It's been a fight to try and get age appropriate, comprehensive sex education approved in some school classrooms around the country. But as more people are beginning to see the logic in preventing teen pregnancies and STIs, could the tide finally be changing?
A Montana resident puts forth an eloquent argument for sex ed in school classrooms, reasoning that educating children is not the same as promoting sex. From the Helena Independent Record:
Why do we sometimes confuse providing information about a subject with promotion of undesirable behavior?
Surely it is obvious that educating children and adolescents appropriately about guns, drugs, finance, alcohol, driving or family dynamics is not advocacy for gun violence, illicit drug use, indebtedness, intoxication, reckless driving or divorce. Ignorance about these subjects can certainly contribute to those undesirable consequences, however.
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Unfortunately, some in our community continue to believe that education about sexuality will promote undesirable outcomes. Sex education has been so confused with sex advocacy that some parents believe any formal education on this subject will produce socially unacceptable, illegal, anti-religious or disease-promoting personal behaviors.
In reality, information about human sexuality (including reproductive physiology, sexually transmitted diseases and psychological issues related to sexual behavior) can dispel dangerous myths, reduce abuse and prevent illnesses. Human sexuality education is the basis for decreasing, not causing, pernicious sex-related behaviors.
And in Utah, Stan Penfold, executive director of the Utah AIDS Foundation, brings up yet another reason why sex ed in schools is necessary -- it can save the lives of homosexual teens. Via QSalt Lake News:
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“It’s a huge concern and a significant challenge,” Penfold said. “Young men are becoming sexually active before we have any chance to interact with them. They are sexually active in high school and they are not looking to gay organizations and such.”
Penfold said that current Utah law restricts even the mention of homosexuality in any kind of positive light in the classroom.
“They are not going to bars or social groups. They are hooking up online,” Penfold said. “It becomes a really incredible challenge to get to them — especially if they are under 20.”
“People need to start demanding comprehensive sex education in schools,” he said. “We need a bigger, full-community response. Any encounter with a gay youth needs to have a talk about their safety and safer sex.”
Meanwhile, in Arkansas, some schools are learning a lesson from the rise in teen pregnancies, and are introducing comprehensive sex ed in the classrooms -- including discussions about contraception. According to My Eyewitness News:
The current curriculum guidelines do not mention teaching students about contraception. Parents like Jocelyn Johnson are glad that’s about to change. “Strap it up and plus, you got to look after what’s going to come after…the consequences.”
Classes are on the way to teach teens to wrap it up in Arkansas, since the state has a bad rap when it comes to teen pregnancies. “We have a big problem here in Arkansas Ed Barham tells myEyewitnessNews.com. Barham is the spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Health. “Our teen birth rate was 62.3 per 1000 live births.” The national average is 41.9 per 1000 live births. Barham says Arkansas is near the bottom.
Sex Education courses in Arkansas originally focused on abstinence only, but due to a shortage in federal funding, and an increase in teen births, state officials have now chosen a different route. “We are aware that there are organizations that may be disappointed,” says Barham.