To be frank, it was more difficult to recall my K-12 sex education experiences than to write a blog concerning current legislation, trends and facts about reproductive health issues. Why so difficult? My sex education experience outside of classes during my undergraduate studies is vague and distant in the mind.
I went to decent middle school, actually a great middle school, a school of the arts in South Carolina. While we acquired a fond appreciation for knowing the steps of the Arabian dance in the Nutcracker, the proper storage for handbells, and the history of theater something was missing--a focus on how to protect ourselves for sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies and a wide range of consequences from lacking proper sexual health education. Luckily for me, I learned about these things at home. Mom was sure to sit me down, have open and honest conversations, and even used books for pictures and support. Even dad accomplished the task that tends to haunt most fathers--necessary sexual health conversations with their “little girl.”
The problem is that everyone does not have these same conversations at home. When youth don’t learn about sex education at home they learn from peers, television, music and unfortunately trial and error. This trial could end in a life altering sexual transmitted disease or a premature pregnancy for a young girl that had the world before her with no reservation.
Reproductive health education is something that deserves as much attention as any other aspect of public education. How can we expect our youth to be productive in school when they don’t understand what is going on with their bodies? Reproductive health is a public health issue, especially in South Carolina where we rank 8th in the nation for highest rate of AIDS and 12th in the nation for teen pregnancy. Before we can expect our young adults to contribute to our state we must contribute to their education.