The more you know: Sex education leads to prevention, not promiscuity

Andrea Mendes

Whether it be a new school, a new group of friends, a drivers license, a difficult set of classes, or even sex, high school boasts many decisions and changes for student. Naturally, we want all the facts to make the most educated decisions. But, what if we’re not getting the whole story?
The issue over whether to teach sex education in schools remains a hot debate topic. In many cases, parents wish to solely be responsible for educating their children on sex and sex-related topics. On the other hand many teachers, administrators, and parents feel that education is the only means of decreasing teen pregnancy.

Although teen pregnancy has been in decline at the national level, in recent years, Texas is still at the top of the list in teen-pregnancy rates. Despite the state remaining at the top, little has been done to change the numbers.

In reality, most middle schools devote only a short period of time to sex education, and rarely do the lessons carry into high school where the majority of teen pregnancy occurs. While it’s important to target students before they become sexually active, continued lessons are essential in ensuring awareness on the subject.

Like many states, Texas continues to encourage abstinence as its only form of education and protection for students. While abstinence should be taught as the only 100 percent effective way to avoid teen pregnancy and the transmittance of sexual diseases, realistically sex education should expand beyond a contract promising that individuals will wait until marriage.Students are severely limited if their only understanding of sex is that they are required to wait until marriage to prevent those complications.

In theory abstinence education is the only information students need to protect themselves, but in reality, a large number of students do not and will not abstain from sex. Education should extend past abstinence to prevent these students from harming themselves and others. Proper education on methods that prevent pregnancy could include but are not limited to birth control and condoms. Students should also be well informed on STD’s and STI’s, knowing how to detect them, how they spread, the risks that come with contracting them, as well as nearby centers to get tested. Along with this, students should be informed on centers that help with teen pregnancy and offer contraceptive devices. While many opponents of sex education beyond abstinence argue that information leads to increases in sex, it is the duty of administrators and teachers to assist in protecting students and this entails proper education.

By failing to give proper guidance to students we limit their abilities to make informed decisions on their own and as a result, adverse effects due to lack of information may occur. Additionally, having a solid understanding of sex education goes beyond middle and high school and extends to after you are married; proper education is required to ensure safety for the rest of your life.

Ultimately it’s up to you to each individual to make the right decisions for themselves and their future, but as a state, we should at least ensure they have all the facts first.