If any of you enjoy a little mental zombie time by scrolling through Facebook, chances are you came across a recent Upworthy post written by Matt Orr via The Huffington Post. Their source of information was the Guttmacher Institute, which is an amazing resource for all kinds of sexual health information. They do lots of research regarding reproductive and sexual health, as well inspect policies to make sure everything is on the up and up. They just want to make sure everyone has their facts straight to ensure reproductive rights for everyone. Needless to say, I think they are a pretty neat organization.
The Upworthy post is entitled Get Ready To Be Horrified At What Schools Are Telling Kids About Sex. It is a visual representation (i.e. colorful pictures!) that allows readers to understand what each states requires of their schools when it comes to sexual health education. Seeing the information clearly stated in the infographic maps really grabbed me. (What can I say? I like pictures!) You can check it out here…. Upworthy: Get Ready to be Horrified.
But, let me take a minute to make a great visual summary very long and wordy….
Here’s what you should know.
- 28 of our states do NOT require sex education.
- 17 of our states do NOT require HIV education.
This merely means it is not required – it does not mean schools cannot teach it. Some states do not require comprehensive sexual education…. however if schools in that state DO teach it, it better be medically-accurate! You can check out one of my previous blogs about this: It’s the Law. But I ask, if they are not learning about sexual health (including relationships, anatomy and physiology, decision-making, STI’s, etc) and HIV in the classroom with a knowledgeable instructor, where oh where do you think they ARE learning it?
- 19 of our states do not require educators to teach about contraception, only abstinence education is required.
Okay. Please know that any solid, medically-accurate sexual health curriculum ALWAYS discusses and encourages abstinence. It IS the only way to prevent STI’s, HIV, and pregnancy. No-brainer. But considering that the average age of first sex is 17 (Guttmacher), it seems discussion about safer sex practices would be wise. That or parenting classes. But to ignore the statistic that almost half our teens are sexually active by the time they are out of high school (CDC) seems irresponsible. (Okay, that is my opinion – not scientific fact.)
Finally, and most disturbing, are these tidbits:
- 3 of our states tell educators they MUST INCLUDE NEGATIVE INFORMATION on same-sex relationships.
Really? I’ve always been taught if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. It just seems like this encourages an atmosphere of bullying. (Disclaimer: I didn’t research that, just makes sense.)
- 35 of our states do NOT require educators to teach medically-accurate sexual health information.
Yes, you did read that correctly. There is a chance you may be sending your child to school to be taught information that simply is not true. Not medically-accurate. Not researched. Now keep it mind this does not mean they purposely teach stuff that is wrong, like babies come from the stork. Rather this means they do not necessarily use curricula that has gone through an evaluation process or use medically-accurate resources. For example, they may have heard that “condoms don’t work” and might base a lesson on that falsehood, without actually discussing that they DO work when used properly. Please know…. the state may not require medically-accurate sexual health information to be taught, but individual school districts may very well require it anyway. (Kudos to them….)
I truly believe educators have the best interest of the students at heart. However, as parents, caregivers, educators, and medical professionals, being advocates for our children regarding what they are taught is not only prudent, but it could save the children from unnecessary sexual health issues down the road. Check with your children and find out what they are being taught. The more kids know, the more likely they will be inclined to make healthy, sound decisions.