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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Important: Sex Ed. Help!

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Author Topic: Important: Sex Ed. Help!
Irm
Activist
Member # 27418

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Although I was given the necessary education in the biological aspects of sexuality long before even entering grade-school (with a yearly brush-up that elaborated on more advanced concepts as my understanding grew), I was still curious, upon beginning high school 2 1/2 years ago, to see how the information would be presented in our public school sex ed. I was a bit confused, as I was under the impression that this would be taught in Middle School, but Middle School decided that "Abstinence Only!" was the only program they were willing to offer. Although many Middle Schoolers were already having sex, I could sort of understand that age-bracket being considered too young in a state as conservative as Idaho. However...

I soon discovered, to my shock, that EVEN IN HIGH SCHOOL, the only sexual program preached was "Abstinence Only."

NO sex ed!

Curious... Well, perhaps if I were to look through the different electives offered at the school, I would find that sexual education was a separate and optional class?

Only two classes even remotely fit the bill:

Family Life and Health.

However, upon closer examination...

Health, though it addresses reproduction, does not do so from a sexual angle. A loose lesson on pregnancy is given, and a very graphic video (watched only after parents sign a permission slip) depicting a live birth is shown to "scare off" students from the idea of sex. They are told that they should "abstain from sex", and are given no education on the subject, except from the view of, "you will become pregnant and go through a very painful, strenuous process that eventually leads to birth and baby." The class is traumatizing for most young women, and absolutely non-beneficial in any way for males.

Family Life is equally manipulative and useless. Again, sexuality is given zero educational focus, but a lot of attention is rewarded to "baby". Extensive measures are taken to teach young females how to take care of a baby, including a mandatory "smart" baby doll that is set to cry at short intervals, requiring the caretaker to "change its diaper", "feed it" with the fake bottle, etc. Again, if you take the class, this baby is MANDATORY, and it CANNOT be shut off at night. The baby doll unit is a bit of a JOKE around the school, because you can always tell who is on the program--they show up to their classes half-awake, grumpy, and their babies always go off in the middle of class. They almost ALWAYS suffer academically from the responsibility, and though several teachers have complained about students' suffering grades, nothing has been done to terminate the program because of its effectiveness in disuading teens from sexual activity.

The overall message pushed onto these young females by the course?

"That's what you get if you have a baby! Aweful, isn't it?" (Yes, the teacher literally says this.)

And again, abstinence, rather than education, is firmly pushed upon the students.

These manipulative classes not only fail to provide the sexual education needed for young teens to stay SAFE and HEALTHY in their inevitable sexual explorations, but they--for many students, if not all--DAMAGE the teen's relationship with their own sexuality, ESPECIALLY for the young girls.

I was horrified and disgusted by my school's poor approach to the subject of sex ed., and I wondered if this was an "Idahoan" thing--or in other words, a result of the highly conservative politics that dominate this region, which also happens to sit on a very tight "bible belt".

What I found, shocklingly, was this:
http://www3.state.id.us/oasis/2001/H0277.html

(Warning: this URL leads to a site OFF Scarleteen.)

To highlight some main points from the above URL...

"...IF A SCHOOL DISTRICT INTRODUCES A PROGRAM ON FAMILY LIFE AND SEX EDUCATION, THE CONTENT OF THAT INSTRUCTION SHALL BE DETERMINED SOLELY AT THE LOCAL LEVEL AND TO EXTEND THE MEANING OF SELF-DISCIPLINE TO INCLUDE ABSTINENCE AS THE ONLY SAFE METHOD TO COMBAT UNWANTED PREGNANCY, HIV/AIDS AND SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES."

Though absintence is certainly the SAFEST way, the wording of "only safe method" has caused the entire school district--(I have not yet researched whether this extends beyond the school district that I am in, since sex ed. policies are, as you can see above, determined on the local level)--to present absintence as the ONLY alternative to their students, COMPLETELY failing to give even some elementary education or even MENTION of other means of protection (such as condoms), even if citing their risks.

"Major emphasis in such a program should be to assist the home in giving them the knowledge and appreciation of the important place the family home holds in the social system of our culture..."

and

"The program should supplement the work in the home and the church in giving youth the scientific, physiological information for understanding sex and its relation to the miracle of life, including knowledge of the power of the sex drive and the necessity of controlling that drive by self-discipline..."

The necessity of controlling that drive by self-discipline. Amazing. Let us ENCOURAGE suppression, sexual guilt, and frustration in youth, AND only give them the educational avenue to perceive sex through ONE angle of the cultural spectrum, even though sex is treated in a RAINBOW of different ways depending on religion, political stance, personal morality, ethnicity, cultural background, etc. It seems to me that my suspcision of this being an "Idahoan" thing turns out correct: the state wishes to push a purely conservative view of sex into public schools, and in so doing are sacrificing certain important educational elements that are necessary both for the PHYSICAL and MENTAL health of teenagers.


The effects of improper education are certainly visible, even to those who would care not to examine its consiquences. There are only TWO options made available to students here: ABSINTENCE, or an "alternative" school for--you guessed it--PREGNANT teens.

Our "alternative" school is VERY amply populated--though many choose not to go, and can be seen walking around campus with big bellies and sad faces--and through the grapevine it is known that a shocking number of students in attendance suffer from some sort of STD or STI. Simply through being socially involved and observant, I have picked up on MANY common misconceptions on campus regarding sex, such as:

*You cannot get pregnant during your period.
*You cannot get pregnant your first time having sex.
*"Pulling out" is effective birth control.
*"Draining" after sex is an effective means of birth control.
*Getting "beat up" by your friends after unprotected sex is an acceptable means of pregnancy prevension. (This involves being repeatedly punched in the stomach in order to damage any internal process that may be happening, or to trigger a miscarriage.)


I am revolted by all this. I would like to take some steps--even if I can only set some small ones in motion, as I am moving out of state this summer--towards introducing PROPER sex education in Idaho public schools, or at least within my school district.

Could anyone inform me of an intelligent, effective place to start, and exactly what steps I should consider taking, and who I should contact, etc?

------------------
~Meddle not in the affairs of Dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup


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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Here's the thing (and I explain this a lot, so forgive me if I sound like a recorded PSA).

This isn't just a state issue: this comes down from the deferal level. Since 1996 there has been NO federal funding given for anything BUT abstinence-based sex ed. To any state, for any public school. So, it's not just Idaho and it's not just regional. Millions and millions of tax dollars have been allotted by the Bush admin to ab-only education since.

Ultimately, a public school which WANTS comprehensive sex ed will basically have to do it on their own dime, buying comprehensive sex ed curricula with state funds, if they provide for it (most don't, and I don't see Idaho being one which does, given the statute you linked to), or private funds.

So, what I'd say is that the tack to take is to get a LOT of students AND parents to petition your school board for this, both with a bunch of good, statistical data on the results of comprehensive sex ed and ab-only, as well as sound means for fundraising for the comprehensive curricula.

But I'd be prepared for that to be ineffective, unfortunately. Since this all came down in '96, a lot of people have been lobbying at the federal level, protesting at that level (Scarleteen is, in part, such a protest), etc. There is a link off of our main page -- it states "no new money for abstinence-only curricula" -- which can provide you with more information on these issues at the federal level.


Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ikeren
Activist
Member # 26880

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Incidently, Canada is slightly more liberal. But that is very slight. I thought I was sexually normal until just over half a year ago . Not because I couldn't identify my feelings, but because I thought everyone had the same sexual preferences.

Alright, I am a radical, an anarchist. I could try to do this with the administration backing me, but I doubt they would. That is okay, I can do it without too!

How large is your highschool? Mine has about 680 students...I figure I could survey approximately 150 of them.

It would be a basic sex ed quiz. I'd let it be unsigned and I wouldn't know who is returning them. I could organize a pick up/drop off at a friends classroom (a teacher friend)...easy to do behind the administrations back. I could see what is known, what isn't. I could get advertisements on the announcements but move the classrooms around to keep the admin from catching up with the pool...and do it all anonymously. Proxies and drop off points as well as electronic (have them create anonymous hotmail accounts, throw away accounts. I've got one. I think it is alias_alias477. Dunno. I used it once).

Once I have my research (heck, I could even straight up ask teacher friends for some help. Tell em it is for an article for the student newspaper...and just get them the survey and have their kids do it...) I could accurately asses how educated the school is and where the education lacks.

With that knowledge I could start writing articles on sexual information for both the school newspaper and the school newsletter. I could probably get something in the yearbook. I could advertise this website and try to fix the problem. I've got enough influence at another highschool to make the same thing happen...

Alright, I am going to go for it.

For you: since your school is in the states, you probably won't be able to get permission to do any sort of comprehensive sex ed. I would not suggest trying this sort of wild scheme. However, just try to spread the word about this site by word of mouth...

As for the "Getting beat up", I find that disgusting and dangerous. I can't think of how to stop it though.

Good luck.

------------------
I am a 17 year old male practitioner of BDSMLNOPQRSTUV...
LeVay Satanism composes approximately 40% of my religious beliefs. I agree with approximately 40% of LeVay Satanism.
I am a sadist (60%) I am a masochist (40%)
I am bisexual, or bipermissive. (75% heterosexual, 25% homosexual).

I seek no conflict outside my bedroom walls.


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Karybu
Scarleteen Volunteer
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Ikeren, I realize that you're trying to do something good here, but I'd really encourage you to get the administration's permission to do something like this before you start. They are likely not going to be too happy about having something like this going on without their knowledge and approval. Just a heads up.
Posts: 5799 | From: Canada/Australia | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Irm
Activist
Member # 27418

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Wow, amazing--I had no idea the problem was so wide-spread. But I suppose it makes sense, considering the current people of power...

Does anyone have any good links/points to other sites/orgs/etc. that are actively fighting this?

------------------
~Meddle not in the affairs of Dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup


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DarkChild717
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 139

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Well, as far as websites go, you're on one.

In addition, you might want to check out Scarleteen's Blog, which highlights different things in regards to sexuality, education, and sexual rights. Also, you'll find a plethora of links to help you get started on your road to activism.

You'll also find at the top of each forum a link to a new project about women and feminism. You might find it of interest.


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Ikeren
Activist
Member # 26880

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quote:
Ikeren, I realize that you're trying to do something good here, but I'd really encourage you to get the administration's permission to do something like this before you start. They are likely not going to be too happy about having something like this going on without their knowledge and approval. Just a heads up.

Indeed. But if they won't give it to me...
Don't worry, it won't be until next year that the plan starts going into effect...I should be able to get permission by then.

------------------
I am a 17 year old male practitioner of BDSMLNOPQRSTUV...
LeVay Satanism composes approximately 40% of my religious beliefs. I agree with approximately 40% of LeVay Satanism.
I am a sadist (60%) I am a masochist (40%)
I am bisexual, or bipermissive. (75% heterosexual, 25% homosexual).

I seek no conflict outside my bedroom walls.


Posts: 157 | From: Canada | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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