• The 2024 Tempo yearbook distribution day is 6/11!
  • Seniors set to graduate on 6/13 @ Edmonds Stadium
  • Prom is Friday, 6/7!
The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

Abstinence-only education is not the only education

Across the nation, teachers are falling back on their abstinence-exclusive sex education and advising students to simply not have sex rather than teaching them how to have sex safely, such as using a condom or other forms of protection.

According to a survey of 4,000 7th- to 12th-grade teachers, abstinence-only sex education currently comprises 23 percent of sex education curricula in U.S. public schools. The survey was conducted by the Alan Guttmacher Insitute, a nonprofit health research organization on the East Coast.

With almost a quarter of sex education being solely “don’t have sex,” there lies a problem. Students are not learning from this practice. Instead, they’re simply having unsafe sex when they could be having safe sex. They could be avoiding unwanted teen pregnancy and the transfer of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but they aren’t educated as to how.

The federal government has consistently supported abstinence-only until marriage programs since 1981, according to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS).

Story continues below advertisement

Furthermore, SIECUS also reports that the federal government spent $176 million on abstinence only education in 2008.

Now, the federal government actually spending money on education wouldn’t be a problem if the form of education it was funding actually worked.

The government is providing money to the idea of abstinence being the only solution to teen pregnancy and STI transfer and the only form of teaching students how to not encounter these problems.

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy released a report in 2007 discussing what programs work in preventing teen pregnancy and STIs. The report found strong evidence to show that abstinence-only sex education doesn’t have any impact on teen sex.

“At present, there does not exist any strong evidence that any abstinence program delays the initiation of sex, hastens the return to abstinence, or reduces the number of sexual partners,” the report reads.

It may seem counter-intuitive to teach teenagers how to have sex in order to stop them from pregnancy and STIs, but in 2008 the University of Washington published a study that found that teenagers who received comprehensive sex education were 60 percent less likely to be in a relationship that resulted in a pregnancy than those who received abstinence-only education.

From this data, it’s obvious that something isn’t working. And that something is the idea that we live in a world where teenagers never have sex and if you tell them not to until marriage, they’ll listen. But we don’t live in that world.

We live in a world where teen pregnancy and the acquiring of STIs are skyrocketing because teenagers don’t know what they’re doing and are much less likely to know how to do it safely.

What teenagers need is a comprehensive sex education course, complete with condoms, birth control and other forms of contraceptives.

In this course, teenagers will be informed of how much birth control costs, how to put on a condom, the best forms of contraceptives and the advantages and disadvantages of each. They’ll be given the proper materials and knowledge and, from there, they can make their own well-informed decision.

In most health classes, students have received a course like that, but it’s not ridiculous to assume that not every high school is as lucky and classes are simply told to “not have sex.”

Not being educated leads to teenagers not knowing how to properly have safe sex when it inevitably happens and increases their risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or becoming pregnant.

While teachers and administration may feel uncomfortable teaching high schoolers how to have safe sex, it is necessary. We can’t continue to pretend that teenagers won’t have sex and will steer clear from the idea because they’re told not to.

It’s ridiculous to believe that high school students will adhere to this method of waiting until marriage and it’s time to start realizing that the only way to reduce teen pregnancy and STI contractions is to teach them how to have sex safely.

Fortunately, President Barack Obama has cut all funding for abstinence-only education. With the federal government no longer supporting this absurd educational practice, we see a step in the right direction.

We see that the government actually cares about the education and is aware of the consequences of ignoring what they don’t want.

However, few problems are fixed with a single solution.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
error: Content is protected !!

Comments (0)

All The Hawkeye Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *