What They Don’t Know Will Hurt Them

There are eight planets in the solar system. They include: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter. There are three more, but don’t worry about those. They’re not important.

It would be ridiculous to think that school districts would choose to teach their students only a certain part of a science curriculum. Why then is it okay for school districts to mandate that abstinence-only sex education be taught, if it does not fully cover the basics of sex?

In Nebraska, schools are not required to teach comprehensive sex education and many choose to teach sex education with an emphasis on abstinence. Teens are not getting the whole story.

Omaha Senator Brenda Council has proposed LB192, which would require Nebraska schools to teach comprehensive sex education to their students. The bill would replace the decision for school districts to independently decide what kind of sex education is offered in their schools. Council proposed the bill in response to the high sexually transmitted disease rate in Douglas County, where Omaha is located. Douglas County STD rates greatly exceed the national rate for both gonorrhea and chlamydia.

With 75 percent of Americans admitting to having had premarital sex before they’re 20 years old, it should surprise no one that teen pregnancy and STD’s have become quite common. How do teenagers prevent getting an STD if they don’t know the basics of contraception devices, something they would know if they were in a comprehensive sex education class.

Many proponents of abstinence-only education argue that by teaching students comprehensive sex education, schools are encouraging it. Yet the abstinence-only method doesn’t seem to be discouraging them. Study after study reports that the majority of teens have premarital sex. As a society, we are failing them if we don’t try to teach them the facts about what they’re getting themselves into.

LB192 would require all Nebraska schools to teach comprehensive sex education but not all students would have to take the class. Students could opt out with a parent’s permission. How is this any different than abstinence-only education? The students whose parents oppose comprehensive sex ed will remove them from the class, thus eliminating their chance to learn the things they need to know about sex. Sex education should not only be required for all Nebraska schools, but also all Nebraska students.

Nebraska should look to the Netherlands for inspiration when considering this new sex education bill. While their methods may be a bit extreme for middle-America, they do work. The Dutch have the lowest teen pregnancy rate in Europe. Why? Because they teach their kids while they’re still young, eliminating the embarrassment for them when they become teenagers. Nebraska may never get to the point of teaching 5-year-old children names of reproductive organs. What we can do is start teaching our students what these Dutch children half their age already know and hopefully help save them the pain of finding out the hard way.

There’s nothing wrong with teaching children abstinence and how to say no to sex, but that’s not all that needs to be said. Teenagers also need to learn about contraceptive methods, STD’s, and what constitutes a healthy relationship. It is the parent’s job to teach their child about morality and religious views. A church is the place to take an oath of virginity. Not a classroom. As far as sex goes, ignorance is not bliss for a teenager.

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About sambates

UNK student, Mormon, Vegetarian View all posts by sambates

2 responses to “What They Don’t Know Will Hurt Them

  • Ralph Hanson

    You’ve got a great topic here and some excellent arguments. Not so sure about first paragraph (and it may actually be wrong….) Let’s go for something livelier.

  • alisonlerae

    I thought your last paragraph was very well written. But what would you say to someone who says that sex education should be up to the parents? There’s many different approaches. Personally, I was just given a book. That was effective for me because I was nerdy, shy, and liked to read. That was about age 10 I believe. I haven’t given much thought to how I’ll approach my future children on the topic, but I definitely think it’s something a parent should bring up before a teacher has to.

    My high school had a comprehensive sex education hcourse. It was taken in 8th grade. One of the exercises we did was to one-by-one sit on a blanket and pretend we had sex with each other. Then the teacher said, “You all have AIDs now.” Super awkward, but very effective.

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