Pro-comprehensive sex education crucial

More stories from Ellen Garrett


According to Tufts School of Medicine, only 22 states require schools to teach sex education at all. In these classes, many teachings are biased, with 17 states not requiring lessons about HIV or AIDS. Only 19 states require that teachings are medically accurate, and eight states have laws against teaching LGBTQ+ inclusive lessons. Some even require that teachers provide anti-gay instruction. Twenty-seven states require an emphasis on Abstinence Only Until Marriage Education (AOUME).

According to the Department of Health Education at San Francisco State University, this all leads not only to increased pregnancy rates, but increased rates of sexual assault. It even increases suicide, drug use, and results in lower grade point averages in LGBT students.

AOUME should not be taught. These programs are completely ineffective. According to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 95 percent of Americans engage in premarital sex. Studies have found that Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) actually lowered teen pregnancy rates and increased condom usage. Abstinence-only education actually promotes sexism, racism and classism in society.

The absence of CSE allows for information on sexual assault to be corrupted because lessons often resort to victim blaming as a way to show students that it is bad to be assaulted. Not only is most of the information from schools biased, but they don’t cover it effectively. Only 16 percent of the information an adolescent receives about sexual assault is provided by their parents or schools. The rest comes from the media. Learning about sexual assault from the media leads to distorted beliefs of the nature of sexual assault.

In America we are way behind on the trend of CSE. The best schools in the world are teaching Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE). According to The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Dutch schools start CSE as early as age 4. This teaching has real results. Seventy-five percent of Dutch teens use birth control their first time, while only 57 percent of American teenagers do. That is a huge difference. American schools need to get on board with the rest of the world.

All states should require that Comprehensive Sex Education be taught in their schools. CSE includes discussion of gender identities, sexual orientation, birth control, consent, sexual health, and gender equality. Only by implementing a common CSE curriculum across all 50 states can we lower teen pregnancy rates, promote sexual health, and prevent LGBT suicides.