Birth Control Education Birth Control Education The issue of birth control being taught and/or distributed in public schools is one worth debating. In biology and health classes students are educated in reproduction and sexuality, but not about such birth control methods such as condoms and birth control pills. While parents may touch briefly on the topic, some feel too embarrassed to discuss it with their children or deem it unnecessary. This is a very bad course of action because the world is now teaming with hormonally driven teenagers lacking vital information about personal safety. They have a longing to practice the oldest instinct that humans possess, which is to procreate.
The schools have no reason to not be teaching the other, more important, half of sex education. This action makes as little sense as learning how to add, but not subtract. The city is only one of the many facing this problem in the face. It is a problem that knows no class, religion, or gender. If every community took it upon themselves to address this issue with youth, then they could eliminate a national problem.
It is easy to see that lack of knowledge concerning birth control is a sever problem facing todays youth. While the teen pregnancy rate is far lower than it has been in the past, the number of teens infected by sexually transmitted diseases is on the rise. Half of sex education is not enough. Even though 98% of students get sexuality education, 55% of them still have questions concerning birth control methods, the prevention of STDs, and how to purchase protection confidentially. The challenge of STD prevention in the United States is clearly illustrated by the fact that 85% of the most common infectious diseases in the U.S.A.
are spread sexually. This is the highest out of all the industrialized nations in the world. Why, in the U.S. the rates of infection are 50- 100 times greater than in any other of the industrialized nation. A friend of mine, whom we will call Miss. Q for confidentiality reasons, is a product of this backwards teaching.
Miss. Q is a freshman in college, and was visiting home for thanksgiving this past year. While reading an article in a womans magazine regarding birth control she crossed a term she did not recognize. It turned out to be a term for a method of birth control, which she found out when she asked her mother, who was horrified to discover her 19-year-old daughter, had never been exposed to the word before. Miss.
Qs mother assumed that her child was taught this either in biology or health class, so she had never bothered to discuss it with her. However, after this revelation she sat down with her daughter and had a long in depth talk about the topic. Stories like this one can be heard all over the country. Even in towns that offer easy access to birth control to students, this problem plagues the community. Take St. Paul Minnesota for example.
With a prescription/voucher from a doctor, a student can go pick up protection from a local free clinic. However, 80% of the male students and 30% of the female students who receive such a prescription never go to pick them up. A recent survey in St. Paul discovered an alarming statistic that two out of every ten boys is or has been infected with chlamydia. In fact, teens 15-19 years old accounted for 41% of chlamydia cases and 32% of gonorrhea cases in Ramsey County Minnesota.
Nothing can show us this problem better than a survey from 1995 of 15-24 year old women asked about their use of contraceptives. It was shown that only 37.3% used birth control on a regular basis. In addition to this, only 4.4% regularly used protection against STDs. Another survey from 1990 of women of all ages in this country reported that while 70.7% used protection, only 7.9% used birth control that also protected against STDs. The major reason birth control is not taught in this school district is because nobody has thought of bringing up the question for many years.
The last time the policy of sex education was brought up; there was an overwhelming sense of disapproval from the community. Some parents were even caught making comments on the moral integrity of the school district. Im not happy about this, Im not happy about a school district who says it doesnt matter what your family values are. A mother said this whom has three daughters in the public school system in Oswego who wished to remain anonymous in this paper. This quote highlights another possible cause for the problem, lack of parent involvement. If parents are so set against having birth control added into class discussion, they cannot neglect having a talk about birth control with their children.
Parents who do not know what is involved in a classs curriculum may not have this discussion with their offspring because they just assumed the school taught it. Also, they may feel this a meaningless conversation because, Their kids wont have sex until they are married, they are embarrassed themselves, or they do not think a teenager can handle this mature subject matter. Why should a parent be embarrassed to talk about this you ask? It is because they themselves never got the education. Not only do children not know how different forms of birth control work, but also neither do their parents. Despite years of added experiences and maturity, not all adults know that some forms of birth control only protect against pregnancy, not STDs. This lack of confidence and knowledge gets passed right on down the family tree to the children, and when they become sexually active they wont us proper protection for those reasons, lack of knowledge and embarrassment.
If we do not start educating youth in birth control, the number of 15-19 year olds suffering with sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and HIV will continue to increase by alarming intervals. Youth is lacking vital information that can save their lives, and the lives of others. Recently in Washington the senate appropriations committee approved a $287.6 billion dollar fiscal 1999 spending bill for the Departments of Labor, Health, and Education. However, the president threatened to veto the house bill because its proposed spending cuts and a host of legislative riders on issues like requiring parental notification before minors receive birth control at federally funded clinics. Legislation locally has been limited due to the lack of initiative on behalf of all the people this would benefit.
Right now health teachers at the Oswego high school are prohibited to teach birth control and safe sex, even if the student asks a question about it that pertains to a class discussion. With all the benefits of birth control education why shouldnt it be taught in schools? There are a number of things the school could do in order to help the problem of teenage STD infection. They could institute a condom availability program for example. Having birth control on hand when it is needed is the best way to guarantee its use. To often you hear of kids that are too embarrassed to go buy condoms, or are just too slothful to go get them.
By distributing them in school whether its through going to the school nurse and asking for some, or if you can just go pick one up out of a basket, it can eliminate these feelings of self-consciousness and slothfulness. However, some critics would argue that having condoms around and ready to be used only encourages sexual activity. They would argue that by offering a way to have safe sex, the school district would in fact be promoting sex, which would totally defeat the purpose of the prescription in the first place. Others say that it is not the school districts responsibility to provide protection for sexually active students. After all, this is a program that would cost a good deal of money and time, neither of which public education can currently spare. Of course this is not the only road available for the school district to take. There are many alternatives to handing out condoms in school, such as offering workshops on the topic.
The school could offer after school classes about the different types of birth control available, and its use. Many teachers would argue that there is not time to include anything else into a classs curriculum, so offering a class after school would be a great option. Students could attend if they wished to so the morality issue would not be a problem, and the school nurse, a health teacher, or a doctor whovolunteered their time could teach the class. Of course there is always the issue of money when it come to use of school facilities after school is out for the day, and there wouldnt be a guarantee that anyone would be willing to teach the class. Another possible downfall would be lack of participation in the class.
Students may avoid attending such classes for fear their friends would label them promiscuous. (I use the term promiscuous in this paper only for tact purposes; accurate vocabulary used by students would be repugnant.) Then once again you have to factor in student laziness, and other student activities such as sports to the low class sizes. So clearly the costs of this program would out weigh the benefits, so this brings us to a final choice, actually adding birth control education in with what is already learned in health class. By having the school district add birth control education to the high schools health curriculum we have the opportunity to teach everyone about birth control since it is a mandatory class for graduation. This is the only way to ensure that the entire student body will know what their options are, how they work and are used, and they wont be as nervous when the time comes to discuss birth control with their partner. This change would also include learning in depth about STDs, including the symptoms of them, after all, the early detection you have the more likely a chance of getting better.
The option of having a doctor or nurse come in and teaching this lesson would be open, seeing as how some of the teachers would not be up to par on this topic, or have a moral objection to teaching it. It is clearly obvious that this is the preferred policy since the costs can so easily be avoided and the benefits are so great. This preferred policy would get a lot of support from many groups, especially the Student AIDS Awareness Group. This is a group of students that devote their time to terminating the AIDS virus, which is spread by many means including sexually. Also, as students they would be directly affected by the change.
By being a group they hold more power than a lone student. People are more likely to listen to a large group than one person, so this gives them the power of persuasion. This is a group whose only goal is to halt the spread of the AIDS virus, so this would be number one on their list of priorities. By teaching classes about birth control the number of new cases of HIV, which causes AIDS, could be fewer then ever before. Another group likely to support this class just as much as the Students AIDS groups is the parents of high school students.
This is a class that has the potential of saving their childrens lives down the road, so they would be behind it 100%. Unfortunately the education of their children sometimes has to take a backseat to issues such as bills, and careers, so they are not always be aware of what is, or is not being taught to their offspring. Nevertheless, little else is as important to them as their childs well-being and safety. Whats more they are the voters, and taxpayers in the community and they have the right to determine what their children should and should not be taught, whither it is they themselves who vote on the appropriateness of the subject matter, or whom they select as the board of education members. One last group that would defiantly be in favor of these classes is family doctors and gynecologists.
These are the people who see first hand the effects that STDs and pregnancy have on youth. They are the ones …