Should Sex Ed Be Taught in Schools?

1 January 2017

Sexual education is very important for children with a developing body and for teenagers with questions about sex. Sexual education in schools can be very beneficial for children and teenagers. Knowing about the inevitably changing body may help the process. Sexually active and potentially sexually active teens should be educated on contraceptives, STDs, and abstinence. This is why our group thinks that sexual education should most definitely be taught in schools. Sexual Education is taught throughout the United States.

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Only 3 states require consent before the school may give any sexual education to the children and 35 states allow the parents to opt out for their children. There are two major kinds of sexual education: abstinence based education and a comprehensive based education. The abstinence based sexual education focuses on abstinence and not having sex before marriage. The comprehensive sexual education may start as early as 5th grade and covers the topics like proper use of contraceptives, STDs, safe sex practices, sexuality and masturbation.

Some schools may even teach both practices. 37 states are required to include sexual education instruction and 11 require only that it is included somehow in the education. In 2009 the CDC conducted a survey and reported that almost 50% of high school students said they had sex. 14% of those students had 4 or more partners. Although the teen pregnancy rate has declined, it is still the highest of all developed nations at 68 per 1,000. Canada’s teen pregnancy rate is 27 per 1000.

Most teens are getting education on abstinence, STDs, HIV but are not learning how to properly use contraceptives. Any many teens have not been taught how to properly use any contraceptives before their first sexual encounter. Approximately 65% of high schools teach their students about condoms and 39% of schools taught their students how to use them. Sex education is taught widely across the US, yet the positive and negatives are still being debated. Many people as well as education systems think that sex education is a positive thing, that it should be embraced by schools.

In 2004 a poll by NPR, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government found that only 7 percent of Americans say sexual education should not be taught in schools. Some of the positive effects of sexual education on students are socially related, in that they are learning this often embarrassing information at the same time as their peers and they do not feel left out of the loop if other students are talking about something that they do not understand.

It makes learning about this sensitive subject easier for the students if they know that they are not alone in learning about sex. Also it makes having “the talk” easier for both parents and their children if there is already a foundation of knowledge about sex and the available contraceptives. Some students may live in single parent homes or with other relatives and my not feel comfortable learning about sex from them. Also parents may not be aware of all the information about sex and safe sex that the school system teaches.

Having sexual education classes in schools ensures that the students are getting correct and factual information in a structured way, in a less awkward environment. Sexual education classes cover in depth information about STDs and other sexually transmitted diseases that show students the importance of safe sex. Sexual education teaches about available contraceptives and ways to practice safe sex. Students are also more likely to pay attention and retain more information from class, in which they are provided resources, than if taught by parents.

Other positives can be seen in the numbers; the CDC announced in 2011, that the US teenage pregnancy rate has hit a record low. The study[->0] looked back at all the teenage birth statistics from 1991 – 2009 and found that the latest results reveal a 37% decrease. One of the reasons is thought to be better Sexual education classes and teachings about sex. Although, there is a lot of rather persuasive information on the benefits of sex education in schools, there are always two sides to a story.

The benefit of informing young adolescents about sex also comes with an immediate disadvantage, which is, that you are projecting thoughts and ideas about sex into the minds of children who never considered it to begin with. Many critics of sex education in schools make this case. They point out that it is unwise to teach someone about a behavior you do not want them to engage in. This is analogous to explaining the inner workings of how a bank functions to the public; obviously, banks do not reveal this information freely and it if they do, it is on a need to know basis.

Psychoanalytically, it is true and proven that people will naturally try something they are curious about or have never experienced; especially, when the outcome is associated with pleasure. Many Americans agree that pre-teens and teens should be taught sex to varying degrees; despite this, statistics reveal that most disagree on how to approach the issue of contraception or if it should even be approached in the first place. Some factions believe in only abstinence, rebuking the thought of using contraception.

There is a tendency for people to think it is ok to educate with constraints, akin to riding a bike with training wheels; unfortunately, education cannot be contained in this manner. If the medium is going to be taught, it should be unleashed without inhibition in order to be fully understood; otherwise, you will end up with a generation of youngsters who only have bits and pieces of the story and must fills in the gaps for themselves. The issue of sex education will always be controversial.

Some will always view anything in this arena to be invalid and unacceptable in the classroom; whereas, others will feel the opposite. There is a trend for people to forget that they were once children, making it difficult to view this matter with the same scope as the people it is meant to benefit the most. The facts tell us it is a good thing to have this subject matter in the classroom. Sex education has lowered the national teen pregnancy rate and, even though, it is impossible to know how many STD’s have been prevented from transmission, it is it safe to say it could have had a similar impact.

Education is informative, enlightening, and empowering, but not always appreciated by all interpretations, which is fine. It is what the individual does with the new found knowledge that matters the most.

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