Because everyone agrees that there are too many teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, a new approach to sex and health education is needed. When "abstinence only" is the only form of education offered, teenagers are encouraged to believe in common myths and rumors. With a realistic approach to sex and health education in schools, teens will understand how to prevent STD's, unwanted pregnancy, and HIV infections.
Sexual health education should become a mandatory subject that students in middle and high school take as a part of their core curriculum. Most parent acknowledge the fact that their underage children are in need of a sexual health education when they are seniors in high school, but most teens believe that early sexual education is more important because when you learn it at a younger age you can become more familiar with the consequences. Comprehensive sexual health educations should inform the students about the facts and help them toward the way of practicing prevention, and better understanding (Sex Education: Issues and Directives 33-35).
During the teen years, young women and men are curious and anxious to know about sex. They may not even know the proper sexual health education; the only thing that they know is what they get from the media or what they have heard from a friend which is not always a good source to follow. Adolescents that are sexually active get the majority of their advice from their friends who may know little or nothing about sexual health education. Some adolescents find information about sex in their reading. A lot of readings, still, fall short when it comes to topics that should be in details for a teenager to better grasp. With this lack of knowledge teens always find themselves making the wrong decisions. With well-educated teachers at schools to provide the right guidance, it may decrease the rate of teen pregnancy and contraction of sexually transmitted diseases at such a young age (Sex Education: Issues and Directives 33-35).
We often hear a story of a teenager that got pregnant or has a sexually transmitted disease. We even see this in our schools as we walk the halls each day. Every year over 800,000 adolescents become pregnant and about 18.9 million contract a sexually transmitted disease (Weinstock, Berman, and Cates 6). Seventy percent of teenage girls and eighty percent of adolescent males engage in sexual activity during their teenage years. Forty percent of teens in America are sexually active (Curcio, Joan L., Lois F. Berlin, and Patricia F. First 4).
Adolescents that are sexually active easily make the mistake of getting pregnant or catching a disease and, it is something that could have been prevented with the proper guidance. Teenage pregnancy is one of the reasons that female students drop out of school. Once a teen becomes pregnant or catches a disease the rest of her life will change forever. One out of every ten teenage girls above the age of fourteen becomes pregnant, and more than half of all pregnant teenagers leave school at an early stage to take care of their child while others their age are enjoying their youth years. We are all familiar with the story of a young lady forced to play the role of a mother and a student, and this is a very hard task. Getting pregnant does not only affect a young girl, but it also affects her partner because he also has to take responsibility. It is important for teens that do get pregnant to be encouraged to stay in school and receive counseling, and health care services. With this form of education the occurrence of second pregnancies will decrease (Curcio, Joan L., Lois F. Berlin, and Patricia F. First 9-11).
Young adults are too afraid to talk to their parents about sexual health education, so they end up making decisions of their own. A majority of parents would appreciate sexual health education that schools could offer, and be confident to know that their children are getting the right information on ways to protect themselves and prevent diseases. Even if the students are uncomfortable to ask questions the teacher will cover the material to make sure that the students receive a better understanding. Like all the other subjects that are taught in schools, sexual health education should become just like a regular subject. A person who is well educated on a subject makes mistakes, but is less likely to make common mistakes, for example teens will be more cautious because they are familiar with the consequences. Everyone is always told to go to school to educate themselves for a better future. Math and English are not the only knowledge needed to becoming a better educated a person. We need to learn about our bodies and how to take care of them, because it is something we cannot replace.
Most schools, only offer health and abstinence only education. Eighty-six percent of public schools that have adopted the policy of teaching sex education require that abstinence be promoted. Other thirty-five percent only allow abstinence to only be taught as the only option for adolescences. Most other schools have the policy to teach abstinence as the preferred option for teens and allow discussion of contraceptive an effective means of preventing pregnancy and STDs. Most of the schools that have sex education as part of their curriculum only educate the students about abstinence (Curcio, Joan L., Lois F. Berlin, and Patricia F. First). In an article on MSNBC, Dr. Buzz Pruit states, "We didn't see any strong indication that theses programs were having an impact in the direction desired" (<htt://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6894568>). Referring to Abstinence only education. Abstinence can be defined behaviorally as the act of not engaging in any form of sexual intercourse, or as a commitment to wait until marriage. Abstinence itself is one hundred percent effective as a means of protection against sexually transmitted disease or getting pregnant. However not every young adult is willing to practice abstinence. Therefore, it is only right to offer classes that teach teens how to proteAct themselves and prevent diseases.
Comprehensive sexual health education should not just include a movie that exAplains menstruation, and human reproduction. Schools should educate their children from the biology of reproduction, the psychology of relationships, and the sociology of the family to sexology. The learning should fully cover sexual knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, values, and behaviors. The instructors of the class should be able to discuss the anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry of the sexual response system. The teacher should also be very open to where the students feel comfortable talking to her one on one. The curriculum itself must be based on effective teaching strategies that relate subject matter to the students' interest needs and experiences so that the students are able to attach personal meaning to what is learned (Curcio, Joan L., Lois F. Berlin, and Patricia F. First 47-49).
We often hear the stories of the teenager who thought she would not get pregnant the first time she had sexual intercourse because it was her first time or the one about the young boy who though that using a condom would prevent him from catching any sexually transmitted diseases. We have also heard the story about the young teen that was in love and trusted her partner so much that she did not bother to use protection and at the end she contracted a disease that will be with her for the rest of her life. Schools and government officials need to stand up and protect the future generation. Pupils need the proper guide for a better living.
Every young student deserves the right of a proper education. When abstinence only is strictly forced, adolescents are left confused. This simply encourages young adults to make careless mistakes that result in consequences that could have been prevented with a better knowledge. Sexual health education may prevent a fifteen year old boy from becoming a father before graduating from high school; it can also reduce the number of young girls with life long Sexually Transmitted Disease because they thought that all STDs have visible symptoms. Sexual education must be seen as a preventative measure for young adults.
I am sure that if a sexual health education class becomes a part of any school curriculum, the student body will be very appreciative of it. Students will come to class willing to learn and pay attention to the instructor, because it is a topic that many young adults are curious about. By having the classes no teenager would depend on unreliable sources because they have a well educated teacher to teach them about preventions and way to avoid diseases. For instance a research done by Michael Schofild proved that over half of the average students know nothing about the symptoms of either syphilis or gonorrhea. Not all Sexually Transmitted Diseases have the same symptoms; some have no symptoms at all, and teachers are needed to explain that to the students. Therefore it is very important to educate teenagers about proper sexual health education.