Are Schools to Blame for '16 and Pregnant'?

Jeanne Sager
6

16 and pregnantThe folks at Planned Parenthood sure know how to scare a parent. In a campaign centered in New York City, the folks at everyone's favorite pregnancy prevention place are warning just because there's a curriculum in place for sex education in schools ... it doesn't mean teachers are teaching it. Wait, what?

Isn't that the whole point of having a curriculum? Is this why we've got all these girls enduing up 16 and Pregnant? Hey now, I know it's a controversial issue. You have your abstinence-only education parents (which, cough, doesn't work, cough, cough). You have your "tell the kids the truth, darnit" parents.

But we have something in common, don't we? An estimated 93 percent of us want something! Some kind of education!

In a perfect world, we wouldn't need sex ed. We would have parents educating their kids on what happens when penis hits vagina. But we live in a world where three in 10 teen girls end up pregnant at least once before age 20. Leaving it up to the parents doesn't work.

On the flip side, for those of us involved parents, who are doing our jobs, a little back-up never hurts. Especially as puberty turns our kids into back-talking brats who don't believe a WORD we have to say on any matter, especially important ones like "wrap that sucker or you're going to end up with diseases." If our kids aren't listening to us, the hope is they'll take the word of a slightly more disinterested party. Teachers are a perfect resource; they're already people of authority from whom they take education ... and they generally feel less judged.

Formal sex education does work. It's been shown to delay sexual activity in teens. It's been shown to make kids more responsible when they DO engage in sex.

But if Planned Parenthood is right -- and I'm willing to say they're experts on this one -- it sounds like schools aren't necessarily teaching it. And according to other resources I pulled up on it, the teachers charged with the job may not be well-equipped to teach this particular program.

Which means we're not getting back-up ... if we are teaching our kids about sex. And if you're the type who says, "The school does it, why should I?" your kid is getting their information from their friends ... and that's about it. Better start buying the onesies and calling MTV.

The lesson for us parents? Knowing our schools have sex ed isn't enough. We need to find out if it's being taught, and by whom. We need to find out what they're saying, and how kids are receiving it. And we need to petition our schools to make sure our kids are getting the education they need.

Are you satisfied with sex ed at your kids' school?

 

Image via MTV

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