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Sex Education in the School Ssytem

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Sexual Education in the School Systems

 

Today, sexual education must be an important subject in the high school, and maybe even the junior high school, curriculum. Many young teenagers are learning about sex from the wrong outlets, many learn from the television, which makes them unable to make informed, educated decisions about their sex lives. There was a study published last month in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that abstinence education deters sexual activity in young teens. The same study also showed that students who receive formal sexual education classes wait a little longer to have sex and are more likely to use contraceptives (Pappas). The decision whether to allow sex education classes to be taught in school system is a continuing dilemma. I believe that with appropriate sex education classes, students can make more informed decisions about having sex, hinder their sexual activity until a mature age, and, ultimately, reduce the growing number of teen pregnancies across the United States. 

Sexual education, also referred to as sexuality education, is “a type of education that imports knowledge and helps to form beliefs and attitudes about sex, sexual relationships, sexual intimacy and sexual identity” (Homemorals). Over the years, many schools have try to start some type of sexual education curriculum in their schools. Typically, there are two types of sex education courses, abstinence-only and comprehensive. The State education departments determine which methods to teach in their state. There are so many pros and cons to sexual education in public schools. According to a 2010 study, so many parents are in favor of sex education than parents who are against it (Essortment). According to that poll, parents say they would rather have their children learn all of the proper terms for diseases and contraceptives rather than slang terms. All the classes are also gender exclusive, so females and males only learn the things that are vital to know based on their own gender. The other pros to sex education in schools include dispelling myths about intercourse and, most importantly, ways to decrease teen pregnancy (Essortment). 

Parents who are against sex education in schools also have a valid, yet somewhat weaker, argument. They state that it can be an embarrassing topic for some of the kids, which may cause disorderly classrooms. They also say that teens will not take the class seriously, and they think it’s a waste of time. This should not be a valid reason as to why classes are not taught. Sex is an uncomfortable subject, but teens are unfortunately, partake in the activity, and therefore, should be able to have open lines of communication with their partner(s). 

Religious and moral values are also a concern when teaching about sex in public schools. Many schools teach how to have intercourse safely, whereas many religious and family values stress the importance of marriage before sex. This creates the problem as to whether the course should be optional for students. If it is optional, though, many teens would not be inclined to take it, and therefore would not get the information they need (Essortment). 

The schools which do implement a sexual education curriculum have, again, two options as what they teach. Comprehensive sexuality education seems like the most preferred choice pertaining to sex education. This program informs student over a broad spectrum of topics, including safe sex practices and contraception options. The abstinence-only curriculum does not talk about contraception, or safe sex; it basically instructs the students not to have sex at all (Witmer). 09 A study was conducted in 2008, which compared the two types of classes, and how the kids whom were enrolled in them acted sexually once they completed them (Pappas). The study found that 25% of the teens who received sex education received abstinence-only education. They also found that 9% of teens in the U.S., particularly in poor and rural areas, received no sex education at all. The other 66% received comprehensive instruction with discussion of birth control (Science News). The teens who received the comprehensive sex education classes were 60% less likely to become pregnant or impregnate someone than teens who received no education at all. An Oxford University professor, Don Operio, stated that this study provides “further compelling evidence” about the value of comprehensive sex education and the “ineffectiveness” of the abstinence-only curriculum approach (Pappas). 

The reason these classes are needed is very clear. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the US has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates among all developed countries, which is twice as high as those of England, Wales and Canada, and eight times as high as those in Japan and the Netherlands (Chen). Teen pregnancy has never been as prevalent as it is today (CDC). According to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control from 2000 through 2010, about 43% of female teenagers, ages 15-19, and about 42% of never-married male teenagers, ages 15-19, had had sexual intercourse at least once. Out of these statistics, only 78% of those females and only 85% of those males used some method of contraception. Out of the females who did not use contraception, 41% stated that they did not use a form of contraception because it was not available and/or they were unaware of contraception (CDC). 

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