Should Sex Education be Taught in High School?
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Essentially, teens need to learn about sex at some point in their lives. The questions being debated remains whether information should come from their parent or from a qualified professional at school. Some parents feel as though they cannot approach their children about this topic, never mind teach them the details about sexual relationships, so they leave the task up to the schools and there is nothing wrong with that. Sex education should be taught in high schools, as well as in the earlier years of education. Sex education can teach people of all ages the consequences and responsibilities of engaging in sexual activities.
Sex education should be taught in every public school possible. Sex education is a program designed to teach students the process an individual takes throughout life, including information about forming attitudes, beliefs, and values about identity, relationships, and intimacy (SIECUS, 1991). Most goals of sex education classes are the promotion of adult sexual health. Four main goals, according to National Guidelines Task Force, are to provide accurate information about human sexuality, to provide an opportunity for young people to develop and understand their values, attitudes, and beliefs about sexuality, to help young people develop interpersonal skills and to help young people apply responsibility of sexual relationships. Such responsibilities include how to defend a teenager against the pressures of prematurely becoming involved in sexual intercourse, encouraging the use of contraceptives, and other sexual health measures.
Without having a course in sex education teens will not fully be aware about human sexuality, which is something all teenagers should be knowledgeable about. It is essential that students know how to properly establish self-esteem and goals for the future, which is also involved in a sexual education course. If students do not have any self-esteem they consider themselves to be subordinate to others and believe they are not pretty enough to even connect with sex. Sex education courses do not teach students to have sex; it prepares them for what can occur when they become mature adults.
Sex education should be taught to encourage teens to either abstain from having intercourse or to use the proper protection at all times. If teenagers are informed about different diseases or the risk of pregnancy it will make them consider the possible consequences of their actions before they hop into bed with a partner. Teenagers should have a sex education program that gives them the facts that they need to know about preventing pregnancy, as well as disease (Elders, 1998). The programs have to be appropriate, and carefully planned by each community in order to respect the variety of values and beliefs present in a classroom and various communities (Planned Parenthood, 2002).
Most students are taught about six main subjects in a sex education class. Which are: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture (SIECUS, 1991). The content of each matter should depend on the age and maturity level of the students learning the material, as well as the community. The subject of human development would refer to the anatomy of the reproductive system, in both boys and girls. Puberty, also, should be discussed in sex education courses. The topic that should most be discussed about is sexual abuse, which, unfortunately, is very common in the world today. This issue should be talked about at every age level, starting during the early years of a child and carried on through to adulthood. As everyone knows, sexual abuse could happen to anyone of any age, especially if students are not taught that it is wrong for another person to do what is not wanted.
Many people believe that sex education is not effective, however this cannot be further from the truth. For example, studies have shown that sex education is more effective than abstinence-only education; sex education tends to delay sexual intercourse and sex education increases the use of condoms and other contraceptives (Planned Parenthood, 2002). Another study, conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, shows that these programs do not increase sexual intercourse. The assessment of twenty-five studies of sex education and HIV programs that discuss the use of condoms found that some delay the initiation of sex. At least three of the programs actually decreased the occurrence of sexual intercourse. Sex education programs do not enhance the number of teens? sexual partners.
Three of these showed a significant decrease in the number of new partners among sexually experienced participants and none showed an increase. Also, twelve of the programs showed proof of increased, regular use of condoms and other contraceptives (National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2001) Also, this campaign showed that sex education does not increase sexual risks behaviors. Three HIV education programs reported a decrease of the regularity of sex, an increase in condom use, and the programs reduced the rate of unprotected sex. The Children?s AID Society has a sex education course that indicates positive effects on birth and pregnancy rates amid female participants. A fifty-five percent decline was shown among those who were in the program for three years (Philliber Research Associates, 2000).
Most of the public tends to support sexual education classes. In polls, ninety-three percent of Americans supported sex education in high schools, and eighty-four percent in middle/junior high schools (Advocates For Youth, 1999). Sixty-three percent of Americans agreed that adolescent sexual exploration is an ordinary part of growing up. Forty-four of that percent recognized themselves as conservatives (Advocates For Youth, 1999). If the public supports sex education in schools, it should unquestionably be taught. There is strong evidence that most people feel there should be a course in sex education in all high schools.
In another study, eighty-two percent of parents in the United States believe that information about birth control, and safer sex should be taught in High Schools (Sex Education in America). Also, nine out of ten teachers said high school students should be taught about contraception (Darroch, 2000). About two-thirds of school districts in the U.S have a sex education policy. Of those districts, fourteen percent have sex education programs, fifty-one percent rely on abstinence as the favored option, and thirty-five percent have abstinence only programs (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1999).
It is more likely that schools that do not have sex educations programs will have higher rate of pregnancies. This is one of the many consequences of ignoring the importance of teaching it. Students who do not learn different aspects of sex education are put at a higher risk of get diseases, simply because they are ignorant about the subject. It remains necessary to teach sexual education. In an interview with a high school student, who attends Quincy High School, in Quincy, MA says this about the consequences of not teaching sex education. Smith states, ? When I was in a sex education program I felt safe, and knew the information I was getting would help me throughout my life.? ?If I did not receive the opportunity to become enrolled in a sexual education course, I know I would have faced the difficult consequence of becoming pregnant.?
Smith also said without the course, she would not have known about the many different diseases an individual is susceptible to now a day. Sometimes, when a community relies, solely, on the parents to inform the youth the job is not nearly as effective. Most parents are uncomfortable when they are forced to discuss the topic, as well as many teenagers. A teenager is more likely to ask a question to their sexual education instructors, rather than their parent. Discussions between a parent and a child tend to be quick and very unclear, leaving the child with many unanswered questions. On the other hand, a sexual education course gives the youth a well-prepared course, which clarifies the subject better.
Of course sex education in schools is debatable. It is because many people believe it causes their children to go out and find sex. Also, people assume that the course gives their children reasons to get a hold of condoms and use them, regardless of the access of such materials. This however, is not true. Sex education, in no way, promotes intercourse among teenagers. Teenagers have sex because they think it is pleasurable and they tend to believe that their reputation will benefit, in which they will become instantly cool. The program is designed to teach that a person?s sex life does not automatically make an individual popular, particularly if they are fifteen and about to give birth to a baby. Similarly, the program teaches how it is not enjoyable to be sixteen and have sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis or gonorrhea. The program does not want teenagers to contract a disease, but inform them of the dangers sexual intercourse are capable of generating.
There are many advantages of a sex education program. It stops teens from becoming pregnant. Teens who are taught about pregnancy are more opt to postpone sex until they are mature enough to conceive children. Sex education teaches about the adverse effects of contraceptives as well. Being aware of how these help you is valuable information, but knowing that they can have reverse effects is a far superior lesson.
Reverse effects include a condom breaking or having a hole in it. Sex education allows students to learn how to respect girls or boys for their choices when it comes to intercourse. It teaches responsibility and how it is perfectly acceptable to say they are not ready for a mature sexual relationship. Sex education stops teens from becoming infected with any diseases or viruses related to sexual intercourse. Sex education helps students realize that sex is about reality. It shows them that anything that happens due to sex is real, not matter if you want it to be or not. All teenagers grow up with the feeling that they are invincible, however, this cannot be further from the truth. Programs help students see when they engage in certain activities, diseases are not prejudice; they affect all walks of life, no matter the status or background of an individual.
Sex education should be taught in high schools. In fact, it should be taught in all public schools throughout the country. Sex education also should be taught throughout the lifetime of an individual. Starting from elementary school, students should be informed on different aspects of sex. Children in kindergarten should know if someone touches them anywhere they do not want to be touched, whether it is a teacher, parent or peer, they need to talk to an appropriate figure about this. Older students, perhaps in middle school, should be taught about the menstrual cycle and how you can become pregnant the first time you have sexual intercourse (Elders, 1998). When students reach high school, this should absolutely be taught. They also should learn that all boys and girls have equal responsibility for their sexuality. They also need to learn that every time they are engaging in sex they are increasing their chances of getting AIDS, STD?s, and of becoming a parent. The more students know, will help in reducing these risks. Sexual education needs to be in schools. It is not a matter of choice; it is a matter of life.
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