Standardize sex-ed programs

Inconsistencies in our state’s sex education programs demand our legislators’ attention and reforms.

Maddie Eaton

One of the most troubling problems facing our state is how little younger generations know about sex. This is the result of wildly inconsistent sex education programs throughout Minnesota. 
While mandates require public schools’ curricula to include discussions on how to prevent and reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, there are no explicit requirements for educators to address basic sexual health information or birth control.
My high school provided us with the basics of sexual education, but I don’t feel as though I learned much except for how to prevent the spread of STDs. My teachers taught us little on birth control, for example.
Although near the end of our class periods there was often time for students to freely ask questions, many of us felt awkward or out of place asking questions about sex in front of the entire class. 
Some parents might argue against changing state laws in a way that would require teachers to focus on safe sex rather than abstinence, but the fact is that almost half of teenagers are sexually active these days. What better way is there to prevent unwanted pregnancies than actually explaining how to avoid them? 
It’s understandable why parents might wish their children not to engage in sexual activity, but if teenagers are having sex, it’s best to equip them with all of the knowledge they’ll need.
Inconsistencies in sex education need mending. By realigning the state’s standard curriculum to promote important values such as safe sex and birth control, we would decrease not only the prevalence of STDs but also the rate of unwanted pregnancies.
Maddie Eaton welcomes comments at [email protected].