Alex Hunt
Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:29am

The topic I have settled on for my issue paper is sex education in the public school system. I believe that all schools have some type of program regarding sex education, but the challenge is finding the best approach to informing young people about sex. There are two main ways to approach the issue.

One side is to instill in teens that sex is not an experience to engage in until they are adults and can make more responsible decisions. By preaching abstinence to these adolescents, we may be able to reduce the rate of teen pregnancies and STD contraction. If you donít have sex, you canít get pregnant. The problem with this is that some people will still engage in sexual activity, and they may find themselves ill-informed about proper birth control. This would in turn result in the opposite effect, and could actually increase the risk of teen pregnancy and STD contraction. That is where the other side of the argument comes in.

The second side is that the public school system should teach students about proper forms of birth control, and how to go about having the safest sex possible. This involves things such as the classic ďput a condom on a banana.Ē With this type of sex education program, young people who are having sex will hopefully be at less risk on unwanted consequences from sex, because they will have the knowledge to make smarter decisions in their sex lives.

Diving further into the issue, putting aside the students need for education, there are moral and religious components of the argument as well. Strict Catholics and other religions are forbidden by God to engage in sexual activities before marriage. There may be some students who find it offensive or antisemetic to talk about condoms and lubricant in a school setting. This could open another can of worms for the school systems. If the students are forced to learn about something that goes against their religious beliefs in order to pass school, the results could be less than satisfactory.

Morally, some parents feel that they are the ones who should speak to their children about sex. They donít want teachers, who may be strangers to the parents, to be the ones parents rely on to inform their children on such an important topic.

Another point is that students all mature at different rates. Personally, I had a sex education class at the end of my fifth grade year. My program was abstinence based, where essentially we learned how an egg gets fertilized, that STDs existed, and not to have sex. In fifth grade I was ten or eleven years old. Itís hard to say if I was mature enough at ten to sit in a room with my peers, put a condom on a fruit, knowing it was simulating my dick, and actually get something out of it. However, I can definitely think of a few kids I went to school with who I would not have recommended that kind of class to at that age. There is nothing wrong with the fact that some childrenís minds mature more slowly than others, but childhood is a delicate time and for some it may be too shocking or uncomfortable. Then again, the solution is to push back the time of the sex education class to middle school, or perhaps even freshman year or high school. The argument could go back and forth a million times over.

I think the greatest challenge of this paper will be keeping my own opinions out of it. Personally, I think it is ridiculous to have a program that tells kids, ďdonít ever have sex.Ē If that is the point of the class, then it shouldnít even exist because bringing attention to sex and making it a big deal, in my opinion, will do nothing but spark interest. The kids who are going to have sex are going to have sex, and the kids who arenít going to wonít. Either way, sex exists, and in public school the students who donít have sex will still be exposed to it, and hear about it happening. I think it will be a challenge for me to find solid support for abstinence only programs that really make me think, and that I canít find easy ways to disagree with.

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