Sex education is the training and provision of information on beliefs and attitudes about sexual identity, sex, intimacy and relationships. It allows young people to make informed decisions about their behavior. For a long time sex education provision has attracted public debate. While some people have been opposed to its provision, others have been advocating that it be taught in schools. In recent times most states in US require that schools provide voluntary sex education (Crooks and Baur 4). the sex education provided in most American public schools emphasize abstinence although some schools offer comprehensive sex education that cover other areas such as marriages, safe sex, sexually transmitted diseases and family life. In some states parents are even allowed to withdraw their children from undertaking sex courses. This essay argues that high school students should be required to take a sex education course.
It has been established that most American teens engage in sex in their late teen years. It is documented that over seventy percent of American teen have sexual intercourse before their 20th birthday. There is evidence that sex education enables young people to overcome pressures of having early sexual intercourse. Moreover, researchers have established that young people who undertake sex education are usually more responsible when they become sexually active and are likely to engage in healthy sexual relationship. A study carried out in 2008 found out that sex education on abstinence and the use of contraceptives and condoms among sexually active young people have a positive impact on their behavior (Guttmacher Institute par. 7). Another study reported that sex education that emphasize abstinence and which is tailored to match special needs of the community is likely to delay sexual intercourse among teens especially when the community does not advocate for abstinence or criticize contraceptives. Given this, students in high school should be required to take a course in sex education since this is the time most of them are tempted to engage in early sexual intercourse. Since most schools offer courses in abstinence, it is likely that such young people will implement the knowledge gained in such classes and avoid early sexual intercourse. By undertaking a course in sex education the students will also grow into responsible adults who will be able to practice safe sex.
Research has indicated that most young people get consider peers, parents, and the media the vital sources of sexual information. However, the studies have established that sexual information provided by parents are often not all inclusive about the six main topics on sex education such as abstinence, birth control methods, how to access birth control, how to use a condom, HIV infection control and STIs. Moreover, not all young people talk about sex with their parents. This is because most parents treat sex education as taboo that should not be discussed between a parent and a child. In addition, parents have limited knowledge about most sexual health topics and hence they might not be able to provide their children with the much needed information on sexual health. A recent study showed that most teens use websites to access sexual health information. However, it was established that most websites which are used by teens to access sexual information often provide inaccurate information. Moreover, more often the media portray girls as objects while boys are viewed as masters who use girls as objects that are not connected to them emotionally 9 Crooks and Baur 34). Thus, without provision of sex education the media is likely to shape the understanding of the youths about sex. Since parents and websites are the two main sources of information for teens, it can be inferred that information obtained from peers might be lacking or inaccurate. This implies that there is need to access sex education to filter out facts and fictions. Therefore, requiring that high school students take a course in sex education will ensure that they access accurate information on all essential topics in sexual health.
Moreover, sex education can help in reducing negative effects of sexual behavior. Some negative effects of sexual behavior include STI infections, and unplanned or unwanted pregnancies. Studies indicate that there has been a decline in the number of pregnancies among American teens since 1990s. This has been attributed provision and proper use of contraceptives. This implies that although youths engage in sexual intercourse, they are increasingly engaging in safe sex relationship. It is also estimated that over a quarter of teen pregnancies are aborted in America. This illustrates why youths should access credible information on contraceptives to alleviate unwanted or unplanned pregnancies. In order for the teens to use contraceptives properly, they need to be educated how. Such education cannot be left to parents some of whom never talk to their children about sex. Moreover, this cannot be left to media which as alluded to above may provide inaccurate information. Thus, the only sure way of ensuring that credible information about proper use of contraceptives is available to youths is through requiring them to take a sex education course.
Just like other citizens, teens are covered by the First Amendment clause in the constitution. This implies that denying them sex education infringes on their First Amendment rights to speak and share about sexual issues with their peers. The clause is violated because without such programs the students cannot access accurate information about sex. This endangers the lives of youths because they are left to seek information on their own some of which might be inaccurate. Thus, to ensure that the First Amendment Clause on the right to access accurate information is not violated, high school students should be required to take a sex education course.
However, it can be argued that there is no need to provide sex education to teens in schools because parents can do so. A recent survey indicates that over seventy percent of teens talk about sex related issues with their parents. The survey indicates that at least one of the sex education topics is covered in the conversation. This implies that parents are capable of providing accurate information on sex. Thus, to avoid overburdening students at schools who are already burdened by cluttered curriculum, sex education ought to be left to parents. What ought to be done is to empower parents to do so.
In conclusion, there are compelling reasons as to why students in high school should be required to take a sex education course. First, this will ensure that teens do not engage in early sex and grow up into responsible adults. Second, it will ensure they access accurate and comprehensive information about sex. In addition, sex education can help in alleviating negative effects of sexual behavior. Finally, it will ensure that the rights of teens to the First Amendment are not violated. Even though parents can provide such information, not all of them can provide all inclusive information that can be accessed in classroom environment. Thus, it could be advantageous to the students and the society at large if the students are required to take a course in sex education.