DARE worked in elementary school because of the demographic. For fifth graders, “Don’t do drugs” is enough. Addiction hotlines and safe drug practices aren’t applicable to 10 year olds, at least not for themselves. However, look how many kids signed the drug-free pledge, and have done the opposite.My point is, “Just say no” may work for kids, but not for teenagers.
The only sex education I have received was in middle school, and I would barely call it education what with its cowardly and somewhat religious approach to the topic of sex. We were shown pictures of STDs, nasty lesions and sores that of course sixth graders would associate as “bad”. Then we were told that in order not to get these infections, we shouldn’t have sex. This is completely true, and I’m not going to argue that. The only way to 100 percent prevent pregnancy and STDs is to not have sex.
Even so, it is ignorant to think that telling high schoolers not to have sex at all is going to be the end of it. This practice is irresponsible. Teenagers have sex. So wouldn’t it be better to properly educate them beforehand, instead of berating them for indulging in human nature? Because there are other ways to prevent STDs and pregnancy. Sex education should provide a comprehensive rundown of the different types of contraception, from condoms, the birth control pill, spermicide, and many others. However, most programs focus on prevention rather than protection.
Teaching only abstinence does not lower teen pregnancy rates. In fact, according to the University of Georgia, it could do the opposite. “The states with the lowest teen pregnancy rates were the ones with a comprehensive sex and/or HIV education class that touched on abstinence as a method of birth control as well as other forms of contraception and condom use.” Even though correlation does not equal causation, it is safe to assume that there is a connection between the two. So why are schools ignoring this? They should be more concerned about the safety of their students. Schools are playing it safe to avoid controversy and conflict with parents, and there are consequences to this.
Another issue with our current society is that in many places, sex, especially for young people, is considered taboo. Letting students know that it’s natural and valid opens the door for better communication and trust. Because simply telling them not to can lead to a fear of getting in trouble if something were to happen. I know that abstinence is a part of certain religions and cultures, and that is perfectly fine.
But if we shy away from sex education in general, when are they supposed to learn? When they are too far to go back? Especially if they’re not being taught safe sex practices by their parents. At the end of the day, it’s better to give and educate students about condoms than to figure out what to do with a baby. To me, it’s so ridiculous that student’s concerns and questions are being silenced because the school doesn’t want to address it. Education must be provided to all, and schools with abstinence education aren’t doing their civic duty to students.
Also, sex not being openly talked about in a high school setting can be repressive to students. If teens are having sex, and are being taught abstinence, it creates a barrier between the students and faculty, and in some cases, shames students for things they do themselves. Especially in more conservative and religious areas, this divide can cause students to feel uncomfortable and embarrassed, which should never happen in an educational setting. We should be supporting students and helping them live their best lives, not tearing them down for being human.
Having proper sex education in schools will benefit students by not forcing abstinence on them. High school should be a time for students to learn about sexual health, as well as different types of contraception, and different trustworthy and helpful resources in case they need it.