Sex Education Essay Research Paper In today

Sex Education Essay, Research Paper

In today’s society there is an on going debate over sex education and its

influence on our children. "The question is no longer should sex education

be taught, but rather how it should be taught" (DeCarlo). With teenage

pregnancy rates higher than ever and the imminent threat of the contraction of

STD’s, such as HIV, the role of sex education in the school is of greater

importance now then ever before. By denying children sex education you are in a

sense sheltering them from the harsh realities they are bound to encounter. Sex

education has become an essential part of the curriculum and by removing the

information provided by this class we’ll be voluntarily putting our children in

danger. During the teenage years every boy and girl undergo major changes in the

body that most of the time need explaining. This underscores one of the most

evident reasons for sexual education being taught to students. Sex education can

help children to cope with the many changes caused by the onset of puberty. One

such example is a female’s first menstruation and the uneasiness they feel. If

this girl had been informed of this change prior to its onset, then her ability

to accept and understand it would be greatly enhanced. Hormonal and physical

changes in the body begin without warning and a child needs to know why these

changes are occurring. Lindsell 2 Students are taught about the anatomy of the

human body and how and why it works the way it does. Knowing and understanding

how ones body works is a fundamental part any persons life and ability to gain

this knowledge should not be removed. At the beginning of puberty hormones start

rushing and all teenagers begin to experience sexual urges. It’s not something

anyone, including a parent or teacher, can control. It’s a natural function of

the body and has been since the beginning of time. With this hormone rush comes

experimentation among teenagers. They begin to explore their bodies along with

the bodies of other people. "You can’t prevent teenagers from having sex,

no matter what you preach. If students are having sex they might as well do it

the safe way. It’s a way for schools to show that they actually care," says

Shauna Ling-Choung (qt. Richardson "When sex_" B1). Students need the

support from schools to know they have somewhere to go for the good or bad. With

sex education classes the students are taught about various methods of

contraception, including abstinence. By teaching the students about the many

types of contraception, the chance of contraceptives being used is greatly

increased. Many schools have recently begun programs to distribute condoms to

students in their schools in order to hopefully increase the use of condoms. A

recent study shows that the availability of condoms in schools did in fact

increase condom use. Condom access is a "low-cost harmless addition"

to our current sex education programs (Richardson "Condoms in_" B8).

When thinking of sex education for our children, the clich? "better

safe than sorry" should immediately come to mind. Along with teaching

contraceptives to students the vital information of STD’s are also Lindsell 3

taught. Currently, out of all age groups, teenagers have the highest rates of

sexually transmitted diseases, with one in four young people contracting and STD

by the age of twenty-one (DeCarlo). Included in the STD category is the HIV

virus, which is spreading at alarming rates among our teenage population.

"It is believed that at least twenty percent of new patients with AIDS were

infected during their teenage or early adult years." And still some school

leaders are trying to remove our best means of prevention of the disease: sex

education (Roye 581) Teachers are able to educate students with the correct

information on the many types of sexually transmitted diseases that exist in the

world today. False information about ways of contracting diseases, symptoms of

and treatments of STDs, and preventative measures are weeded out and students

receive the accurate information about sexually transmitted diseases. Protection

of our children from sexually transmitted diseases should start in the classroom

where it can be assured that the correct and critical information will be

provided to them. Nobody likes to be talked to like they are a child, and by

denying teenagers sexual education, schools are in a sense talking down to them.

By teaching them the facts about sex, teenagers feel a sense of maturity because

it’s a mature topic and they are fully aware of that. Students get the feeling

that the adults in their lives feel that they are responsible enough to learn

about this topic. Therefore bringing on more of a response from teenagers. They

know they are being treated as adults so they are going to pay attention to what

they are being taught and then act as adults and carry out what they were

taught. Teenagers appreciate when adults treat them as equals, and anyone will

see that children will always respond better to this than to being treated as a

child. Lindsell 4 Much of the typical family structure in the United States and

many other places in the world have deteriorated over the last century. A good

portion of parents today are divorced and many of the families that haven’t

experienced divorce live with both parents working full time jobs. Families

today aren’t like the family on "Leave It to Beaver," a sitcom that

aired in the sixties; the mother isn’t home all day baking and making sure that

the house is clean. Since family structure has changed, so have the way children

are being raised. Society cannot count on all parents to instill morals into

their children and teach them the facts of life or even the difference between

right and wrong these days. Parents just don’t have the time for it. Recently

the Vatican released a document stating that " parents alone cannot give

children the positive sex education they need to develop healthy attitudes

towards sex" (Euchner). Another view on the subject taken by the Nebraska

Public School system is that sex education in today’s society is to complicated

to be left to "the varying influences of parental attitudes and haphazard

environmental exposure" (Chaumont et al.). Besides, even if the parent were

around more often then not, the chances of a child approaching their parent

about the "bird and the bees" is very unlikely. These children need to

have a place were the information on this touchy subject is provided to them

without them needing to ask. "Kids don’t go asking their parents, this is

the only way for them to find out answers because they are to embarrassed to ask

anyone else," says Pallodino, and eighteen-year-old from Virginia. (O’Hanlon

B8). In order for children to grow up with the correct information regarding

sex, it is necessary to have sex education provided to them in schools. Even

though sex education seems as if it can do no wrong, there still remain many

Lindsell 5 opponents, including many authors who clearly express their view,

that are still against it in our schools. There are many reasons why people feel

like this, two of which are they feel as if sex education does no good at all

and another is that people feel that it is influencing students to have sex.

Ellen Hopkins, author of "Sex is for Adults", says that sex education

does many great things , except for the one thing we want it to do, make our

children more responsible. (Hopkins 589). She feels as though the information

that students are receiving is not having any influence on them. The feeling

that sex education classes are influencing teenagers to have sex is a feeling

that is shared by William Kilpatrick. He states that "as the statistics

show, American teenagers are living up to expectation. They are having more sex

and using more condoms" (Kilpatrick 597). These two individuals, along with

many others, feel that sex education is doing more harm then it is good. Teenage

sexual activity has been raising steadily for more than two decades until now. A

recent survey shows the first drop since the nineteen seventies. In 1990 girls

that had engaged in sexual intercourse was at fifty-five percent, until 1995

when it dropped to fifty percent. The percentage of boys engaging in sexual

intercourse also dropped by five percent. The use of condoms have tripled since

the 1970’s showing people are being safer about sex (Vobejda et al. A1). A poll

done by Reuter’s show that eighty-two percent of the people who participated in

the survey supported sex education in schools (Yahoo). Studies obviously show

that sex education courses are helping today’s teenagers to become more

responsible for their own actions. The information that sex education provides

teenagers is indispensable. Schools are meant to educate our children in not

just one topic but all topics. "Why would anyone on the state Board

Lindsell 6 of Education not want to cover something comprehensively? Do we take

that approach with history or math?" says Denice Bruce of Wichita, Kansas

(Associated Press). Sexually educating our children is just important if not

more important than math or history because sex education can mean the

difference between life and death of your child.


"Board refuses restriction on sex education in schools." Associated

Press. February 1996: n. pag. Online. Netscape. 29 March 1998. Chaumont,

Michelle; Galing, Samantha et al. "Sex education in Nebraska Public

Schools." Online. Netscape. 28 March 1998. "Does Sex Education

Work." Center for AIDS Prevention Studies. Online. Netscape. 29 October

1999. Euchner, Charlie. "The Vatican Endorses Sex Education in

Schools." Teacher Magazine. December 1983: n. pag. Online. Netscape. 1

April 1998. Hopkins, Ellen. "Sex Is for Adults." Rottenberg. 588-591.

Kilpatrick, William. "Sex Education." Rottenberg. 591-602 O’Hanolan,

Ann. "It’s a Fact of Life, Va. Youths Say: Sex Education Belongs in

Schools." Washington Post 14 June. 1997: B8. "Poll: Americans Favor

Sex Education In Schools." Yahoo News-Reuters. Online. Netscape. 29 March

1998. Richardson, Lynda. "Condoms in School said not to Affect Teen-Age Sex

Rate." New York Times 30 September. 1997: B8. Richardson, Lynda. "When

Sex is just a Matter of Fact." New York Times 16 October. 1997: B1.

Rottenberg, Annette T., ed. Elements of Argument. Boston, Ma: Bedford Books,

Lindsell 8 1997. Roye, Carol F. "Protect Our Children." Rottenberg.

581-582 Vobejda, Barbara; Havemann, Judith. "Teenagers Less Sexually Active

in U.S." Washington Post. 2 May. 1997: A1 Lindsell 9 Sex Education and the

Classroom Steffanie Lindsell A. Mammary Contemporary Moral Problems T/TR 11:30

Final paper Steffanie Lindsell November 2, 1999 Contemporary Moral Problems T/TR

11:30 A. Mammary Thesis: With teenage pregnancy rates higher than ever and the

imminent threat of the contraction of STD’s, such as HIV, the role of sex

education in the school is of greater importance now than ever before.


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