Dear Future President:
A problem I believe needs to be addressed is sex education, or the lack thereof. In the United States public schooling, health and sex education classes are mostly composed of --according to advocatesforyouth.org-- Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage or Abstinence-Plus programs. While it is your own personal choice to engage or not in sexual activities, it is not okay to teach a program that berates and belittles those who do. These programs not only teach the students that sex is a sacred ritual between two people, but it’s also teaches them that sex is a taboo topic that you should be shamed for engaging in. If we are not able to talk about sex like we are able to any other topic, sex is going to continue to be an act in which students are misinformed. Once the Obama administration cut funding for the Abstinence-Only and Abstinence-Plus programs, they created funding for programs that actually are effective. Programs such as Comprehensive Sex Education have been proven to lower teen pregnancy, delay sexual activity, and increase the use of contraceptives, so why are we not embracing the program? Young adults deserve the right to know about their bodies and how to handle situations involving their bodies, which is why we need programs like Comprehensive-Sexual-Education. We need to start conversations about the real facts and that conversation starts with you. You have the power to change our curriculum so I am begging you to do so.
Through research on guttmacher.org, I have found some troubling facts about sex education programs in our country. Not all states require sex education and HIV prevention to be taught in school. Only 24 states and Washington D.C. require that sex education be taught in a student’s curriculum. 2 states only require sex education to be taught. Another 22 states require sex education and HIV protection to be taught. What about the other 2 states and the requirements for their curriculum? Where are their programs? They neither teach sexual education nor HIV prevention. Not only are these numbers baffling, they are embarrassing. We need to do better. With 2 states not even requiring sex education and HIV prevention, thousands of teenagers are collecting information about the practice of sex through other sources, be it television, pornography, books, or even other students which we know are not valid sources because they all are inaccurate and over sexualized.
The young adults moving on from school and going into the real world have no prior knowledge of sex. They know they would either like to participate in or refrain from the act. With this being said, those who decide they would like to participate in sex have no idea how to go about it safely. When they go about sex haphazardly because they weren’t educated, it can lead to STDs or sexual abuse from a partner leading to further transmission of STDs and negative lifelong psychological effects. They have been denied their educational right to be taught of information that they will utilize in their lives. If we are required to be taught the quadratic formula – which we are not going to be utilizing in our everyday lives – why are we not required to be taught about sex? Sex may not be engaged in everyday for everyone, but everyone deserves to know about the effects it has on them. Without the comprehensive sexual education classes in a student’s curriculum, they won’t be able to wisely make a decision when it comes to sex. What they do know about sex is what the school is teaching them and that isn’t much. The only thing they do know is to abstain from sex until marriage. Even if they do abstain until marriage, they won’t know what is normal and what isn’t which could lead to sexual abuse from their spouse. For these reasons, I am begging you to require comprehensive sexual education in all public schools to protect and inform the young adults of our beautiful country.