In a recent article published on Tuesday, Oct. 3oth, from Education News, it stated that NYC public schools will expand access to free birth control to its students without parental consent. Recent statistics show that more than 7,000 girls become pregnant each year by the time they graduate, and more than 2,500 drop out of school by the time they give birth. The article also mentions that two-thirds have abortions. As they expand the program to more schools, the New York City Parents Union has raised much concern about the state of NYC’s public school’s sexual education program. Many think that parental consent should be mandatory when it comes to their children being able to access birth control from the school.
Mona Davis, head of the NYCPU goes on to say, “If Mayor Bloomberg truly cares about our children and stopping teenage pregnancy, he would invest in our schools,” Davids added. “He would put the money back into those school budgets, so that they could have after-school programs, extra-curricular activities.” (source). Davis is planning on having the NYCPU file a law suit, making parental consent mandatory.
While this article highlights a struggle within a small portion of public education, it raises the issue of sexual education within America, and how it affects its families. Sexual education in the States is a touchy issue, and many parents feel that schools should not teach their children about sex. My problem with that, is that without reliable and medically accurate information, students will not be able to make informed decisions when it comes to having sex. Too many parents seem ashamed to discuss the topic, or if they do, the provide unreliable information. Some even avoid the topic altogether. Others feel that sex education should be mandatory in all schools, both public and private.
Teens will have sex, whether their parents like it or not. Many private religious schools often push an “abstinence only” program, which offers little information about STDs/AIDS, and contraception. Public schools often have to incorporate the “abstinence only” idea into their sex-ed curriculum, which makes their program less-reliable. What needs to be done is to mandate schools, both public and private, to have comprehensive sexual education as part of their curriculum. It’s not just an issue in the States, but in countries such as South Korea as well. Effective sexual education has been shown to decrease teen pregnancy rates, and slow the spread of STDs/AIDS.
Whether sexuality is addressed in schools or at home, it needs to be dealt with. If we care about youth, and their health, they need to know about sex in a medically accurate way. They have a right to know and should be able to make informed decisions for themselves.