Sex Education Essay

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.

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“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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