When I was in middle school and high school, I dreaded the one week each year that was devoted to sex education. We were taught a very strict abstinence-only form of sex ed, but I do remember one year when a teacher actually told us about condoms and other forms of protection. I always thought this form of sex ed was pretty common. However, if I were currently a student in New York City’s public schools, I could be expecting a very different curriculum, which will be starting this year.
The newly instated sex ed curriculum in these public schools will be much more advanced than what has been taught for the past 20 years. This curriculum will include traditional sex ed lessons, while also teaching students how to use a condom and discussing the appropriate age for sexual activity to begin.
The new curriculum is being instated in order to help black and Latino teens improve their lives. According to the Bloomberg administration, these teens are much more likely to have unplanned pregnancies or contract a STD.
“It’s obviously something that applies to all boys and all girls,” said the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Linda Gibbs. “But when we look at the biggest disadvantages that kids in our city face, it is blacks and Latinos that are most affected by the consequences of early sexual behavior and unprotected sex.”
New York isn’t the first state to teach more than abstinence-only sexual education. As of January 2011, 20 states and Washington, D. C. required their schools to teach sex and H.I.V. education to their students.
“We have a responsibility to provide a variety of options to support our students, and sex education is one of them,” said Dennis Walcot, the chancellor of NYC public schools.
For parents who are not comfortable with this new form of sex ed, there will still be the option to opt students out of the lessons that will discuss birth-control options and methods. Personally, I feel that this is a very good thing and that it will make it less awkward for parents to talk to their teens about using protection against STDs and unplanned pregnancies.
“We’re going to have to be the bridge between the chancellor’s requirements and the community,” said the principal of Middle School 142, Casimiro Cibelli, about the new sexual education requirements and families who might be opposed to them. “Hopefully, we’ll allay [the families’] concerns because of their trust in us.”
Via The New York Times
The Sexual Education Debate: Abstinence-Only vs. Safe Sex