Babies Having Babies: Why Sex Education is Needed.
Do you remember your first crush? How about the butterflies in your stomach every time they walked by? Wishing they would see you in hallway and maybe say hello. Every adolescent goes through this crucial period in his or her life. That is why middle schools and high schools in California need to teach Comprehensive Sex Education Programs. Comprehensive Sex Education provides complete, accurate, positive and developmentally appropriate information on human sexuality.
Many teens are faced with questions about why their body is changing and why they feel as they do. Many parents are afraid to talk to their children about sex and their changing bodies. Leaving teens unaware of the consequences of sex. That is why I propose that all California public schools teach comprehensive sex education twice, once when an adolescent is in middle school and then once again while in high school. California recognizes the important role that schools can play in protecting the sexual health of young people. Since “1992, the state has required all public schools to teach HIV/AIDS prevention education”(Burlingame). But the State still doesn’t require a complete sex education experience to students.
Because of this, many school are teaching different things. Some students learn about abstinence and decision making while other school’s emphasize sexual transmitted disease’s, totally ignoring issues like what a healthy relationships is or contraceptives and condoms. In California “71% of all middle schools omit to teach about contraceptives, condom effectiveness, or abstinence,” all extremely important topics in sex education (Burlingame). Even when schools are providing information on sexual transmitted disease’s and pregnancy to students, many of the school information are out of date (Brener). 31% of all California schools teaching sex education are using the same curriculum from eight years prior (Brener). A school even incorrectly stated that the state mandates that the schools are not allowed to teach the students about condoms and contraceptives (Brener).
Some schools are so uninformed that they are not even aware of the sex education laws already in place by the State of California. Because of these misconceptions and complete neglect to some of the topics, many students are finding themselves completely unaware of the consequences from unprotected sex. Guttmacher Institute, a institute advancing in sexual and reproductive health through research and public education, reported that because of the low number of informed teens, recent statistics show that over one million teenage girls become pregnant each year (Brener). It is no wonder teens are becoming pregnant when “only 49% of students receive information of how to put a condom on correctly” (Burlingame). Along with only 62% of schools teaching the difference between HIV and AIDS (Burlingame).
It is fundamental for teens to receive correct and accurate sexual information in order to keep them safe. Many opponents to mandating comprehensive sex education in California schools say that they might not want their child learning some of things being taught. As part of the proposal, all students are sent home with a parent consent form. This form will state in extensive detail what is to be taught to their student during their experience. If any parent feels they do not want their child learning something, the child can be taken out of the class for a specific day or not participate in any of the program. This proposal is not meant to take away parents rights but instead to keep their children safe. Even though there are a few number of parents that wish to keep their adolescents out of the programs, many agree to a complete comprehensive sex education program.
In fact parents all around the country are supporting comprehensive sex education. Parents across the nation are reported to be for a good informative sex education program. Studies show that “69% of parents supported teaching about proper use of condoms” (Brener). The parents of teens want their children to be safe. Parents understand the consequences of a poor sex education programs in their schools. To make sure that student obtain and remember the information being taught it is imperative that comprehensive sex education be taught at least twice, once when in middle school and again in high school. Not only does how many times it is taught matter but also the length of the programs. Research has shown that effective sex education programs last at least 14 hours (Brener).
According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy: “Generally speaking, short-term curriculum … do not have measurable impact on the behavior of teens” (Burlingame). It is extremely important to embed the information in the students’ young minds. Most schools do not have an entire class dedicated to sex education. If that’s the case sex education programs should be addressed in a health, science or physical education class. That way the topics included in comprehensive sex education fit around the overall concept or idea of the class. A way to help pay for these programs is to increase state sales tax by .03 percent. Most Californians wont even notice the difference when buying an item. But this slight increase can dramatically change the way California sex education programs are run.
Teens need to be taught a comprehensive sex education program while in school in order to ensure the sexual safety of teens in California. The government is taking action to promote these programs in schools. Families support comprehensive sex education all across the nation. If the people want to see a change in the pregnancy rate and STD’s among teens then teaching them comprehensive sex education is the way to go. It keeps teenagers safe and helps them understand the consequences of sex.
Burlingame, Phyllidia. “Sex Education I Public Schools.” Aclunc. N.p., Aug. 2003. Web. 04 Apr. 2013.
Brener, Nancy D. “School Health Profiles.” Center for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., June 2012. Web. 06 Apr. 2013.