Birth control education Essay

This essay has a total of 4042 words and 22 pages.

birth control education

Birth Control Education

The issue of birth control being taught and/or distributed in public schools is one worth
debating. In biology and health classes students are educated in reproduction and
sexuality, but not about such birth control methods such as condoms and birth control
pills. While parents may touch briefly on the topic, some feel too embarrassed to discuss
it with their children or deem it unnecessary. This is a very bad course of action because
the world is now teaming with hormonally driven teenagers lacking vital information about
personal safety. They have a longing to practice the oldest instinct that humans possess,
which is to procreate. The schools have no reason to not be teaching the other, more
important, half of sex education. This action makes as little sense as learning how to
add, but not subtract. The city is only one of the many facing this problem in the face.
It is a problem that knows no class, religion, or gender. If every community took it upon
themselves to address this issue with youth, then they could eliminate a national problem.

It is easy to see that lack of knowledge concerning birth control is a sever problem
facing today’s youth. While the teen pregnancy rate is far lower than it has been in the
past, the number of teens infected by sexually transmitted diseases is on the rise. Half
of sex education is not enough. Even though 98% of students get "sexuality education", 55%
of them still have questions concerning birth control methods, the prevention of STDs, and
how to purchase protection confidentially. The challenge of STD prevention in the United
States is clearly illustrated by the fact that 85% of the most common infectious diseases
in the U.S.A. are spread sexually. This is the highest out of all the industrialized
nations in the world. Why, in the U.S. the rates of infection are 50- 100 times greater
than in any other of the industrialized nation. A friend of mine, whom we will call Miss.
Q for confidentiality reasons, is a product of this backwards teaching. Miss. Q is a
freshman in college, and was visiting home for thanksgiving this past year. While reading
an article in a woman’s magazine regarding birth control she crossed a term she did not
recognize. It turned out to be a term for a method of birth control, which she found out
when she asked her mother, who was horrified to discover her 19-year-old daughter, had
never been exposed to the word before. Miss. Q’s mother assumed that her child was taught
this either in biology or health class, so she had never bothered to discuss it with her.
However, after this revelation she sat down with her daughter and had a long in depth talk
about the topic.

Stories like this one can be heard all over the country. Even in towns that offer easy
access to birth control to students, this problem plagues the community. Take St. Paul
Minnesota for example. With a prescription/voucher from a doctor, a student can go pick up
protection from a local free clinic. However, 80% of the male students and 30% of the
female students who receive such a prescription never go to pick them up. A recent survey
in St. Paul discovered an alarming statistic that two out of every ten boys is or has been
infected with chlamydia. In fact, teens 15-19 years old accounted for 41% of chlamydia
cases and 32% of gonorrhea cases in Ramsey County Minnesota.

Nothing can show us this problem better than a survey from 1995 of 15-24 year old women
asked about their use of contraceptives. It was shown that only 37.3% used birth control
on a regular basis. In addition to this, only 4.4% regularly used protection against STDs.
Another survey from 1990 of women of all ages in this country reported that while 70.7%
used protection, only 7.9% used birth control that also protected against STDs.

The major reason birth control is not taught in this school district is because nobody has
thought of bringing up the question for many years. The last time the policy of sex
education was brought up; there was an overwhelming sense of disapproval from the
community. Some parents were even caught making comments on the moral integrity of the
school district. "I’m not happy about this, I’m not happy about a school district who says
it doesn’t matter what your family values are." A mother said this whom has three
daughters in the public school system in Oswego who wished to remain anonymous in this
paper. This quote highlights another possible cause for the problem, lack of parent
involvement. If parents are so set against having birth control added into class
discussion, they cannot neglect having a talk about birth control with their children.
Parents who do not know what is involved in a class’s curriculum may not have this
discussion with their offspring because they just assumed the school taught it. Also, they
may feel this a meaningless conversation because, "Their kids won’t have sex until they
are married," they are embarrassed themselves, or they do not think a teenager can handle
this mature subject matter.

Why should a parent be embarrassed to talk about this you ask? It is because they
themselves never got the education. Not only do children not know how different forms of
birth control work, but also neither do their parents. Despite years of added experiences
and maturity, not all adults know that some forms of birth control only protect against
pregnancy, not STDs. This lack of confidence and knowledge gets passed right on down the
family tree to the children, and when they become sexually active they won’t us proper
protection for those reasons, lack of knowledge and embarrassment.

If we do not start educating youth in birth control, the number of 15-19 year olds
suffering with sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and HIV
will continue to increase by alarming intervals. Youth is lacking vital information that
can save their lives, and the lives of others.

Recently in Washington the senate appropriations committee approved a $287.6 billion
dollar fiscal 1999 spending bill for the Departments of Labor, Health, and Education.
However, the president threatened to veto the house bill because its proposed spending
cuts and a host of legislative riders on issues like requiring parental notification
before minors receive birth control at federally funded clinics. Legislation locally has
been limited due to the lack of initiative on behalf of all the people this would benefit.
Right now health teachers at the Oswego high school are prohibited to teach birth control
and safe sex, even if the student asks a question about it that pertains to a class

With all the benefits of birth control education why shouldn’t it be taught in schools?
There are a number of things the school could do in order to help the problem of teenage
STD infection. They could institute a condom availability program for example. Having
birth control on hand when it is needed is the best way to guarantee its use. To often you
hear of kids that are too embarrassed to go buy condoms, or are just too slothful to go
get them. By distributing them in school whether it’s through going to the school nurse
and asking for some, or if you can just go pick one up out of a basket, it can eliminate
these feelings of self-consciousness and slothfulness. However, some critics would argue
that having condoms around and ready to be used only encourages sexual activity. They
would argue that by offering a way to have safe sex, the school district would in fact be
promoting sex, which would totally defeat the purpose of the prescription in the first
place. Others say that it is not the school districts responsibility to provide protection
for sexually active students. After all, this is a program that would cost a good deal of
money and time, neither of which public education can currently spare. Of course this is
not the only road available for the school district to take.

There are many alternatives to handing out condoms in school, such as offering workshops
on the topic. The school could offer after school classes about the different types of
birth control available, and its use. Many teachers would argue that there is not time to
include anything else into a class’s curriculum, so offering a class after school would be
a great option. Students could attend if they wished to so the morality issue would not be
a problem, and the school nurse, a health teacher, or a doctor whovolunteered their time
could teach the class. Of course there is always the issue of money when it come to use of
school facilities after school is out for the day, and there wouldn’t be a guarantee that
anyone would be willing to teach the class. Another possible downfall would be lack of
participation in the class. Students may avoid attending such classes for fear their
friends would label them promiscuous. (I use the term promiscuous in this paper only for
tact purposes; accurate vocabulary used by students would be repugnant.) Then once again
you have to factor in student laziness, and other student activities such as sports to the
low class sizes. So clearly the costs of this program would out weigh the benefits, so
this brings us to a final choice, actually adding birth control education in with what is
already learned in health class.

By having the school district add birth control education to the high schools health
curriculum we have the opportunity to teach everyone about birth control since it is a
mandatory class for graduation. This is the only way to ensure that the entire student
body will know what their options are, how they work and are used, and they won’t be as
nervous when the time comes to discuss birth control with their partner. This change would
also include learning in depth about STDs, including the symptoms of them, after all, the
early detection you have the more likely a chance of getting better. The option of having
a doctor or nurse come in and teaching this lesson would be open, seeing as how some of
the teachers would not be up to par on this topic, or have a moral objection to teaching
it. It is clearly obvious that this is the preferred policy since the costs can so easily
be avoided and the benefits are so great.

This preferred policy would get a lot of support from many groups, especially the Student
AIDS Awareness Group. This is a group of students that devote their time to terminating
the AIDS virus, which is spread by many means including sexually. Also, as students they
would be directly affected by the change. By being a group they hold more power than a
lone student. People are more likely to listen to a large group than one person, so this
gives them the power of persuasion. This is a group whose only goal is to halt the spread
of the AIDS virus, so this would be number one on their list of priorities. By teaching
classes about birth control the number of new cases of HIV, which causes AIDS, could be
fewer then ever before.

Another group likely to support this class just as much as the Students AIDS groups is the
parents of high school students. This is a class that has the potential of saving their
children’s lives down the road, so they would be behind it 100%. Unfortunately the
education of their children sometimes has to take a backseat to issues such as bills, and
careers, so they are not always be aware of what is, or is not being taught to their
offspring. Nevertheless, little else is as important to them as their child’s well-being
and safety. What’s more they are the voters, and taxpayers in the community and they have
the right to determine what their children should and should not be taught, whither it is
they themselves who vote on the appropriateness of the subject matter, or whom they select
as the board of education members.

One last group that would defiantly be in favor of these classes is family doctors and
gynecologists. These are the people who see first hand the effects that STDs and pregnancy
have on youth. They are the ones who have to tell parents that their child is pregnant or
will die from the AIDS virus. This is by far not a job that they enjoy doing. They want
desperately for the AIDS epidemic to be terminated, and to stop seeing so many children
diagnosed with a STD and become impregnated. Like the parents, they too are taxpayers and
voters, but they have one more ball in their court. They are experts in this field, and
have the ability to alter peoples views by simply telling them what they see every day.
These are the people the school board will call and ask the opinion of while trying to
decide an appropriate course of action. Unhappily this is a minor issue to doctors, whom
are faced with cancers and heart disease on a regular bases.

Everybody already knows that the Catholic Church is seriously against the practice of
using birth control due to the scripture. The church has the power of words on its side,
which can be just as powerful as a vote. Devote followers take the word of priests as if
it were the word of god himself. Through this manner the church has the opportunity to
sway a good number of the votes onto their side. Of course this is not the only issue the
churches of this community have to deal with, so this is not likely tobe high on their
priority list. This is an issue that would have to take a back seat to such things as
confirmations, weddings, baptisms, funerals, church school and masses of course.

In addition to the Catholic Church, teachers might be against this as well. After all they
are the ones who need to teach this topic to the students. Some health teachers would
complain that their classes have too much jammed into them right now, and adding another
topic to teach would force them to spend less time on more important topics. The health
teachers alone however could not change the minds of the school board and community
members. As a consequence of their union, O.C.T.A., they have the enough sway to say they
do not want to teach birth control methods and use to students. Nevertheless there is
still the matter of money problems they have to deal with. Money problems like classroom
budgets to salaries they have to worry about, and while they might not want to teach this
topic, they probably wouldn’t take the initiative to protest it.

While the church and health teachers might take some opposition to this change, it is not
a very high priority to them. On the other hand the school board has nothing else to worry
about than school policy. Currently there are a handful of conservative school board
members that would protest the teaching of birth control to the student. While there are
other things to worry about, such as the budget, school violence, and training rules, some
members would take this under their arms as a project to concentrate on. This is a group
that has the power of veto, and is the one who ultimately decides whether or not they want
to make the change to the curriculum. If the members opposing the change outnumber those
supporting it, it dies. While parents, and students, and the Catholic Church might
influence their decision, it is in fact, their decision.

The fact that people would be against protecting the future leaders of the country from
life altering diseases is indeed ill fated. By ignoring the fact that the United States
has the highest percentile of people infected with STDs out of any other industrialized
nation in the world, we are merely guaranteeing our position. It is feasible that in only
two years the number of 13-19year olds in the United States with a sexually transmitted
disease will rise from 3 million to 4 million, making up .83% of the total number of cases
in the world, and 33% in this country. On the other hand, if this policy is implemented we
could see a possible decrease of one million cases every two years. The education system
must step in somewhere. Ignoring the problem has only

forced us deeper and deeper into a hole that there is climbing out of. If left unnoticed,
soon most of the youth in this country will be infected, and they will have children who
are infected and so on and so on. It has been said that knowledge is power, so why is the
worlds’ most powerful nation so naive?

Does Sex Education Work?

Should sex education be taught in schools?

Continues for 11 more pages >>

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