The Importance of Sex Education in Public Schools

The Importance of Sex Education in Public Schools

Sarah Alsagir , Staff Writer

To send the year off on a strong note in biology here at Wheat Ridge High, we are diving into the subject of sex education. As opposed to our school, a lot of schools don’t teach sex education past the “Growing and Changing” unit in fifth grade and if they do teach it, it usually isn’t a requirement. A lot of people don’t realize how important comprehensive sex education is to modern-day kids and young adults.

When it comes to the conversation of whether or not sex education should be taught in public schools, most parents and pretty much all educators think sex education is important and should be taught, but a lot of students in the United States aren’t getting the sex education they need. Modern-day teenagers are far more sexually active compared to teenagers in say the 1980s. If sexual activity among teens is advancing, sex education should as well. 

Sex education is critical when it comes to preventing sexually transmitted diseases. According to the ACLU article “Campaigns to Undermine Sexuality Education in Public Schools”, “Every year, nearly one million teenage girls become pregnant in the U.S., and about 80% of those pregnancies are unintended. Rates of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS infection, are on the rise among teenagers.” These aren’t just random numbers someone thought up to scare people, these are studied statistics. Creating a more thorough and comprehensive sex education course in schools across the nation will help tremendously in reducing this percentage. By giving kids information about sexual resources and helping them build basic skills to aid them in future sexual experiences like practicing safe sex and planned parenthood locations, the United States education system will help a great deal in preventing unplanned pregnancy and STI/STD contraction amongst young adults. 

   As I said previously, most parents and teachers are completely supportive and think comprehensive sex education is a great thing and is very important, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t outliers. As comes with every topic, there are always people against said topic, in this case, the few groups of people that oppose sex education in public schools are conservative and religious groups. I would like to start off by saying, I have nothing against religion or varying political beliefs, we all have a right to believe what we believe. If God, Jesus, Allah, etc. is what you believe in that’s great, no one is stopping you but, ignorance is not bliss when it comes to sexual knowledge.

 One of the biggest arguments opposing sex education in schools is, rather than teaching kids “how to do it and not get caught” which by the way isn’t how sex is taught at school, schools should be promoting abstinence. The problem with this is just how unrealistic it is especially when it comes from parents. Promoting abstinence isn’t a guaranteed way to stop young people from having sex, it only makes them less knowledgable when they do have sex which simply isn’t safe. That is why teaching safe sex is so important. Most religious adults and parents promote abstinence because they are against pre-marital sex, but if today’s young adults never learn about sex, what happens when they decide to settle down? Promoting abstinence doesn’t do any good, it just leaves people ignorant and unprepared for future sexual endeavors. People have to understand that sex isn’t just for the sole purpose of producing offspring; sex is about, love, connection, attraction, revenge, desire, power, gratification, and a million other things as well as the production of offspring. Lack of knowledge and limitation of factual information partnered with naivety and a natural desire for intimacy is a recipe for disaster.

Censorship is another big problem when it comes to comprehensive sex education in schools. A big issue when it comes to this topic is what age youths should be taught sex, most schools say around grades 5-7, from then on throughout high school. I don’t see an issue with this until you bring in the topic of teaching kids and teens about homosexuality as well. When homosexuality is brought into the topic of sex education, it’s like opening up Pandora’s box. Some states in America are GOP (Grand Old Party/Republican party) have been trying to promote/enforce “Don’t Say Gay” laws. According to Gabriel Arana’s article, “The Republic Plot to Ban LGBTQ History in Public Schools,” “Don’t Say Gay” laws either forbid the teaching of LGBTQ history in K-12 schools outright or allow parents to choose whether or not to let their children participate in lessons covering it.” This of course would also apply to sex education programs. Now, I completely disagree with this, not only because it is blatant discrimination, but also because it is just ignorant. If you are pro-sex education but anti-homosexual education in schools, you are no better than the people who don’t want sex education to be taught in schools at all. 

         Cherry-picking the education system because it makes you uncomfortable or you don’t agree with the “lifestyle” is ignorant and frankly homophobic. As comedian Russell Howard says in his Netflix Special Lubricant,” (referring to the school system), “They’re teaching tolerance, not technique!” This is told as a joke, but it’s true. The second some people hear the word “gay” or “homosexual,” they immediately think of the most vulgar, “sinful” things attached to sexuality. 

When it comes to sex education, the intention is never to teach “how to do it, and not get caught” or  “the technicalities of gay sex,” but how to prevent STIs/STDs, unplanned pregnancy, and just to stay safe overall. 

Comprehensive sex education is more important than ever in keeping modern-day teens safe and informed. If the American education system had been more informing and tolerant about safety within the homosexual community, maybe fewer lives would have been lost during the 1980s AIDS epidemic. Let’s not repeat history.