More attention should be paid to sex ed in public schools, as, when it is done right, it can provide useful information that has real-world applications that can change an individual’s behavior in a positive way.
Hannah Costanzo is a freshman studying at the University of South Carolina. She has lived in South Carolina her entire life.
We all agree that people need to be educated in order to be high-functioning members of society. If a person went through school but did not learn how to do basic arithmetic, everyone would say that their school has failed them. However, if they go through school and do not learn about what is happening with their own bodies, the public generally says “Oh, their parents will tell them all they need to know. If not, the internet will.”
Schools are a trusted source of information, as students (rather correctly) believe that what their teachers tell them is the truth. Students should have the best information available in every subject, including health and sex ed. They should not have to resort to Wikipedia to answer their questions.
I am fortunate, as my sex ed experience was quite adequate, unlike in many of the school districts across the state. Each year in middle school we had a few weeks of gym class dedicated to health education. There was a week about nutrition and exercise, a week about CPR and what to do in certain emergencies, a week about substance abuse, and a week and a bit for sex ed. The class was divided by gender, and it took place in a musty room in the gym’s basement. It was taught by a gym teacher (a lady) who was very nice and helpful in answering questions. The main focus of the class was the anatomy, but there was information about STI’s and more of the nitty gritty details. It was a bit awkward, but that’s to be expected. I do not remember specifically if methods of birth control other than abstinence were mentioned, but if someone asked a question about it, they would have gotten an honest answer.
In high school, however, it was a bit different. There was a sex ed week during gym, but you could have your parent sign a form exempting you from it, which is what the majority of students did. The few who did take it said that it was informational and useful, but I can’t say that from personal experience.
Sure, the classes could have been better, if more time was dedicated and more information given, but it could have been a lot worse. If there was a health education requirement for graduation from high school, more time and resources would have gone into the class. However, since there is not a health education requirement, many school districts all but ignore sex ed altogether. I am grateful that I did receive the knowledge I did, as it was actually helpful to me in real life. I did not have to resort to the internet too much to answer my questions.
More attention should be paid to sex ed in public schools, as, when it is done right, it can provide useful information that has real-world applications that can change an individual’s behavior in a positive way. It did for me, at least.