All Articles Tagged "sex education"
Good Idea Or Too Soon? Chicago Public Schools Want To Start Teaching A Form Of Sex Education To Kids In Kindergarten
As the third largest public school system in the country, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has made a major decision by passing a proposal this week that means that instead of having students learn about sex education starting in the fifth grade, they would begin the process starting in kindergarten.
Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Before you get your drawls all tied up in a knot and make a judgement so soon, according to ABC News, before the fifth grade, students won’t necessarily be learning about how sex works and methods of protection and those sorts of things. Instead, they will just be provided with basic knowledge about how to keep themselves safe from sexual predators and more. As it goes according to ABC News, in Kindergarten, students will learn basic information on personal safety, anatomy, healthy relationships, and reproduction. After that, up to third grade, students will focus on family, what is and isn’t inappropriate touching and more. By fourth grade, kids will be taught about puberty, as well as HIV and the myths of it. Also sex-ed will also include a conversation about gender identity and sexual orientation so that there will be more tolerance of students of the LGBT community, but it’s not clear of this will be taught in all grade levels or after a certain grade.
While parent reactions were mixed, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, thinks that in this day and age, it’s a necessary move. “It is important that we provide students of all ages with accurate and appropriate information so they can make healthy choices in regards to their social interactions, behaviors, and relationships.” She went on to explain to ABC News that, “By implementing a new sexual health education policy, we will be helping them to build a foundation of knowledge that can guide them not just in the preadolescent and adolescent years, but throughout their lives.”
If parents of students don’t want their child’s sexual education being taught at such a young age by the schools, they can opt out of the program, but it has been passed and this type of sex education will be implemented within the next two years. Will other public school systems in different states follow suit? That remains to be seen, but let’s be honest, with kids out here at school engaging in sexual acts with one another at four and five years old, it might be time to start informing these kids (through the parents, school, etc.) about what’s appropriate and what forms of interaction are of a sexual manner and inappropriate at such a young age. But what do you think? Good idea or just a bit too soon?
When I worked as a sexual health educator, no one could tell me that I didn’t have the most dynamite job in the world. The information I taught almost couldn’t compare to the things I learned from my students. The “Blue Waffle”, “Red Pancake” and “Ear Wax STI Test” were just a few of the highlights from a sexual culture created by today’s teens. I enjoyed the fact that young people felt comfortable enough to open up to me about their fears, confusion and curiosity about sex while at the same time trusting me as a resource for factual information. The best part is they felt they could be themselves around me. I didn’t fidget uncomfortably every time someone dropped an F-bomb. I didn’t launch into a Sunday school lecture when students told me intimate accounts of losing their virginity in an empty school auditorium. And even though I may have been cringing on the inside, I never came across as judgmental which made students feel trusted, listened to and valued.
See when it comes to making positive impact on the behavior of our young people, the most important lesson I’ve learned is that it’s not enough to tell them how to change their behavior, you have to make an effort to understand why they are making unhealthy decisions in the first place. You have to sit down and LISTEN to them, even if it hurts. Which brings me to She Takes Control, a recent campaign launched by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, encouraging women to carry their own condoms. Before you take my words the wrong way, let me make it clear that I am in total agreement with the intentions of this effort. Although I am leery of the marketing which is reminiscent of a rejected “Just Another Girl on the IRT” movie poster, I applaud the encouragement of women to be empowered about their sexual health and speak out about what they allow to happen to their bodies. In fact, when I discuss with friends the adventures I encounter as I travel from high school to rec center meeting diverse groups of young men and women, most assume that pregnant and sexually active ones were the ones who were skipping class, being loud in the hallways, spending more time in the club than they did in class. But the truth is I had a fair share of quiet, reserved bookworms who shared the same sexual health issues. You meet enough teens and you’ll notice whether they are doing homework in homeroom or hooking up in the hallway, they ALL have hormones.
I argue that most teens know how to use a condom better than adults, the problem comes in with how young people are defining love, relationships, respect and sexuality. The longer I work in this industry the more I begin to believe that high STI rates and unplanned pregnancy are more an ethics and values problem then it is a lack of sexual health resources and knowledge. Instead of abstinence-only education and comprehensive sexuality education going head to head, they should actually be meeting in the middle. Youth need factual information about STI’s, condoms and pregnancy, but they also need honest discussions exploring their values. Whether those values are waiting until marriage to have sex or being truly comfortable having open relationships. Most teens aren’t even trying to learn themselves or define a code of conduct to live by. They are simply reacting to the pressure of situations they are put in. The reason why it’s not enough to hand them a condom and hope for the best, is because they aren’t critically thinking, mostly because they haven’t been taught how to do so.
The CDC released a report recently, revealing the U.S. teen birth rate decreased again in 2010. Almost every state saw a decline in teen births from 2007-2010, but Arizona experienced the biggest drop at 29 percent. In fact, U.S. births by mothers of all ages dropped in 2010, and experts cite the economy as the biggest factor. Although the highest rates of teen births are still found within the Black and Latino communities, the decline was seen among all races and ethnicities.
Mississippi, New Mexico, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana still lead with the nation’s highest teen pregnancy rates. New England states including New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey continue to have the lowest teen birth rates in the country. The report defeats the stereotype that teen pregnancy is limited to urban areas and sex education and pregnancy prevention efforts may have also significantly influenced the falling rate.
With an unstable economy and employment rates staggering to grow, it may very well be that teens and people in general are seriously considering the costs associated with building a family. Offered more options when it comes to accessing birth control and relieved from the pressure of affording sexual healthcare, more women are choosing to take advantage of the contraceptive options that are available to them. What’s important about this study is that somewhere, for some reason, young people are listening and actively choosing not to become teen parents. It brings to light that traditional, more conservative states may benefit from welcoming alternatives points of view when it comes to sex education.
Why do you think that teen pregnancy rates are decreasing?
More on Madame Noire!
- Didn’t You Think They’d Last? 7 Surprising Celebrity Breakups
- Where Are They Now? The Cast of “Good Times”
- You Remind Me Of My Jeep: 7 Songs That Make You Want To (Joy) Ride
- Ready For The Beach: Swimsuits For Every Body Type and Style
- Gabourey Sidibe and Kelly Ripa Stumble Over Afros, Normal Hair, and Being Americanized
- The Sweet Brown Viral Video: Embarrassed? Why You Shouldn’t Be
- NEW MN WEB SERIES: “Ask A Black Man” Episode 3: The SEX Episode
- How Old is Too Old? Mayim Bialik (aka Blossom) Still Breastfeeds her 3-Year-Old Son
In a survey of nearly 5,000 teenage girls in 19 states who had unplanned pregnancies between 2004 through 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about one-third of the girls didn’t use birth control because they didn’t believe they could get pregnant.
The CDC didn’t ask these teens to explain why they didn’t think they could get pregnant but the finding is certainly a slap in the face of sex education programs. Some common reasons teens give for why they didn’t think they could get pregnant is that it was their first time, they were menstruating, or they thought they were sterile.
Nearly half of the girls in the survey said they weren’t using any birth control when they got pregnant which is higher than surveys of teens in general. Typically, fewer than 20% say they didn’t use contraception the last time they had sex.
Access to birth control wasn’t a huge deterrent, only 13% of the girls said they didn’t use birth control because they had trouble getting it. Nearly 25% said they didn’t use protection because their partner didn’t want them to. Researchers say this fact illustrates the need for sex education classes to also share solutions for girls who feel pressured into doing something they don’t want to do.
Because the teen birth rate is at its lowest point in 70 years, Bill Albert, a spokesman for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, says it would be a mistake to come away from the report thinking, “They can’t figure this out?” He said”most of them are figuring it out,” but are they figuring it out fast enough?
Why do you think these same myths about the inability to get pregnant still follow teens?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
- Are You A Socially Awkward Black Girl?
- Terribly Tatted Up: When Celebrities Get Ratchet Tattoos for the Ones They Love
- The Most Painful Things A Woman Can Say To A Man
- Huh?!?: 8 Media Moments That Made Us Go WTF
- We Are Family: Shocking Celebrity Relatives!
- Let’s Be Real: Things in Life You Need to Blame Yourself For From Time to Time
- 7 Simple Things Men Can Do That All Women Will Love
When you teach sex-ed in the inner city, you manage to be less and less shocked about the secret sex lives of teenagers. I’ve heard detailed defenses about how effective the pull-out method is as a birth control method and how ear wax is a reliable tool for STI testing. But last week I found myself picking my jaw up off of my desk as I read Brande Victorian’s 1 in 13 Girls Has Had Gro*up Sex which highlighted a study researching the growing fad of gro*up sex among Boston-area teenagers. The study appeared in the Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine and revealed that 1 in 13 girls had engaged in at least one type of multi-person sex (MPS) ranging from gang rape to sex parties. What’s even more concerning is that more than half of the 328 girls surveyed in a Boston-area community or school-based clinic revealed that they felt pressure to engage in gro*up sex that was more often than not non-consensual.
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health identified certain common factors that teens engaging in MPS had “a strong association between exposure to pornography.” If you look hard enough you can find a variety of culprits to take the blame for what seems to be an increasing pattern of teens challenging the sexual norms of society. With a simple mouse-click and a quick yes to a pop-up that questions, “Are you over 18? Please enter your birth date,” any adolescent who passed basic math can access free Adult Videos with insulting ease. You can also turn on the radio and hear artists like pop favorite Rihanna chanting about S&M and Usher beckon a sexually liberated Nicki Minaj to proposition girls in a club and bring them to him so they can play in each other’s pants. Give your teen a little credit; they could probably teach you a thing or two about taboo sexual behavior, although when experimenting with sex I’m willing to bet Usher is the last thing on their minds.
It’s not so much the case of teens being overtly sexual and pushing the boundaries of what’s socially acceptable, but more their willingness to express these sexual values. As our society grows more and more sexualized, young people feel more comfortable expressing their sexual attitudes and are willing to accept behaviors that traditionally may have been viewed as abnormal. On a positive note, alternative lifestyles can be viewed regularly on TV and teens are becoming more informed that all types of sex (even the ”freaky” stuff) can put them at risk for STI’s. On a positive note, I feel like our society is moving in the right direction when teens feel they can be open and honest about sexuality. A teen that feels free to talk about masturbation, pornography or gro*up sex may also feel just as comfortable asking about condom use and birth control. It’s almost as if America is slowly awakening and thinking, “OK, teens have sex, what can we do so that they can make good decisions regarding their sexual conduct?” As frequent as sexuality appears in our media, it makes sense that sexual education appear just as much if not more.
If I’m completely honest with myself, I’ve been hearing rumors about “trains” being pulled on girls and “Rainbow Parties” (that have nothing to do with gay pride) since I was in high school. But I always felt that I had a choice as to whether or not I engaged in those types of activities. One-third of the teens who participated in the study used drugs or alcohol prior to their most recent experience and even felt pressure to be “liquored-up” by their sexual partners. This makes me question why such a large number of our teens are lacking the confidence to stand up for their sexual values. I’m not the biggest fan of teens engaging in risky sexual behaviors or having multiple partners, but the truth is these teens will grow into adults who are free to engage in whatever taboo practices they wish as long as they aren’t hurting themselves or one another. The important thing is that they have the confidence to give or deny consent which it seems our teens are obviously lacking.
As parents and other caregivers, we only have so much say in the sexual interests of our teens, but the best we can do is make sure they are making well-informed decisions whether they’re diving into the waters of sexual deviance or simply dipping their toes into the shallow waters of sexual experimentation. Teens need to know just as much about what constitutes as consent and how age relates to laws governing sexuality as they know about condoms and STI testing. Although we’ve made tremendous progress in opening the gates for open honest conversation about the birds and bees and birth control by making sure young people have more access to sexual education, we need to be just as sure that our teens are armed with the tools to navigate healthy relationships and are able to identify and communicate their sexual wants and needs so that they aren’t taken advantage of or violating anyone else.
(New York Times) — For the first time in nearly two decades, students in New York City’s public middle and high schools will be required to take sex-education classes beginning this school year, using a curriculum that includes lessons on how to use a condom and the appropriate age for sexual activity. The new mandate is part of a broader strategy the Bloomberg administration announced last week to improve the lives of black and Latino teenagers. According to city statistics, those teenagers are far more likely than their white counterparts to have unplanned pregnancies and contract sexually transmitted diseases. “It’s obviously something that applies to all boys and all girls,” said Linda I. Gibbs, the deputy mayor for health and human services. “But when we look at the biggest disadvantages that kids in our city face, it is blacks and Latinos that are most affected by the consequences of early sexual behavior and unprotected sex.”
(NewsOne) – Children as young as 11-years-old can now pick up or order free condoms from the Philadelphia Public Health Department through a program called Take Control Philly. A recent survey of sixth-graders in West Philly showed that 25 percent of the 11-year-olds had already had sex. The Take Control Philly program strives to prevent STD’s and unplanned pregnancy.
When word of one Tennessee high school having 90 teen moms this school year hit the news, the internet exploded with comments and questions. Due to all of the media attention, the Memphis School Superintendent held a press conference to clear up some common misconceptions about the situation at Frayser High and to update everyone on new initiatives to address the teen pregnancy issue.
According to Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash, the reason there are so many teen moms at the school is because pregnant teens seek out the school. The former principal Dr. Cassandra Turner started a program last year that specifically targets pregnant teens and teens who already have children. Dr. Turner says 35 pregnant teens have transferred to Frayser High.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton spoke during the press conference as well as Meri Amour, President and CEO of Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center, which has a mentoring and training program for teen boys.
“We hope that our story and our united response will be an inspiration to other community leaders and groups,” said Mayor Wharton as he pledged to aggressively combat the teen pregnancy issue.
Now that you know the high school in question has a teen pregnancy program, are you any less outraged at there being 90 teen moms at the one high school?