Of course schools should not encourage teens to have sex. The real question here should be “What role should schools play in sex education?”
I do not believe that the U.S. public school system is trying to encourage teens to HAVE sex. Instead, they are trying to encourage teens to be well informed about the risks of their behavior.
In an ideal world, sex would never have to be an issue in the school system. Instead, parents would spend more time discussing health and moral issues in the home. However, we do not live in an ideal society. The fact of the matter is that there are parents out there who never discuss such issues with their children. There are parents who place their children’s health and well-being on the back burner. There are parents who simple do not consider sex-education an important issue.
As a result, the responsibility of educating today’s youth on matters of sex and healthy lifestyles is falling more and more on the shoulders of the education system. We as a society cannot allow the future of tomorrow to go forth ignorant of the facts. Teens need to be informed about the ever growing dangers of sexual activity. There are fourteen-year-olds who are unaware of what HIV, AIDS and other STDs are. If not for the education they recieve in the school system, they would enter this world oblivious to the dangers lurking around them.
Allowing these teens to go out into a world where sex is glorified in magazines and media, without informing them first of the risks involved in such behavior is unacceptable. Doing so is not only an injustice to the individual, but also to our society as a whole. Sending a young adult into this world uninformed of the dangers is setting them up to put their own health and the health of others in jeopardy.
There are those who would confuse “educating” and “providing resources” as encouraging sexual behavior. I, however, believe that ignorance of the facts is far more likely to encourage them to participate in such behaviors. If they are unaware of the risks, they are more likely to percieve the activity as harmless.
If you want to point the finger at a group for “encouraging teens to have sex”, I suggest pointing the finger at the media and society as a whole. Take a trip to your local mall and observe the clothing that makes the storefront windows. The trend of “baring it all” is reaching younger and younger age groups. Turn your television on and observe the models in commercials and the actors and actresses you see there. Open up a teen magazine and see all the sexual inuendos.
Someone has to counteract the images and messages that our teens see every day. While some parents are good about handling these issues in the home and instilling good moral behavior in their children, there is an ever growing number of parents who are “allowing” society to raise their children.
For those parents who play an active role in their children’s lives, it should give them some peace of mind to know that our school systems are trying to do the same for children whose parents are not as active.
The only way to reduce the spread of STD’s and the trend of teen pregnancy is to disspell the myths associated with them.
I believe that the education system makes an honest effort to address these issues in the best way possible. However, the school was never meant to have to raise our children, so the brunt of the responsibility must still fall on the shoulders of parents and good role models. Until society as a whole decides to step up and take that resposibility, the schools have no choice but to do the best that they can.