This year, a few more voices were raised against the program, despite the fact that studies have shown that after completing it, students were 15 to 16 percent less likely to have sex. In other words, it was successful in fostering the abstinence that most parents say they want as a goal of sex education.

Unfortunately, it also talks realistically about sex and the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, and some parents found that unacceptable. But any objective person who measures the worth of a program by its results would have to conclude that "Get Real" is effective.

And isn't that what we want in a sex-education curriculum — a program that delays students' sexual activity and helps continue the downward trend in teen pregnancies, as well as reducing STDs?  It should be. But the program also has to be devoid of controversy, at least for our school board. And that's unfortunate.