Whether sex education in schools has more pros or cons is a never ending debate. Let’s read arguments for both, pros and cons, in this article and hopefully you’ll be able to take a stand.
Sex education is one of the most controversial issues in education, that has been hovering over educational institutions since ages. It is probably the most debated topic, that will always have a divided opinion. Some people will always agree and some will always disagree. Try though everyone may, it is almost impossible to shrug off the responsibility of informing students about its importance. Problems like teen pregnancy and STDs rise due to unsafe sex, and one of the best ways to avoid it, is by educating the students about it. Let us see some pros and cons of sex education in schools in this OpinionFront article.
Most of us limit the scope of sex education by taking it at its face value. It is not just about sex. It involves other delicate issues like sexual health, sexual reproduction, sexuality and others that parents often feel awkward to talk about with their children. Hence, it becomes the responsibility and the duty of schools to take up this topic, and inform and educate the students about it as much as they can. However, this is almost never taken in the right spirit by parents and students themselves. They begin deliberation on the pros and cons of sex education in schools, and form an attitude towards it based on what they think is right. Let us see some of these arguments and then decide for ourselves.
Statistics show that more than 50% of American teenagers lose their virginity by the age of 17. It also shows that sex education in schools is well accepted by only 7% of American parents. The other 93% still consider it a taboo to talk about sex to their children, and resort to making up the ever popular stories of birds and bees. But do they stop for a moment and think that it is not the presence of sex education in schools, but its absence that has made the rate of teen pregnancy go up to such a high level? Given below are some more arguments for sex education.
Stress on Abstinence
Most schools that do provide sex education, have an ‘abstinence is the best solution’ approach to it. They stress on abstinence as the perfect way to be totally free from any problems whatsoever, related to sex and sexuality. Which actually makes sense. We all believe that prevention is better than cure, so why not just wait for the right age to engage in sexual activity. The two most important things that you need to be sexually active, namely the mind and the body, are not fully matured when kids are in school. It puts them in grave danger, physically and psychologically. Hence stressing the importance of restraint and abstinence through sex education is a great advantage.
Schools that don’t use the abstinence approach, prefer to go the ‘safe sex’ way. They have accepted the fact that the sexual activities of teenagers and even pre-teens cannot be controlled by a mere class taken in school. They know that the students have other resources thanks to the various forms and forums of information that are available today. So the schools would rather give them tips on how to engage in safe sex, by using appropriate birth control measures if they are sexually active, than preaching abstinence. They train them on using different methods of birth control, and also the dangers of teenage pregnancy.
Information about STDs
It is only through education in schools, that students will get proper and honest information about sexually transmitted diseases. The grave dangers that these diseases pose to them, the physical and mental torture that they may have to go through if they fall prey to an STD, not to mention the social stigma associated with them, are well explained. This instills in the students a sense of responsibility that creeps out of fear for their health and life. As a result they behave more responsibly.
Though the pros may seem like very valid reasons to vouch for it, there are certain people who believe that sex is better left to be understood by teenagers themselves if at all, or worse, through unreliable sources. Hence, they strongly oppose the idea of sex education in schools. Let us see some of the arguments against it now.
Lack of Sincerity
It is often seen that sex education is not taken seriously. Students tend to look at it as a subject of ridicule, and either don’t attend the classes, or if made compulsory, either engage in snickering and giggling, throughout. They seem to be aware of much more than the person who’s teaching them about it, thanks to numerous movies, sitcoms, and other media, propagating sex as a style statement. The sensationalizing of sex in school has reached such a level that teens will engage in sex, just to prove how ‘cool’ and ‘popular’ they can be. There’s little that sex ed can do for them. And it’s not just the students, but the faculty too. If they really want to take education about sex to a whole new level of understanding and importance, then they should have more than the customary classes that they do, and hire people who are trained and well informed to teach the students about it.
Religious Beliefs and Sentiments
Many groups of people believe that when it comes to sex education, the cons outweigh the pros, for one very simple reason. They believe, beyond a doubt, that their children should not be exposed to something as crude as sex, in their school days because their religion does not permit it. It goes against their religious beliefs and sentiments, and they do not accept it, on principle. It becomes very difficult to argue with people when they bring religion to the forefront. And so, many schools prefer to leave this sensitive issue untouched.
Misinterpretation of ‘Education’
As opposed to ‘abstinence only’ education, when schools propagate safe sex, they run the risk of having their information misinterpreted by the students. We will all agree that we can listen to hours and hours of lecturing about any topic, but finally do exactly what we want. Unfortunately, it is the same with sex education. Students may listen to the lecturers going on and on about safe sex, but in the end, engage in unsafe sex. They will justify saying that they learned about it in school, and that if teachers did not want them to engage in sexual activities, they never should have brought up the topic in the first place. Curiosity can make them take foolish steps which they will undoubtedly regret later.
As you can see, the possibility of a consensus on the debate about whether or not sex education in schools is a acceptable or not is something that will take a while to happen. Until then, all we can do is hope that the children realize their responsibilities towards their bodies and towards their minds.