Schools? Essay, Research Paper
“ Should Sex Education be offered in Public Schools? ”
Sex can be traced back as far as Adam and Eve, the first two people on this planet. Today, all age groups encounter things associated with sex, but it is not a problem that concerns everyone. The problem that has been at hand for more than thirty years is should sex education classes be offered in Public Schools? (1.Teaching Fear; 1996)
The reason such debate has arose over the years is because there are many diverse opinions about the topic. Children are now faced with problems at a much earlier age than years passed. There must be a way to reach the children before they are in such need of help and are clueless about the devastating problems around them. Sex education is one step in the right direction, when it comes to the health of our children, and the guarantee of a solid future.
Although some people disagree with the idea of sex education classes, in the public school system, the majorities seem to favor it. On the other hand, some people agree with the idea of sex education, but feel like the problem lies more in the way that it is taught, rather than being totally against the idea. Those who are against sex education in class feel as though all the classes would do is create more problems. They are uncertain
about the outcome, whether or not it would cause students to be more or less likely to engage in sexual activities and intercourse.( 2.Keen, Cathy. Florida Teens Get Inadequate Sex Education; 1999)
The main concerns for most people, especially parents, are what can the students learn from the classes and how can they apply it to their lives. In some cases, people feel as though new methods of teaching the subject would bring better results, such as lower teenage pregnancies, a decline in sexually transmitted diseases, more responsible thinking, and maybe even lower the rate of sexual harassment and rape.
Another question that people are asking is when should the classes be started. Recent studies found that between the ages of six years old and twelve years old, children are not aware of their sexuality. (3.Sex Education in Schools; 1999) Once the children begin to reach puberty and start maturing more, that is when the problem begins. If the programs would start in kindergarten and proceed through out the following twelve years of school, drastic changes may be made in the age of first intercourse, or sexual activities.
Parents must also play a leading role in sex education. It must go beyond the doors of the school, and into the homes of the children. Since parents are the main educators in a child’s life, they need to discuss the topic of sex education in home as well. (Sex Education in Schools; 1999) Children who have never had a talk about sex with their parents feel more uncomfortable when they have to talk about it in front of their classmates. In some cases, some students may even feel more comfortable to talk to their teacher, rather than their parents. A very important idea for parents to remember is, although talking about sex can be difficult, it makes it helpful on a child to hear about the facts of life from their parents at first. (4.Woznicki, Katrina. Smarter Teens Likely to Delay Sex; 2000) This also makes it easier when they attend the sex education classes so they can understand the full impact of the class.
Students themselves also must contribute to their own awareness of sex education, and STD prevention. Just like schools offer programs where students make commitments not to drink and drive, schools should also offer programs where students can make the promise to stay abstinent until marriage. A support group would help the students by answering any question the students might have over sex, STD, or even sexual harassment. The support group could even offer different types of programs that would teach students how to think before any sexual encounter. This would allow students to be more mentally, and emotionally prepared for when they decide to have sex. The programs could both delay the onset of sexual intercourse, and decrease the number of sexual partners. (5.Sex Education in Schools: Its Effects on Sexual Behavior.1995)
One of the main questions that effect the sex education program, is what are the best subjects to teach the children. No matter what classes
are offered abstinence should always be stressed the most. (6.Dunn, Vincy. Profile of A School Sex Ed. Program.) Most of the sex education programs that are presently being used covers abstinence, sexually transmitted disease, teen pregnancy, safe sex, and how to think before they make a mistake. If teachers covered different ways to say no to sexual activities, and talked more about the emotional risks of having sex at an early age the effectiveness of sex education would also increase.
Abstinence has the best guarantee out of any method of safe sex. If a student practices abstinence, that is the only way he or she will never contract a sexually transmitted disease, or increase the rate of teen pregnancy. The abstinence only programs offer students the ability to sharpen their decision-making skills, and learn more about disease prevention. (Teaching Fear; 1996) It also teaches them to be more responsible for their actions and how to have more self-control, and self respect.
Practicing safe sex is another subject that is taught in the programs. Today, there are several different methods of safe sex that could be taught. Statistics show that nearly 50% of most high school students are sexually active. (7.Do abstinence-only programs work? 2000) These students should also be able to receive the right information they need to understand the ways to be protected. Because once some STD’S are contracted, the only cure is death. Currently, out of all the population of the United States, teenagers hold the highest record of sexually transmitted disease, and that is out of any age group. (8.Decarlo, Pamela. Does Sex Ed. Work?)
Condoms and oral contraceptives are the two leading ways of safe sex, and disease prevention. As said before, abstinence is the only 100% safe way, but oral contraceptives and condoms are between 97% and 99.9% safe. (9.National Adolescent Reproductive Health Partnership; 1998) Although oral contraceptives are only used to prevent pregnancy in women, condoms prevent disease transmission and stop pregnancy from occurring.
Distributing condoms in school, is also another aspect of sex education. If the school would provide the protection to any teenager that was contemplating sexual intercourse, at least he or she would have adequate protection from pregnancy and STD’S. This could also set a pattern for them to follow in the future. That way they would always chose to wear a condom, and it could possibly save his or her life.
The risks of having unprotected are very important matters that should be covered in depth by the program. Students should know that a risk of having unprotected sex and coming in contact with a sexually transmitted disease such as AIDS might result in losing his or her life. In 1994, four hundred and seventeen new HIV cases were reported between the ages of 13 years of age, and 19 years of age. (Decarlo, Pamela. Does Sex Ed. Work?) In that same year, two thousand six hundred and eighty four new cases were reported between the age of 20 and 24. (Decarlo, Pamela; Does Sex Ed. Work?) If by some chance, all those who were infected with the HIV virus had an effective sex education program; they might have a chance to live a life with positive rewards, instead of living a life knowing that you were closer to death every day.
Unwanted pregnancy is also a risk of unprotected sex. When this matter is covered in school, it would display the message better to put the girls in the exact situation. For instance; when a teenage girl is pressured into having sex because it is supposedly love, and then she ends up pregnant, she will then realize the importance of protected sex. But by then, it will be too late. A baby is on the way, when the girl is still a child herself. It is a shame to see society in a place where all the morals have vanished like time. Not only does this effect the statistics on teenage pregnancy, but once the girl realizes that she can’t be responsible enough to raise a baby, she probably will decide to have an abortion, which will also increase the number of abortions per year. If the programs covered how it is to have a baby at such an early age, the number of pregnancies and abortions might also decline tremendously.
Not only are sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy and abortion the main risk of having unprotected sex, but cancer is also. In young girls, cervical cancer can occur if sexual intercourse takes place at an extremely earlier age. Cervical cancer and testicular cancer, which is found in males, can also be a result of a sexually transmitted disease. The dangers of these cancers are very serious. For women and men alike, both cancers can prevent reproduction, and may even be life threatening. (10.Woznicki, Katrina. Some Girls Need Sex Ed. Earlier; 1999) In the long run, it would pay a teenager to think more than twice about having sexual intercourse, especially when the consequences could ruin their life.
Most girls and boys that are starting high school, that are already sexually active, obviously have not been told about ways to stay abstinent. It still isn’t too late for them to make the choice to sustain from sex until marriage, and it defiantly isn’t too late for those students who are still
confused about if the want to have sexual intercourse or wait. Those are the main two reasons that ways to stay abstinent should also be covered in school. Teachers could discuss peer pressure towards sex, and how some guys will lie to girls just so they can have sex. They could also discuss how girls or guys should never mix drugs and sex because the results could end up traumatic. Teachers could also talk about the students self esteem. Most cases show that if a child has low self-esteem, they are more likely to engage in sexual activity earlier than ones that have high self-esteem are. (11.Alexander, Linda. Sex Ed. Coalition) Recently, Dr. Sharon Thompson stated that “fear is a leading emotion that causes girls to rush into having sex.”(12.Weston, Louanne. Teaching Teens to Think before Sex)
Another conflicting matter at hand is the media’s influence on sexual behavior. The programs that are shown on television today only promote the opposite ideas of the sex education programs. When a child turns the television on, they then have access to the TV shows that contain sexual matters; they can hear music with subjects pertaining to sex. In the children’s mind, all these things do are promote sexual desires. Television programs are defeating the sex education programs, because the media is teaching kids that sex is okay as long as they use protection. Instead of the media promoting safe sex and abstinence, they continue to show people having sex, and never mention anything about safe sex. The parents are then disabling their children for watching TV programs that contain immoral messages about sex. But it isn’t the children who are doing the harm. They should not be punished for watching TV, because everything we see in today’s society is marketed by sex.
In general, sex education has it’s pro’s and con’s. But the reality of the matter is that sex education is our only hope for the future. The sexual educated classes produce as a result, healthy adolescents that are well education and have been taught to think any sexual activity completely through. The reason many sex education classes have failed in past years is simply because society has been too afraid to embrace the truth. Once society decides to put morality back into education that is when the most progress will occur. Unless the school system keeps a strict sex education curricula, sex education will be the same five years from now, as it was ten years ago. The only difference will be a higher number of teen pregnancies, a higher rate of STD’S, and more cases of AIDS.
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SHOULD SEX EDUCATION BE OFFERED IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS?