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Comprehensive Sex Education in Public Schools: Essential for Preventing Teenage Pregnancy and STDs

Jan 22, 2023 | 0 comments

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Jan 22, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


It is sometimes shocking to listen to a parent who complains when a school teaches their children about sexual education. Moreover, it is hard to understand why many parents, guardians agree for the children to be taught other subjects such as history, science, mathematics among others, yet when biology further engages in sexual education they high oppose it. Ciment (2013) asserted that many parents constantly live in denial by saying that their children do not have sex, and somehow saying that they will handle it when the right time comes. As much as many states have mandated inclusion of sex education into their sex education curricula, many are still cautiously treading on the matter. According to Haffner et al (2012), whether it is abstinence or safe sex practices, all the sex issues must be addressed in an educational setting because from the statistics, the rates of teenage pregnancy, and sexually transmitted disease, there is no doubt that sex education in public schools is much needed. As much as critics would oppose sex education in public schools and argue that it cannot prevent teenage pregnancies, this proposal is for the opinion that by knowing more about a sex education topic is essential than knowing less.

Background of the problem

From the beginning of the 1970s, Kenny and Alexander (2009) indicate that there has been a great concern about teen pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. This great concern galvanized support widely from the public on sex education in public schools. According to Koop (2010), currently most states have policies that require HIV education in addition to broader sex education. However, as the debate over the advantages of abstinence until marriage over other comprehensive approaches has continued to intensify, with different states enacting a number of requirements that are content specific.

There have been many previous attempts to introduce sex education in many public schools. In 2012, New York State mandated sex education for students in public high and middle schools in New York City. The curriculum included the appropriate age for any form of sexual activity and how to use a condom (Gambrell and Haffner, 2003). CDC (2013) pointed out that by 2011, about 20 districts and states in Columbia had mandated HIV and sex education in schools. On the New York City, the mandate went beyond the requirements of state that high and middle school students take one semester classes in health education.

Those against to sex education in public schools advocate abstinence among the teenagers. Abstinence is the safest method amongst all measures of sex, but accepting reality is significant. Abma et al (2007) pointed out that students even in middle school levels are engaging in oral sex but in reality it is not included as sex. If young children as young as middle level children are engaging in oral sex, then sex education is important to educate them that having sex without any form of protection can be dangerous and life threatening, and life-altering.

According to Forrest and Silverman (2014), more than 750,000 girls in united states aged between 15-19 ears become pregnant yearly, of which 80% of them are unintended pregnancies. 19million young people aged between 15-25 years contract STDs annually while 2 young people aged 13-29 in United States contract Hive very hour (Forrest and Silverman, 2014). Forrest and Silverman (2014) further stated that teenagers who receive comprehensive sex education are 50% less likely to get pregnant unintentionally compared to those who receive sex education on contraception-only or abstinence-only programs. In many sex education programs in United States, pledges of virginity are abstain promises from sexual intercourse till marriage. However, studies indicate that pledges just like the non-pledgers like to have STDs. In addition, when they become active sexually, they are less likely to use the contraception.in the year 2000, emergency contraception usage in United States prevented 51,000 abortions. Mayer (2013) also observed that almost 80% of parents support comprehensive sexual education to their children that include sexual orientation information. Similarly, CWA (2010) also observed that 100% of junior high school students parents agree that HIV/AIDs is a good topic to be included for sexual education curriculums. Furthermore, 90% of parents in high school and junior high students believe that it is very important or somewhat important for inclusion of sexual education in the curriculum. However, the problem can be solved by adequately sensitizing the teenagers early enough to be on the knowhow.

Educating the young ones early can prevent some of the teenage pregnancies, and contracting STDs. Sexual repression culture in America can be described as immature and naïve. Napier (2011) asserted that the delusional thinking amongst most people around sex derives its basis from puritanical dogma that bullies people to believe that anything sexual is a sin. However, this is not to support or encourage teenage sex, but critical thinking asserts that teenagers will have, and are having sex. Therefore, rather than fighting the inevitable, it is prudent to do everything that will ensure that the teenagers are having sex.

The problem is solvable through comprehensive sexual education and emergency contraception that have proven both to reduce unintended pregnancy rate and contracting STDs.

Mandatory comprehensive Sex education classes in public schools is essential in the fight against teenage pregnancy and in the prevention of the spread of STDs among the teenagers. Educating or teaching young children about sex as a young as 11 years enlightens them about the risks associated with unprotected sex, to the puberty issues and also issues surrounding pregnancy. The young students especially the high schoolers will be taught how to use condoms properly in a bid to prevent the spread of STDs and unwanted pregnancies (Forrest and Silverman, 2014). Comprehensive sex education should also be done in collaboration with health resources centers, hospitals and other health bodies. Similarly, as CDC (2013) indicated, sex education should also involve parents in some cases especially seeking the consent of the parents on issues such as methods of birth control. Moreover, sex education should also incorporates lessons on skills like how to resist sexual advances from a partner when a student is not ready for it. Additionally, how to avoid relationships that are abusive is also an important part of comprehensive sexual education is vital to get support and commitment from public schools to ensure both high school and middle school students get exposure to the valuable information about sex education to help them in keeping safe when and before they decide to engage in sexual activities (Kirby et al, 2012).

Comprehensive sex education is helpful to the teenagers in educating them about sex to avoid experimenting and learning them from the streets. According to Ciment (2013), the delusional thinking amongst most parents is that providing the high school and middle high school students with a comprehensive sex educations in their schools will be a public endorsement of sexual activity amongst the teenagers. However, the reality of the matter is when the children are not taught about sex, they are forced to learn it from the streets that are very dangerous. Koop (2010) stated that the objective reality is that teenagers always have sex and will go on having sex whether we like it or not. America’s CDC indicated that 47.4% of high school students in their lifetime have had sex. An average teenager in United States has been exposed in his or her life to more sexually explicit magazines, games, movies and sexual materials. They are constantly bombard with sex with sex education is the only thing lacking. Similarly, Haffner et al (2012) indicated that the young children in public schools learn love making through pornography yet the parents or the guardians are immature emotionally to educate the kids about sex. For a great country claiming to be progressive only to have 22 states having mandated their public schools to teach their students about sex education is a big embarrassment. Moreover, Kenny and Alexander (2009) argued that most public schools shy away from having sex educations and others still debates whether or not to provide condoms to the children and whether it will promote sexual promiscuity amongst teenagers. Napier (2011) stated that condoms do not promote promiscuity and giving condoms to the students does not promote them to have sex but to have safe sex.

Comprehensive sex education to young children in public schools will be beneficial to the young children since they will get instructions on human sexuality that are age appropriate, the side effects , health benefits and proper use of the contraceptives approved and lessons to help the teenagers in high and middle schools make responsible decisions about relationships and sexuality. According to Abma et al (2007), sex education in public schools can properly teach the young children about most reliable abstinence method to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies amongst teenagers.

As much as this proposal is for sex education in public schools, there have been also the objections to sex education in public schools, with some opponents proposing alternative methods of solving the problem. Some of the alternative methods forwarded include promotion of abstinence. Gambrell and Haffner (2003) argued that comprehensive education programs principally focussed on teaching the students about safer sex techniques and contraception and that it provides no or little instruction on abstinence. Furthermore, the abstinence proponents critiqued comprehensive sexual education in public schools that it condone homosexuality, undermine parental authority and teach the young students how to have sex. The proof is high pregnancy rates among adolescents, out-of –wedlock pregnancies, STDs are proofs of conventional sex education widespread failure.

Based on several studies, these allegations are unfounded and lack merit. For example, in a survey conducted in 1988, 9 out of 10 sexuality education teachers in grades 7 to 12 reported that as part of their curriculum, they taught the children about abstinence (Forrest et al, 1989). Additionally, in 1994 CDC survey found out that 78% of private and public school teachers in classes of educational health include in their rationale for instruction for choosing abstinence. This is higher compared to 56% who discusses the condom efficacy in HIV prevention and 37% who teaches condoms correct use (CDC, 1996). Furthermore, several studies indicated that sexual intercourse amongst the teenage students who attended the sexual education classes after the presentation did not increase. the program presentation need abstinence discussion, disease prevention, contraception, decision-making skills, and lastly the skills for communication to assist the students in resisting unwanted or risky sexual activities (Kirby et al, 1995)

Apart from pushing for instruction in abstinence, opponents of sex education pushes for explicit parental consent in sexual education classes as opposed to the passive consent. While this appears to be an attack on comprehensive sex education in schools, the proponents of comprehensive sex education believe that the ultimate goal driving such kind of proposals is the elimination of sex education from the public schools.


In summary, the essay proposes sex education in public schools because of its importance to the young students in middle and high schools. There have been many previous attempts to introduce comprehensive sex education in public schools before in the form of health education classes and other sex education classes by law. So far, there are only 22 states that have mandated sex education in their public schools with New York City being instrumental. Introduction of comprehensive sex education in public schools to tackle problems about teenage sex is solvable and workable. The essay believes that it would significantly help in reduction of teenage pregnancies, contraction and spread of STDs, educate the teenagers about sex to avoid learning them from the streets, and for educational purposes. As much as there are proponents of sex education in public schools, it has also been opposed in equal measure from the proponents of abstinence methods, and those who propose parental consent before any sex education. As much as their arguments have been discredited, the essay believes that their ultimate goal is to eliminate sex education in public schools. The essay, therefore encourages people to embrace sex education in public schools to enlighten the teenagers about their sexuality, to have a healthy sex life, avoid unwanted pregnancies and build their future constructively. Sex education is the only bridge to the future and a prosperous sexual health of young students in public schools.

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