What is the importance of having comprehensive sex education in public schools? Here is the answer!
“This is the real world, and in the real world, you need protection,” – Cherie Richards, a fresher in the College of Arts and Sciences (Antonuk, 2006). Preteens and teens need protection from uninformed life choices they may make; especially regarding sex and sexuality. Such protection can be provided through comprehensive sex education in public schools. Implementing comprehensive sex education in public schools will give teens the correct information to empower them to make healthy life choices. However, some have argued that implementing comprehensive sex education in public schools is ineffective and increases the risks associated with sex (Thomas, 2009). This demonstrates that for what it is worth; CSE is a highly debatable topic. This essay will answer the question, “Should comprehensive sex education be taught in public schools?”
In the most basic form, comprehensive sex education is education about sexual orientation, birth control methods (surgery, drugs, or condoms), how to avoid STIs, the necessity of protection, and attitudes and principles about sex. Sexual education serves to improve teens’ understanding of sex and to help them make the right choices. The importance of comprehensive sex education in public schools is hinged upon the argument that if schools and parents do not teach children about sex, someone else will. When children or teens learn about sex from incorrect sources, they are bound to make bad choices (Parish, 2013).
Sex is a curious topic among teens – and they will learn about it anyway; whether from parents, in schools or over the media, internet, or pornography. For this reason, sex education should be provided by both parents and teachers.
Early Pregnancies and Abortions
The United States leads other western countries in terms of the number of teen births and abortions. More than one million teens acquire pregnancy each year in the United States alone. Past reports and surveys suggested that the highest number of people with sexually transmitted infections is teenagers. For the moment, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the world. In Asia, a significant number of unmarried teenagers engage in sexual activity. For instance, in Thailand, 25% of students are hospitalized for the purpose of undertaking abortions. Malaysia and Indonesia – due to cultural restrictions on sex before marriage – have relatively lower rates of teen pregnancy and abortion, but this does not meet the problem is small. Lastly, South Korea and Japan (more developed than other Asian countries) have the lowest rates of teenage pregnancy – 2.9 and 4.6 respectively (Wind, 2015)
The above statistics take me back to my question – should comprehensive sex education be taught in schools?
Absolutely! Comprehensive sex education in public schools should be a priority. Sex education can minimize pregnancy in teenagers. In addition, it is important for teens to obtain information about sex and safe sex methods from reliable sources such as schools instead of from the media, internet and/or pornography. In the simplest form, comprehensive sex education protects children and teens.
Benefits of Comprehensive Sex Education in Public Schools
Is there any evidence that sex education actually helps? Definitely, and I will present them in this essay.
a. CSE Reduces Rate of Teenage Pregnancy
Sceptics argue that CSE has proved ineffective on the reduction of teen pregnancies. They further argue that whether you have sex at 17 or 3 or 4 or 5 years from now, it will not make any difference. This plays down the importance of teaching children and teens to abstain from sex. More worrisome is the argument that having sex from a young age brings in confidence, experience, and perfects the art of sex. Therefore, sex education has no effect on reducing teenage pregnancy (Thomas, 2009).
On the other side of the coin, there is evidence that sex education reduces teenage pregnancies, teenage abortions, and teenage births. Based on a report in California and Ventura County, sex education has greatly reduced the rate of teen births in the United States. The rate of childbirths declined from 36.2 to 34.1 per 1,000 births to teen mothers. In addition, the California Department of Public Health reported that the teens’ birth rates went down from 37.1 in 2007 to 1.9 per 1,000 in 2008.
Trisha Mueller, an epidemiology specialist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) realized that sex education indeed works by delaying teen having sex. This, as a result, brings down the rate of teen pregnancy. Her team conducted a national survey of 2,019 teenagers aged 15-19 in 2002. Their findings indicated that boys had three times the likelihood of using birth control methods compared to those who did not receive sex education. Lastly, teen girls who went through sex education, the possibility of engaging in sexual activity prior to the age of 15 decreased to 59%. For the boys, the risk of having sex before the age of 15 reduced to 71% compared to those without sex education. These numbers may look small to some, but they represent the hope that one-day teen sex, teen pregnancy, and teen abortion will one day reduce to pleasant levels (Parish, 2013).
b. CSE Reduces Rate of Teen HIV/AIDS and Other STIs
Sex is the most common mode of HIV/AIDS and STI transmission. The fewer teens have sex the fewer teens will contact STIs. STIs can also be transmitted via kissing. Sex education provides teens with information to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS and other STIs. Sex education teaches teens the importance of using condoms and getting their partner tested for STIs prior to having sex with them. Abstinence and remaining faithful to one partner are also taught in sex education classrooms.
c. CSE Protects Children and Teens
The world has become a twisted and dangerous place for children and teens. Children and teens are vulnerable to dropping out of school – especially for girls, sexual harassment/abuse, child pornography, and STD infection; and for girls, embarrassment and low self-esteem coming from teen births or abortions. Sex education provides them with invaluable lessons about sex.
It would be wrong if children and teens learn about sex from the wrong sources. Children who use the internet or watch pornography have a risk of being victims of child pornography. If we cannot protect our children who will? If we do not teach our children about sex they may seek alternative sources of education, some of which are dangerous and morally degrading.
Children and teens need protecting f rom dangers associated with teen sex. One of the best ways to go about it is to teach them about sex. Comprehensive Sex Education should be taught in public schools because it provides children and teens with good and correct information.
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