The Optimist

World Sexual Health Day: Sex ed in schools

Lilly Thomas, Staff Writer/Photographer

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Our generation has the most access to free information about sexual health than ever before, yet the Center for Disease Control recently reported that sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise for the fourth year in a row. Sexual education in health class, although almost universally hated, is one of the foremost experiences where teenagers are introduced to safe sex… or not. Sex education in schools differs from state to state, county to county even school to school, and many schools still advise their students to practice abstinence and do not provide any other information or resources. This, according to a study published by the Journal of Adolescent Health, has a negative impact on students and areas that only teach an Abstinence Only Until Marriage curriculum “have higher rates of pregnancy, teen births and chlamydia infections.”

While South has historically taught fairly comprehensive and inclusive sexual education by many standards, Indiana law states that that sex ed is not required and, if taught, does not have to be medically accurate. Of all 50 states, Indiana has some of the fewest and most constricting laws pertaining to educating students on sexual health, as shown in a 2017 study done by the Guttmacher Institute. To add insult to injury, a new Indiana law was signed this year that requires students to have signed permission slips in order for them to partake in a sexual education unit in their school’s health class. This makes it much more difficult for students to gain access to sexual education (legitimate or otherwise).

In order to fully prepare students for their lives, schools have a moral obligation to provide medically accurate and unbiased sexual education to students, especially because 40-50% , according to the CDC and the Advocates for Youth organization, of American high schoolers are sexually active. Depriving teenagers of a comprehensive sexual education curriculum that includes emphasis on contraception, consent, sexuality etc. will only continue to cause the rates of STD’s and unplanned teenage pregnancies to rise. Ignoring the needs of students and their health not only stigmatizes the way that we think about sex, it is potentially dangerous as well.

For more information about teenage sexual health visit: 

Planned Parenthood

Advocates for Youth

Adolescent Health

 

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About the Writer
Lilly Thomas, Staff Photographer/Social Media Manager

Catch me sending bitmojis to your girl.

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World Sexual Health Day: Sex ed in schools