A call for sexual education reform

WRITTEN BY: OLIVIA COVEY

COVER PHOTO COURTESY: WIX

As of September 1st, 2018 only 24 states require sexual education to be taught in schools. Out of those 24, only 13 states require medical accuracy in their curriculum. This means that they do not have to verify their medical facts before presenting them to a full class, which can leave kids’ heads filled with misconceptions and fear. America’s laws on sex education are broken and outdated.

Michigan does not require sexual education to be taught in school districts. If a school in Michigan wants to offer a class, they must stress the topic of abstinence, the legal age of sexual consent, possible consequences of sex, and how to obtain information on adoption services. More than half of the United States educational programs require sexual education teachers to stress abstinence, and this usually results in little information being provided about other options of contraception. A 2011-2013 study from the Guttmacher Institute revealed that 43 percent of teenage girls and 57 percent of teenage boys did not receive any information about any form of birth control before they lost their virginities. To make matters worse, less parents are sitting their kids down to have “the talk”, which is how many students’ questions get answered.

In an age of pride and growth for the LGBTQ+ community, you would think that sex ed would at least include something about sexual orientation, right? Wrong. A mere 12 states require sexual orientation to be included in sex education curriculum. That’s less than a quarter of the nation, a quarter in which Michigan isn’t included.

Schools need to get realistic in the teachings of sexual education. America’s focus is on abstinence, but 40 percent of high schoolers are sexually active. If teens are already having sex, then they should be provided with the knowledge to do it safely. By opening up sexual education to include and even require important topics that America’s current curriculum guidelines are lacking, more students will have the tools they need to be informed and safe when faced with such big decisions.