The Federal Government has had extra funding for schools that teach sexuality from the abstinence only until marriage. Half of the states in the country have rejected this funding and for good reason. Abstinence only programs, not only don’t work, but tend to do far more harm than good on the youth. Today we’re going to chat about why these probrams are a problem and I intend to propose a new model of teaching sexual education to minors.
Recent figures show that as many as half of teens choose to have sex during high school, for a multitude of reasons (www.kff.org). Clearly teaching abstinence does not prevent teens from engaging in sexual activity. What is does do though, is fail to inform them how to prevent the risks of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy. They are also not taught about the inherent emotional ramifications that come from engaging in sexual activity.
Conservatives argue that if we were to teach our children about sexuality in schools, it would be akin to giving them permission to engage in activities that parents deem inappropriate. The problem here is that teens are already having sex and the rates are not changing overly much with the introduction of abstinence programs. The one thing that is changing is how the youth are going about getting their information. With the advent of the internet, access is readily available, unfortunately also with the advent of the internet, not all of the information is reliable.
When parents aren’t talking to their teens about sex and nor are the schools, they will find other ways to get the information. While I reconize that many families have beleifs about sexuality, religious beliefs should not stand in the way of education. It is the school’s responsibility to give students knowledge and the responsibility of the parents to teach their children what to do with that knowledge.
So, on to my personal proposal on a new method of teaching sex education to middle and high school students.
To start with, sometime around fifth or sixth grade, the boys and girls should be separated and given the talk on how their bodies change in order to prepare to be sexually active. At this age, they are still too immature to have this talk together, but it is vital to explain what is happening to their bodies. A very small amount of time should be spent on pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases but this is not the time to go in to detail. Abstinence only would be a good way to talk to them at this age.
Then, as freshman in high school the “big” talk should be had. Don’t seperate the boys and girls and again go over how each gender’s body works. Not understanding both is, not only silly, but leads to confusion later. This is the time where an in depth conversation should be had about STD’s, symptoms, treatments, and preventions should be discussed. Pregnancy prevention needs to be addressed as well. Talk about the various forms of contraceptives, how they work, failure rates, and alternative options. Abstinence should also be included in the discussion. Finally, a discussion about the emotional side of sex needs to be addressed, explaining that engaging in sexual activity changes a relationship and once you have done it, there is no going back.
The most important thing about this program is to remember that the school exists to teach children and give them information. It is the job of the parents to teach their children the morality that they want them to have.