Shairi Bernal, a 16-year-old sophomore at Hancock High School, started to learn about sex when she was a freshman at the age of 15. She’s in favor of kindergarten students having a Sex Ed class because that way they know what’s right and what’s wrong at a younger age. “One interesting thing I learned in Sex Ed is the many diseases that can be transmitted by having sex.” Some people say that Sex Ed is giving the wrong information to students but Shairi says that it’s not. “Sex Ed is actually helping students make the right decisions and also helping them prevent diseases in the future, but it all depends on the person.”
According to the Chicago Department of Public Health in the article titled “Sexual Education Policy in Illinois and Chicago” published on June 2013 in Chicago, the Board of Education adopted a new policy in June 2013 that mandates comprehensive sexual heat education for grades kindergarten through twelve grade. Kindergarten and first grade curricula is about anatomy, healthy relationships and personal safety; second and third grades focus on growth and development; and fifth graders to seniors learn about growth and development, reproduction, healthy decision making and bullying. Research says that the teen birth rate in Chicago is higher than the national average. Sexual health education is one strategy that reduces the rates of teen births and sexually transmitted diseases.
Mr. David Toro, the Hancock health teacher, is in favor of students having a Sex Ed class at a young age because he believes it’s important to provide information that’s clear and accurate for students. Students will only benefit from being taught the truth. He says that the disservice occurs when students are left to figure out things on their own. “I am in favor of Sex Ed, providing that the information is age-appropriate and accurate, comprehensive sex education programs have proven to decrease the rate of sexual activity among teens, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among teens, the rate of teen pregnancy, and the rate of unprotected sex among teens.”
Also there are people that say that there is only a certain age that’s appropriate for students to learn about sex, but Mr. Toro says that “the instruction is designed to meet the needs of students according to age group. A student’s age should not be of concern when being taught about their own body parts. Without this, they will inevitably find ways to become misinformed.”
Alexes Perez, a 17-year-old senior at Hancock is against students learning about Sex Ed at a young age. He says that high school is the right time for students to learn about sex. He started to learn about sex freshman year when he was 15 years old. “I’m against kindergarten students to learn about Sex Ed because they’re too young to even think about that. I think high school is a good time to learn because that’s when some girls start getting pregnant.”
The Chicago Department of Public Health says that the teen pregnancy in Chicago is one and a half times higher than the national average; they say that sex education is one strategy that could reduce the rate of teen pregnancy.
What Alexes thinks about this is that “Yes, Sex Education will help reduce teen pregnancy but teachers have to be on it and talk to them about the risks. Also, it would be helpful to learn about all these diseases because maybe that would change students’ thinking about sex. It might scare them like it scared me.”
The chart is from “Healthy Chicago: Transforming the Health of our City.”
How does the rate of teenagers having sexual Intercourse affect the Hancock community?
What is the difference between a kindergarten student learning about Sex Ed and a teenage student learning this in high school?
When should these classes begin? Why?
By Maria Campa, Hancock High School Junior
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