What Happened to Sex Education In Our Local Schools?
Sex education, although a topic of discomfort for some, certainly appears to be a worthwhile measure to consider if we are as motivated to eliminate barriers to college success as we say we are. The average 14 year old girl looks old enough to pass for 21+ given physique and makeup/hair applications that mimic the popular social media and reality television shows. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen images of teen boys accused of some form of sexual misconduct while I peruse the city’s digital media news outlet, nola.com.
The depth of this topic goes beyond proper wearing of condoms. With so many concerns regarding consent, sexual abuse, drug use and healthy relationships, etc., schools need to take a deeper look at considering the implications of not introducing and truly educating young people on the legal and health ramifications involved with dating, sex and relationships.
As suggested in a 2016 report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention focusing on race and geographic disparities, “Community-level interventions that address the social conditions associated with high teen birth rates might further reduce racial/ethnic and geographic teen birth disparities in the United States.”
This conclusion was drawn following data that identified the following:
In 2014, the teen birth rate remained approximately twice as high for Hispanic and non-Hispanic black (black) teens compared with non-Hispanic white (white) teens (3), and geographic and socioeconomic disparities remain (3,4), irrespective of race/ethnicity. Social determinants associated with teen childbearing (e.g., low parental educational attainment and limited opportunities for education and employment) are more common in communities with higher proportions of racial and ethnic minorities (4), contributing to the challenge of further reducing disparities in teen births.
STDs and HIV
Additionally, Louisiana ranks #2 in the country for reported cases of Chlamydia (679.3 per 100,000 population) and Gonorrhea(230.8 per 100,000 population) according to a 2016 CDC report.
And even more alarming, the Louisiana Department of Health’s reports that “from 2013 to 2015, youth age 15-24 years old accounted for 26% of all new HIV diagnoses in the state.”
These hard facts provide a multitude of reasons why we as a community need to be doing more to combat this.
According to the New Orleans Sexual Assault Response Team, 44% of all sexual assault victims are under age 18,15% under age 12.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) reports:
The effects of child sexual abuse can be long-lasting and affect the victim’s mental health. Victims are more likely than non-victims to experience the following mental health challenges:
- About 4 times more likely to develop symptoms of drug abuse
- About 4 times more likely to experience PTSD as adults
- About 3 times more likely to experience a major depressive episode as adults
With such clear indicators as to why sex education would not only benefit students, families and the country’s economics, why don’t more schools allow sex education to be part of the students’ curriculum?
A parent survey from Louisiana’s Geauxtalk.org gathered the responses of Louisiana parents and their opinions about sexual education within their children’s schools.
Some noteworthy points are:
9 out of 10 Louisiana parents surveyed want their children to be taught
- How to deal with peer pressure to have sex
- How HIV/AIDS and other STDs can be prevented
- Other topics related to sexual health like the spread and prevention of HIV/AIDS & STDs
More than 80% of Louisiana parents believe their kids should be taught about self-esteem building, healthy relationships and peer pressure in order to empower them to make informed decisions about sex.
87% of Louisiana parents want their children to learn about healthy and unhealthy relationships.
84% of Louisiana parents agree the basics of puberty and reproduction should be taught in schools.
Click here to review more of the results from Geaux Talk and read great tips on how to get the conversation started at home as well as what we as parents and community members can do to get our local schools to implement Comprehensive Sex Education programs into the curriculum.