by Jessi H '11

To Teach Safe Sex? Or No Sex at All?

Sex. A simple idea but is somehow hard to teach. All around America different methods are being used to teach kids about sex. States have free reign to decide their own ways. Some choose to preach purely abstinence while others broaden students’ education with ways to practice safe sex.
Teaching abstinence can have advantages as well as disadvantages that go along with it.  Cynthia Soto, tenth grade, says,  “It might remind kids that they have other options besides sex.”  However, tenth grader, Jackie Florio, brings up the point that, “kids are going to do it anyway, so teachers really should try to make it safe.” In many states, including Texas and Ohio, teachers make abstinence seem like the only option. They do not bother teaching any precautions for pregnancy or STDs, as they see no alternative to abstinence.
Teaching safe sex can also have its advantages and disadvantages. Amy Augello, tenth grade, believes, “a lot of kids don’t realize the consequences of sex, so sexual education can help with that.” In addition, Dylan Diaz, eleventh grade, thinks, “no one is going to stay abstinent.” Teachers who explain safe sex clarify all of the options and ways that teenagers can make sure they are having safe sex. This type of teaching educates teens on how to make smart choices, without supporting sexual activity.
Although in New York teachers are instructed to educate teens about safe sex, in other states, sex education is done very differently. Students are taught that sex is bad and that it is a horrible task for teens to perform before they are married. In Ohio, students are not offered condoms and sometimes not even taught about the various methods of protection.
Yet what is more important, is the rate of teen pregnancies in these states. This can show people which method is more affective, abstinence or teaching safe sex. The ten states with the greatest number of teen pregnancies is Nevada with 113,000, Arizona with 104,000, Mississippi with 103,000, New Mexico with 103,000, Texas, with 101,000 Florida with 97,000, California with 96,000, Georgia with 95,000, North Carolina with 95,000 and Arkansas with 93,000 pregnant teens (ages fifteen to nineteen) per year.
One state, Mississippi, does not require that sexual education is even taught at their schools. Teens may never be shown the different ways to ensure safe sex. Texas, another of these states, passed a law demanding schools to teach abstinence only.  In addition, schools in New Mexico are infamous for their weak sexual education programs. These recently discovered statistics all point to one idea: sexual educations can be very important for preventing teen pregnancy. Many students rely on these programs to teach them about safe sex, and schools must fulfill their obligation to them.

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