A recently passed bill in Utah would mandate that schools only teach abstinence for their sex education. That means no talk about birth control, safe sex, STDs and even homosexuality. Instead, lawmakers want parents to be the main source of sex education. Maybe this would work in an ideal world, but it will never work in the world we live in.
The bill, dubbed HB636, was introduced by state Rep. Bill Wright, a longtime supporter of taking sex talk out of the classroom.
A lot of our districts are already teaching abstinence. This will help us set a path in the future where our curriculum doesn’t get hijacked.
According to the New York Daily News, “tens of thousands of state residents” have signed petitions, made calls and written letters, asking Utah’s governor, Gary Herbert, to veto this bill. In fact, 90% of parents are in favor of having their children participate in complete sex education at school. Otherwise, they fear it will leave kids in the dark about the many risks associated with sex.
What’s even more disturbing, is that under this proposed bill, no teachers–even health teachers–would be allowed to answer students’ questions about sex without fear of being reprimanded. Because, you know, school is definitely not a place to learn, and we should make students feel like they can’t ask questions about their own bodies.
Opponents are also concerned that the bill will lead to a sweeping ban on all discussions of homosexuality in the classroom, and some have even called the measure the “don’t say gay bill,” which brings up a whole other set of problems. If we don’t teach kids that being gay is indeed normal, then how can we expect to put an end to the bullying and stereotyping and shame that many gay teens feel?
It’s a proposed bill that is so unrealistic and would deprive teens of a proper sex education. Because, like it or not, they’re going to have sex. And like it or not, they are probably not learning everything they need to know at home.
In a country where nearly half of all teens are having sex, it’s completely unrealistic for educators to continue sticking their heads in the sand and pretending that abstinence is the only thing we need to teach at school.
In fact, according to recent research, states that use an abstinence-only model had “significantly higher” rates of teen pregnancy. On the other hand, those states which taught a more comprehensive sex education that included information on sexually transmitted diseases and birth control along with abstinence had lower rates of teen pregnancy.
How can a school possibly challenge that?