Why Sex Education is Essential in Schools

Dec 14, 2017 by

Years after a small number of states voted to make their public school sex education curriculums based on abstinence-only, an amazing thing has happened in the U.S. Teen pregnancy rates have dropped tremendously, fewer teenagers are being diagnosed with STDs, and more parents are delighted that their children have become informed and empowered.

Indeed, it is a new age and sex education in public schools no longer consists of a quick lesson on the basic mechanics of the reproductive system. Adolescents are learning about gender roles, what safe sex consists of, and they’re doing it in an environment that doesn’t make them feel embarrassed or shy. Here is why sex education must continue to be taught in public schools, as well as continue to evolve.

Parents Don’t Know Everything

It is noble that parents are responsible for teaching their kids everything they know, including about their bodies. Unfortunately, until quite recently, parents had been failing miserably when it came to teaching their kids about more than just ‘the birds and the bees.’

Most parents arguably don’t know as much as they think they know about their own bodies or the way in which the opposite sex’s reproductive organs work. Ask a middle-aged mother what she knows about prostate health and what she taught her son about getting prostate exams in the future, and she will probably not have a very detailed response. Likewise, most fathers aren’t explaining the differences between sanitary napkins, tampons, and menstrual cups to their daughter, so sex education in public schools really does help to fill in all the gaps.

It’s Getting Results

As noted earlier, sex education in public schools is taught based on a curriculum that is approved by and varies among individual states. Some school systems that were teaching children an abstinence-only curriculum not only saw teens getting STDs at a more advanced rate, but teen pregnancy rates were also off the charts. Failing to tell adolescents, particularly older teens, about birth control methods or even about the basic functions of reproduction has been scientifically proven not to work. You can’t withhold information from a group of people who are at a critical age and think that they are going to be able to make good or informed decisions – that’s just not how things work. Instead, when a comprehensive sex education curriculum is doled out to adolescents, they make better decisions and actually become assets to society.

Teens Are Learning How Their Bodies Work

Besides going through puberty and displaying massive physical changes, the brain chemistry of adolescents also cannot be denied. Teens can be moody. They can also be depressed, go through destructive spells, become withdrawn, or seem like they’re emotionally unstable. Thanks to hormones, teens can grow several inches in just a couple of months. Teens can also physically develop quickly and appear to be older than they are. They’re still kids and if they go through a rapid amount of physical changes they don’t necessarily understand the way their new and improved versions of their bodies work. Sex education not only explains these changes so that adolescents can be prepared for various changes during puberty, it also lets them know that what they’re going through is perfectly normal.

It’s Easy to Get Good Grades In Sex Education

Another reason why sex education is a must in public schools is that it can level the playing field in schools academically, at least to an extent. Health is one of the few classes that virtually any teen can do well in at school. It’s isn’t an advanced calculus class, where only the best mathematicians have a chance of passing. It isn’t the school band, so you aren’t required to practice before, during and after school. Yes, there’s sometimes homework involved, but it is one of the only classes that high school students take that they’ll actually get practical use out of, well before graduation. Literally anyone who pays attention in class and asks detailed questions is capable of getting an ‘A’ in sex ed. For those that enjoy health class, they may even choose to go into the health sector after school and go on a online FNP program to become a nurse.

Sex Education Is Empowering to the Youth

There are few opportunities for teens to feel like they’re in control at school. Even other classes that represent the fact they’re growing up are more about how adults think they are doing. For instance, kids can’t pass driver’s education unless they know the laws of the road and are able to get through their road tests without scaring their instructor’s too badly. With sex education, all you need to do is prove that you know about your own body. Sure, you have to label parts of the reproductive system, understand the basics of reproduction, and be able to identify what the various stages of puberty are. On the other hand, this is a class that all adolescents have at least some personal experience with, even the late bloomers.

Informed Adolescents Make Better Decisions

Any adult who has attended public school knows what happens when a group of bored teenagers get together. There may be a fight, or promiscuous behavior, underage drinking, or any other number of sordid activities taking place. A lot of kids have to go through a rebellious experimental stage before they appreciate what their families have made available to them, and parents just hope that their kids get through that tumultuous time without making any decisions that will impact the rest of their lives. Undoubtedly, adolescents who know that unprotected sexual relations can lead to pregnancy – the first time around – don’t ever risk their futures. These are the same adolescents who understand that HIV is a real danger, know how it is transmitted, and take measures to avoid the transmission of the virus. A lot of teens may know better than to take part in risky sexual activities, but those who are fully aware of the consequences take even fewer risks.

It Is Less Expensive for States

When an adolescent becomes pregnant before the age of 18, she is likely headed into extreme poverty. There are state-funded programs such as Medicaid, which provides no-cost medical insurance for expectant moms and their children. There’s also food stamps, which feed low-income individuals and their families. Public housing is available to any family consisting of two or more individuals who are not able to provide their own shelter. Teen parents overwhelming take advantage of these benefits, which therein cost state governments big time. Few teen parents go off to college and become higher wage earners in their early 20s, so they aren’t likely to put back into the system by paying more taxes. Clearly, good sex education programs in public schools are the cheaper options for every state.

It’s being taught in thousands of schools each year and millions of adolescents learn about their bodies in great detail for the first time. Comprehensive sex education in public schools is thought to help reduce public teen pregnancy rates, as well as prevent more kids from slipping into cyclical poverty. This form of education is essential, but it seems like school administrators must do more to make their curriculums uniform across the nation. Teens would get more out of it if they and their peers are learning precisely the same thing, from classroom to classroom and from state to state.

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