In today's society there is an on going debate over sex education and its influence on our children. "The question is no longer should sex education be taught, but rather how it should be taught" (DeCarlo). With teenage pregnancy rates higher than ever and the imminent 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 harsh realities they are bound to encounter. Sex education has become an essential part of the curriculum and by removing the information provided by this class we'll be voluntarily putting our children in danger.
During the teenage years every boy and girl undergo major changes in the body that most of the time need explaining. This underscores one of the most evident reasons for sexual education being taught to students. Sex education can help children to cope with the many changes caused by the onset of puberty. One such example is a female's first menstruation and the uneasiness they feel. If this girl had been informed of this change prior to its onset, then her ability to accept and understand it would be greatly enhanced. Hormonal and physical changes in the body begin without warning and a child needs to know why these changes are occurring.
Students are taught about the anatomy of the human body and how and why it works the way it does. Knowing and understanding how ones body works is a fundamental part any persons life and ability to gain this knowledge should not be removed.
At the beginning of puberty hormones start rushing and all teenagers begin to experience sexual urges. It's not something anyone, including a parent or teacher, can control. It's a natural function of the body and has been since the beginning of time. With this hormone rush comes experimentation among teenagers. They begin to explore their bodies along with the bodies of other people. "You can't prevent teenagers from having sex, no matter what you preach. If students are having sex they might as well do it the safe way. It's a way for schools to show that they actually care," says Shauna Ling-Choung (qt. Richardson "When sex_" B1). Students need the support from schools to know they have somewhere to go for the good or bad. With sex education classes the students are taught about various methods of contraception, including abstinence. By teaching the students about the many types of contraception, the chance of contraceptives being used is greatly increased. Many schools have recently begun programs to distribute condoms to students in their schools in order to hopefully increase the use of condoms. A recent study shows that the availability of condoms in schools did in fact increase condom use. Condom access is a "low-cost harmless addition" to our current sex education programs (Richardson "Condoms in_" B8). When thinking of sex education for our children, the cliché, "better safe than sorry" should immediately come to mind.
Along with teaching contraceptives to students the vital 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 young people contracting and STD by the age of twenty-one (DeCarlo). 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 twenty percent of new patients with AIDS were infected during their teenage or early adult years." And still some school leaders are trying to remove our best means of prevention of the disease: sex education (Roye 581) Teachers are able to educate students with the correct information on the...
Cited: Washington Post 14 June. 1997: B8.
Washington Post. 2 May. 1997: A1
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