Consecutively for two years in middle school, I remember being dropped off with the girls in my class at the auditorium for “girl talk.” This “girl talk” consisted of: talking about our bodily change, what to do about our periods, and free packages (consisted of pads, tampons, and leaflets). I think the boys got the same talk except without any “freebies.”
In high school we were required to take gym class every year except for one fall/spring term in our junior year. The one term off from the gym replaced by a required health class. From “health class” in high school, two things that I remembered were watching a lot of True Life on VHS recording and watching Super Size Me (Link to Doc). Sex ed. was covered, however, I only vaguely remember it being handouts, reading said handouts, and discussing a little bit about it. The handouts were about the differences between men and women body parts. The discussion was about the effectiveness of contraceptive use, ranging from “pulling out” to abstinence. Also a brief discussion on what is safe-sex and abstinence being the most effective way. Sex ed. was taught in one class period.
Another exposure to “sex ed” was biology class in 9th grade, where my teacher showed us Miracle of Life. His approach was quite scarring as he would rewind it once the baby and umbilical cord is out. Therefore I saw it several times where the baby comes out part way and shoots back up into the vagina due to my teacher’s rewinding. It was truly wince worthy, mortifying and absolutely horrific. I watched this right after my lunch period while peeking through my fingers…
You may be wondering what all this is about? Well, above, is my public school education repertoire of sex-ed/health. My fellow blogger, Sarah’s post titled Mississippi Blues, gives a brief explanation of her experiences with sex ed at a all-girls’ Catholic high school.
After watching the documentary, The Education of Shelby Knox, it made me sit back and re-analyze my education on sex education provided by the public schools. This documentary made me compare my education on sex education with Lubbock’s. I gained more knowledge from my public schools than the teens in Lubbock, however, the NYC sex education was still severely lacking. Last year, New York City introduced a new mandate requiring public middle and high schools to teach sex education (NYT Article). According to Shelby Knox, “we can never have enough sex education because we have far, far too little of it now.”
During the making of the documentary, teachers in Lubbock were only allowed to say “abstinence is the only way to prevent teen pregnancy and STIs” or else they are at risk to possibly lose their jobs. At the same time, students in netherlands begin their education on sex education in primary school at the age of six. In the BBC News article titled Netherlands: Let’s Talk About Sex, it talks about how the Netherlands have the lowest teen pregnancy rate in Europe.
Children are often exposed to sex through different cartoons, TV shows or movies. However, these shows or movies do not talk about safe sex. So is it better for sex education to start at a young age, like learning another language? My answer? Yes.
Link to Shelby Knox’s website: http://shelbyknox.com/