PRO: Should schools have ‘the talk’?

Gaby Dinh, Web Editor

The good news is that the number of teenage pregnancies and STDs in America has been steadily declining in recent years. Despite the decreasing numbers, there are still myths and misconceptions teenagers have about sex, which often leads them to make poor decisions. To clear up these misunderstandings, students should receive sex education in schools, where they can get their correct knowledge on the subject.

Sex may be an uncomfortable and controversial topic for many, but it is wrong for teenagers to not be aware of the implications that can occur with underage sex. These teenagers are missing out on a chance to clarify their uncertainties. Despite what some people might assume, many adults are not against sex education being taught in schools. A survey conducted by Hickman-Brown shows that 93 percent of Americans believe that sex education should be taught in high schools.

Those against sex education being taught in schools argue that different families have different beliefs, so parents should be the ones teaching their children about the sensitive topic. However, not all parents are actually willing to discuss this topic with their children. Even if such discourse takes place, some parents may end up giving non-comprehensive information such as choosing to abstain. While there is nothing wrong with telling children to stay away from sex to avoid getting pregnant or contracting a disease, teaching abstinence as the only method of avoiding pregnancy is unrealistic. Whether or not adults want to believe it, statistics reveal that almost one in two teens will have sex in high school; in 2011, roughly 47 percent of high school students reported to have had sexual intercourse, and 40 percent of them had not used condoms according to Childstats.gov. Clearly, most American teens do not have basic understanding of the need for contraceptives or the potential dangers of unprotected sex. It is no wonder America is number one by a long shot in the developed world for teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion.

Currently, there are more states that do not require schools to provide sex education than those that do. In the states that do, teens may only learn about STDs, but not know how to prevent pregnancy other than abstinence. Comprehensive sex education is important and taking a course in school be clear and detailed. Students should be getting information that would debunk any confusion they initially had.  Advocates for Youth report that teenagers who receive a comprehensive sex education are 50 percent less likely to have an unintended pregnancy than those who receive abstinence-only or contraceptive-only education.

There is also the argument that teaching students about sex will lead to increased sexual activity. This is not true. In a study by the World Health Organization of 35 sex education programs around the world, the WHO found no evidence that led to that conclusion.

Adequate sex education is important because it helps give students knowledge that they will need for the rest of their lives. To ensure that people make wiser decisions and avoid making reckless choices, high schools must make sex education a required course.