There are four basic operations of elementary arithmetic. They include addition and multiplication. There are two more but don’t worry about those. You’ll never need to use them.
It’s ridiculous to think that school districts would choose to teach their students only part of a math 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?
Omaha Senator Brenda Council has proposed LB192, which would require all Nebraska public schools to teach comprehensive sex education. The bill would replace the decision for school districts to independently decide what kind of sex education is offered. LB192 was proposed 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.
Many proponents of abstinence-only education argue that by teaching students comprehensive sex ed, schools are encouraging it. Yet the abstinence-only method doesn’t seem to be discouraging students. 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. 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.
Those that believe that sex education should be up to parents aren’t completely wrong. Parents should be discussing sex with their children but unfortunately, not all do. If sex education is left to parents, many will simply never mention sex and hope their child learns somewhere else.
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 young. 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.