I come from Madison Wisconsin, which some of you know is an extremely liberal town. My Sex-education consisted of “Going through Puberty” lectures in 4th and 5th grade, Family and Consumer Education (FACE) class in middle school and a 9th grade health class. Looking back the elementary school lectures did a great job in explaining the “changes” that everyone was going through, but the FACE classes were a joke. FACE was only taught for one quarter of the school year, and the other three quarters of the year were filled with art, shop, etc. What time we did spend in FACE class, only a fraction actually involved sex-ed. What we were taught was more of an anatomy class and nothing on contraceptives and STDs. The bulk of the class was filled up with video days of after school specials on alcoholism and learning how to properly make Chex-mix. Then there was the semester of Health class freshman year of high school. This program did teach us a lot on STD’s (their transmission, effects, and prevention) and pregnancy. However, I feel that Health class failed to teach more real life aspects of being sexual active, especially homosexuality. In addition I didn’t have any adults to go to; I was afraid what my parents would think and the health teacher seemed distant and critical. The Internet became my resource to answer questions like what a dental dam is and used for, where to get condoms (besides the one day out of the year they handed them out in the halls), how long does it take for sperm to die, etc. When I came to the U, I experienced culture shock in what others had received as sex-ed, and once again in discussing it with my group members. I feel lucky for what seemed to me the little I did receive. In addition in hearing of the current administrations views of abstinence only sex-ed, I become outraged and scared for kids who aren’t hearing the consequences of being sexually active.
I feel sex-ed should start early. Children should be taught about puberty and their bodies in 3rd grade, and should start their sex-ed in 5th. Once every quarter and one semester in high school is not enough (I’ve heard that FACE class isn’t even around anymore.) I think there should be at least, a sex-ed class for a total of one year in middle school, and a yearlong class in high school. Abstinence only sex-ed is going to do more harm then good. Teens are going to be sexually active no matter what you teach in them in school. Being abstinence can be taught as a 100% prevention technique, but there HAS TO BE OTHER OPTIONS. I personally feel that handing out condoms in public schools does not increase teen sexuality. Teens have always had sex, and will continue to do so. Taking away education of effective birth control methods isn’t going to stop this “teen sex epidemic,” its only going to increase the transmission of STD’s and teenage pregnancy. In addition there should be education on homosexuality and transsexuals. The absence of these subjects only increases the alienation and xenophobic response that these individuals are subjected to. Lastly there should be a fulltime advisor/counselor in each school that students can come to with ask questions, get condoms, and advice.