Every middle schooler will always remember the day they watched a video of a woman giving birth. At the time, most thought it was disgusting and did not see the point, other than to expose them to the subject, to show a video like that to a class full of 12 year olds. Although it is seen as a menial course often offered by their school, the lack of sex education has proven to be detrimental and would result in more than just unwanted teen pregnancies.
Since the 1980’s when gay pride first started to become more popular in major cities, HIV/AIDS slowly started making its way through the gay community. “The disease spread like wildfire; from New York, to San Francisco, and Los Angeles, more and more gays started coming in with symptoms that uncannily matched those of ‘the gay disease’” (Shilts). The doctors were unable to detect a definitive cause for the sickness, but realized that it was being transmitted through sexual acts, so they told their patients to stop having sex. Rightfully, the community did not like this statement because medical institutions do not have the right to declare who and who is not allowed to have sexual relations. The lack of sex education 37 years ago led to the nationwide belief that the homosexuals were dirty because they had a disease that started in their community and led to a worldwide deadly disease.
Today, “sex education has increased the use of condoms and contraception by 40%” (Serenko). Having the knowledge about safe sex and the consequences of unsafe sex allows those who take part in sexual actions to have the knowledge to prevent such consequences. Over half of the United States do not require sex education to be taught in schools, and in an article on fox news published by Lacie Glover states the 10 best and worst states for STD’s based on CDC data on chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Of the 10 that were listed on the worst places, 9 of the states were also ones that do not require sex education to be a part of the school system. Not only did they have high STD rates in their state, 2/3 of those states are also ranked top 10 states with highest teen pregnancy.
Source: Martin, J. A., Hamilton, B. E., Ventura, S. J., & Osterman, M. J. K. S.C., & Mathews, T.J (2015). Births: Final data for 2014. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
Teaching sexual health in school allows there to be a gender-inclusive curriculum that informs everyone about the basics of both genders. Without being informed on sex education, people become ignorant and start being unsafe, whether they consciously know what they are doing could have harmful side effects later. Sex education does not require a masters degree to teach preteens about the correct use and different types of contraceptives, it just requires a teacher that is willing to talk to their students about sex. Not only does sex education does promote safe sex, it also “helps teenagers understand themselves biologically and prepare to face the world so that they do not fall victim to sexual predators” (Serenko).
With Donald Trump and Mike Pence in office, the teachings of sex health in schools could easily be compromised. Although he does not have the power to get rid of sex health, he is able to determine how much funding public programs receive. Both Clinton and Bush allocated their funds to abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and compared “having sex outside of marriage to starting a fire in the middle of your living room instead of the fireplace” (Kempner). This put a bad connotation on sex outside of marriage and made it seem like sex with another partner a deadly act. The past eight years under the Obama administration, more funding was allocated towards evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs. Sex education has allowed for kids to engage in safe sex and keep themselves and others safe. Without teaching important health lessons, we could easily have another unknown, deadly, STD outbreak.
Shilts, Randy. And The Band Played On. St. Martin’s Griffin. 1987.
Serenko, Anna. “Sex Ed. Barriers and Benefits”, Global Citizen. Mar. 30, 2014.
Glover, Lacie. “State by State, where it’s easiest to catch or avoid STD’s”, NerdWallet. FoxNews. May 07, 2014.
Kempner, Martha. “What Will the Trump Presidency Do to Sexuality Education? Advocates Aren’t Hopeful”, Rewire. Jan. 09, 2017.