Sex Education is essential to inform and protect the new generation

Eden Baker - Staff Writer, Ava Ghasiri - Creative Director

In movies, books and TV shows, sex education is seen as an embarrassing rite of passage that every teenager dreads. Often for social and religious reasons, parents are skeptical about schools educating their children on sex. However, sex education is necessary and important so that students can learn more about their bodies, pregnancy prevention methods and even different sexualities.
According to the Future of Sex Education, sex ed encourages healthy discussions about the choices available to students when it comes to sex. Many older children and teenagers, especially those who come from religious backgrounds, are taught that abstinence is the only option. Since teenagers naturally crave intimacy and sexual attention, they may act on impulse and can forget about contraceptive methods. Informing students about their different options when it comes to contraception, such as birth control and condoms, can reduce their likelihood of contracting STDs or getting pregnant.
Even more, a study by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health showed that teenage pregnancy is currently at an all time low. After the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, many schools implemented sex ed programs to help prevent further spread of fatal sexually transmitted diseases [STDs]. The Office on Women’s Health has found that since students learned more about contraceptives and programs like Planned Parenthood and Teen Pregnancy Prevention—both of which provide adolescents with sexual health care— more teenagers have practiced safe sex, as displayed by the reduced STDs and unexpected pregnancies.
Above all, informing teenagers about all of their options when it comes to sex is crucial to preventing teenage pregnancy. A National Education Association study showed that only 38 percent of girls who get pregnant  before the age of 18 will graduate high school. This is a severe disadvantage since a secondary education or a Bachelor’s Degree is required for most high-paying jobs. The minimum wage jobs available to these dropouts do not pay enough to sustain the life of one person, let alone an additional young child. In California, the Society for Human Resource Management proved that the average annual salary for a minimum wage workers was $45,765, but a salary of $60,000 was necessary for a single parent and child to live comfortably with basic necessities in California. Along with lesser living conditions, the child will not be offered the same educational and social opportunities as a child whose parent graduated from college. A New York Times study showed that 62 percent of children who come from families with an income of $75,000 a year participate in art, music or dance classes, while only 37 percent of children whose families earn $30,000 or less can do the same.
Furthermore, sex education would greatly benefit people who identify as homosexual. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, gay and bisexual men account for 83 percent of primary and secondary syphilis cases; they are also 17 times more likely to develop cancers that spawn from the HPV virus than straight men. In order to prevent these fatal, cancerous diseases, education is essential so that homosexual and bisexual students can learn about appropriate contraceptive use too. According to a Jama Network study, 68.5 percent of adults, regardless of political affiliation, advocate educating students on contraceptive use in same sex relationships. The health of homosexual citizens is just as important as the health of heterosexual citizens, and expanding same sex education is essential to the current and new generations’ education.
Some parents argue that sexual education should not be offered in schools because the topic is too personal. Every family has different social and religious standards that affect their views on sex, so parents may not want their children exposed to other ideals at school. In an attempt to ease these parent concerns, schools usually distribute waivers to students that must be signed by their parents before they can participate in sex ed. While this unease is justified, sexual education should still be offered in schools because every child deserves equal opportunity to be educated on sex and everything that comes with it.
Overall, sex education is crucial for educating the new generation. When it comes to sexual encounters, students need to know their options so they can prevent unwanted pregnancies and the transmission of STDs as well as understand contraception methods for other sexualities.