Comprehensive Sex Education should be Mandatory in U.S Public Schools
It is extremely important that people are educated on the topic of sexual health. It would be best for teenagers to get this education while they are in school, as it is the best opportunity for adolescents to access formal information. Even though many believe that is highly inappropriate and unnecessary, there is no denying that teens receiving professional education about sexual wellness is a positive thing. Sexual education will help reduce the risk of negative outcomes, teach the importance of STD/STI’s, and better prepare young people to make good choices. First of all, sexual health classes in public schools will help reduce the risk of negative outcomes for young people.
For example, teen pregnancy is very common. Each year, U.S teens experience as many as 850,000 pregnancies. Some parents may believe that these classes will just raise the numbers because they will simply “encourage students to have sex”. This isn’t necessarily true, as comprehensive sex education encourages teens to have safe sex’, providing them with information on contraceptives. European Countries, such as Germany and France, have mandated sexual education programs for students 13 years and older. It’s been proven to be highly effective compared to abstinence-only programs in the U.S, while France’s teenage birth rate is three times lower. Germany’s teenage birth rate is three and a half times lower than the U.S, as its sex education programs’ goal is to meet the reading and developmental needs of the students. (planned parenthood.org). These countries believe that students should have balanced and realistic sex education programs – why can’t the U.S provide the same? In fact, the importance of STD/STI’s taught in public school systems is also absolutely necessary.
More than three-quarters of teens in the U.S, aged 15-17, report that they need more information about HIV/AID’s, and other sexually transmitted infections. A third are unaware that having a sexually transmitted infection increases the risk of getting HIV (planned parenthood.org). Many parents only support the fact that STD’s are acceptable to be taught in schools because they also support the abstinence-only programs. Abstinence-only programs will use STD’s, teen pregnancy, and shame to scare’ the students instead of giving them basic knowledge on the subject. “comprehensive sex education, which emphasizes the benefits of abstinence while also teaching about contraception and disease-prevention methods, has been proven to reduce rates of teen pregnancy and STD infection.” (Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) Under those circumstances, comprehensive sex education will help young people develop skills so that they make informed choices about their behavior and feel competent about acting on these choices (blogs.edweek.org). As I’ve mentioned before, sex education groups would be thought of as “unnecessary and inappropriate”.
Conservative or religious parents would mainly agree with that statement, believing that the topic of the birds and the bees’ should be left up to them to discuss with their children. “82% of parents have talked to their children about topics relating to sexuality. However, when it comes to tougher, more complicated topics, many adolescents are not getting the support they need to delay sex and prevent pregnancy”. (planned parenthood.org). For this reason, it is important that parents leave it to medically accurate, and professional programs to discuss topics, such as contraception, saying no (refusal skills), and consent. To summarize, comprehensive sex-education programs in public schools are very important because It will reduce the risk of many negative outcomes. Students would learn about STD/AID’s and how to prevent these serious diseases. They would also develop skills, with the help of medically accurate sex education programs, to feel more confident with the choices they make in the future. The U.S public school system should give their students the opportunity to learn more about sexual health, it would be a great disservice to the children if they didn’t.