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Sex Education in the Classroom

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    Sex education in the classroom is very important in today’s society. Jones (2009) stated that “America has fallen victim to a plague of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s) and teen pregnancy, and there is only one way to dig ourselves out of this hole: sex education”. With teenage pregnancy rates higher than ever and the realistic threat of the contraction of STD’s, such as HIV, the role of sex education in the school is of greater importance now then ever before. By denying children sex education you are in a sense sheltering them from the cruel realities they are bound to encounter.

    Sex education is an important health strategy and this cannot be denied, it is an essential part of the curriculum and by removing any information provided by this we will be putting our children in danger. Girls and boys go through major changed during the teenage years, they have major changes in their bodies that most of the time needs explaining. Teenagers who have formal sex education are more likely to delay their first sexual encounter. Sex education can help children to deal with the physical and behavioral changes that they are going through. A good example is when a female gets her first menstruation and the uneasiness she may feel.

    If this girl had been taught about these changes prior to it happening, then she will be better to accept and understand it and it would be greatly enhanced. The physical and behavioral changes all begin without warning and a child needs to know why these changes are occurring Students should be taught about all parts of their bodies and how and why it works the way it does. Learning and understanding about how their body works is a important part any person’s life and the ability to gain this knowledge should not be removed. They should be taught about abstinence, how to abstain from sex until marriage.

    They need to know how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases such as, HIV, aids, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV, herpes and many others. They must be taught how to use birth control effectively such as, birth control pills, condoms, the patch, IUD and many others. Drug and alcohol abuse should be discussed to, as these are things that can contribute to sexual activity. Teenagers begin to experience sexual urges because of their hormones at the beginning of puberty. It’s not something that can be controlled or that someone else can control like a parent or teacher. It is a part of puberty that everyone goes through in their younger years.

    This is the time when teenagers begin to start experimenting. They begin to explore their bodies and are curious about the bodies of other people. Students need the support from schools to know they have somewhere to go for advice if they do not feel comfortable talking with their parents. When attending sex education classes the students are taught about different methods of contraception, including abstinence. By teaching the students about the STD’s they can contract and then about the many types of contraception’s they can use, the chance of contraceptives being used is greatly increased.

    Many schools have recently have begun to distribute condoms to students in their schools hoping to encourage students to practice safe sex. Parents are also encouraged to discuss sex education with their children. Home is where it should begin, if children sense their parent’s uneasiness to talk about it, then they will be more likely to get their information from someone unreliable. All schools should have at least one program dedicated to sex education. The Australian (2007) states that, “teenage boys who had sex education in school were 71 percent less likely to have intercourse before 15.

    For teenage girls, the figure was 59 per cent”. Along with teaching contraceptives to students it is very important that information of STD’s are also taught. Currently, out of all age groups, teenagers have the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases, with one in four sexually active teens becoming infected with an STD every year. Included in the STD category is the HIV virus, which is spreading at alarming rates among our teenage population. It is believed that at least thirteen percent of people infected with HIV every year are teenagers.

    Currently, 20 states and the District of Columbia mandate sex and HIV education; another 12 states only mandate HIV education, Guttmacher Institute [20]. Teachers are the best persons to help educate students with the correct information on the many different types of sexually transmitted diseases that can be contracted in the world today. False information about how you can and cannot contract diseases, symptoms of and treatments of STDs, and preventative measures are sorted out and students receive the accurate information about sexually transmitted diseases.

    Protection of our children from sexually transmitted diseases should definitely start at home but in the classroom is where it should be guaranteed that the correct and important information will be provided to them. Teenage Pregnancy is very common in today’s society. The cause of pregnancies among most of these teenagers is incorrect education about sex from peers or neighbors or no sex education at all. If these students were educated from the beginning of high school with a sexual education class, the outcome might have been different.

    This does not mean that these teens would not have experimented with sexual intercourse or the opposite sex, but they might have been better prepared to deal with the decisions or choices that they made. Sex education needs to be implemented in the high school coursework to make teenagers or pre-teens aware of the consequences of unprotected sex. Each of these teens or preteens will or have already gone through puberty, and they need to be well educated as to what can happen if they are sexually active, even if it just one time. Sexual education will never stop teenage pregnancies but it can indeed reduce them.

    Teenagers want to have a say in sex education, and by denying teenagers sexual education, schools are putting them endanger. By teaching teens the facts about sex, they feel a sense of maturity because it’s a mature topic and they are fully aware of that. Students get the feeling that the adults in their lives feel that they are responsible enough to learn about this topic, therefore, bringing on more of a response and responsibility from teenagers. They know they are being treated as adults so they are going to pay more attention to what they are being taught and then trusted to act as adults and carry out what they have learned.

    Teenagers appreciate it when adults treat them as equals, and are more likely to respond better to this than to being treated as a child. Sexual education should begin at home. Parents and guardians should be the primary teachers of sex education for their children. Everday, parents should take advantage of an opportunity to teach this subject to their children. From the start of a child’s life, they learn how to respond to affection, show love, and how to react in different types of relationships.

    Parents can teach their children to learn about their sexuality by doing simple things, changing their clothes, playing with them or teaching them about their body parts. As they grow from children to teenagers to adolescents they will continue to learn about their own sexuality consistently. There are however, many parents and guardians who are very uncomfortable about talking about or providing information about sex or sex education. They feel too embarrassed or even afraid to talk about the sensitive topic of sex, afraid of providing too much information or not enough nformation and worried about pushing their children to act on what they have told them or even too shy of not knowing the answers to the questions that their children might ask. Parents need to have an honest, open communication with their children through childhood, pre-teen, adolescent and young adulthood, so they can help young people to become healthy, mature adults. It has been shown that parents and children have a lot of discomfort levels when it comes to discussing sexuality. . Even though it seems that sex education can do no wrong, there are many opponents of it, including many parents that are still against it in our schools.

    There are many reasons why people feel like this, two of which are they feel as if sex education does no good at all and another is that people feel that it is influencing students to have sex. Many feel that abstinence only should be taught in our schools. In conclusion, we must realize the importance of sex education being taught in high school to students. They need to know the importance of using contraceptives and other ways to prevent STD’s or pregnancy. With proper education and the help of parents and teachers we can ensure that all teens know their options and what risks they are taking.

    References Jones Jim. J (2009) The importance of sex, education online helium http://www. helium. com/items/1464830-sex-education-abstinence-only-std-sexually-transmitted-disease-teen-pregnancy Guttmacher Institute, Sex and STD/HIV education, State Policies in Brief, August 2011, , accessed Aug 18, 2011. G. W. Woo (2011) Factors affecting sex education in the school system, Journal of pediatric and adolescent gynecology 24(3), pg 142-146 The Australlian (2007) Sex education classes delay first encounter, LexisNexis Academic first edition, pg 7.

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