Mandatory Sex Ed? Yes, please.

Via Jennifer Cusano
on Aug 11, 2011
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New York City’s public school students will have a new course added to their curriculum when they return to class this fall. Sexual education classes will include instructions on how to use a condom, how to resist the pressure to have sex, and how to respect your partner—amongst other things that will become a mandatory course for all students. The program will be taught once in middle school, and again in high school. This is the first time in nearly two decades a program like this has been implemented.

The program is part of a larger city ordinance in which Michael Bloomberg, NYC’s mayor, seeks to improve the lives of young men (and women?) called The Young Man’s Initiative. The “Initiative” will also include things like job training, fatherhood classes, and counseling for those who have broken the law.

While all of these things are well and good, I should hope that the same amount of effort will be put into teaching young women about things like birth control, teen pregnancy, and how to say no effectively.

I myself was a teen mom, having my first daughter Paige not even 60 days after turning seventeen. We didn’t have an effective sexual education class in my school, and I was completely unaware of places like Planned Parenthood, where you can obtain birth control, and important information, without parental consent. Having asked my mother to take me to the doctor and put me on birth control, and her answer being no (assuming I would just not have pre-marital sex), it would have been nice to know I had other options. The truth of the matter was I was completely unprepared, and totally naive about how easily one can get pregnant having unprotected sex, and while abstinence is best, it was not the route I took, just like so many other young girls these days.

With shows like MTV’s Teen Mom readily available, though ridiculous and uninformative, mandatory sex ed seems much like the lesser of two evils. Young girls watch that show and become completely misguided. It shows some of the best case scenarios, and puts these girls in the tabloids and on TV, an almost reward for a poor, lifechanging, hard, choice that robs young girls of their youth.

The decision to have this class put back into the public curriculum has caused an intense debate among  parents who do not agree with this choice.

In an email Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott sent to principals, he said:

“We have students who are having sex before the age of 13; students who have had multiple sexual partners; and students who aren’t protecting themselves against sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS…I believe the school system has an important role to play with regard to educating our children about sex and the potential consequences of engaging in risky behavior.”

Parents are upset that their children will have access to things like condoms, and vital information without their consent. What we all need to understand it that these children are ultimately going to do what they want to do, and it is best if they are at least making informed decisions.

And should they choose to have sex, that they do so safely.


About Jennifer Cusano

Jennifer Cusano, social media aficionado, research connoisseur, and writer du jour, is a Yogi on a path of personal exploration and long overdue healing. Managing Editor for YOGANONYMOUS, Producer for Where Is My Guru, Director of Social Media for YOGASCAPES and TumericALIVE, wife and mother of three, Jenn is really a superhero in disguise—or so she likes to think. In her spare time Jenn likes to read about and search for vampires, so if you happen to know or come across one, please do send them her way. Hit her up on Facebook or Twitter to discuss the various methods of tracking down said vampires. Also she is more than a little uncomfortable writing about herself in the third person, it may just be the hardest thing she's had to do, and that's saying something...


8 Responses to “Mandatory Sex Ed? Yes, please.”

  1. Suzy says:

    I am so happy to hear that someone has the courage to be the first to nationally admit that teaching abstinence isn't the only answer. Yes, abstinence is best, but I agree with Jennifer – it is not helpful when dealing with real life situations. Thank you to Bloomberg who sees sex education for what it is, EDUCATION!

  2. I agree wholeheartedly Suzy! Esp since I have personal experience in this area, it should be a mandatory course, and parents should not take it out of context, they should be grateful that teachers are willing to inform their children properly about a subject that is no longer taboo . The bottom line is pregnancy can happen even if it is the first time you are having sex. The issue needs to be addressed correctly and not just on some poorly done exploitative reality show glorifying teen pregnancy. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  3. Knowledge is power…my 5 & 7 year old know the basics about how babies are made, and know all the right names for their body parts. I think sex ed needs to be an ongoing age appropriate discussion…and besides pregnancy (which can happen only certain days of the month) you can get AIDS any day. I am glad that schools are proactive about this, and more than a little sad that parents aren't on board. Ideally, the conversation starts at home at an early age and is then supported at school.

  4. Kate you are totally right, I think this should be mandatory in all public schools through out the US, its not only as if its just in NYC teens are having sex. Following through at home is a big part too…although I still havent even spoken to my 11 year old about it, How did you do it with your little ones, its not a bad idea. I mean my kids all know the proper names for their body parts and what not, but thats it….any pointers?

  5. Majikiemoon says:

    I was a teen mom and now almost 12 years later I am working with many teen parents as a nurse. Comprehensive sex Ed is a must!! I would love to see this as a start of a new revolution.

  6. Yes!! Me too, so you know what I am saying here! We DESPERATELY need this

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