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Lack of Sex Education in the United States

by Christopher Marinelli

Sex education has become a forefront controversial issue in the United States. According to The National Conference of State Legislature, 38 States do not require mandated sex education and another 41 do not require sex education to be medically accurate.

There are currently an abundance of statistics showing sexual activity amongst teenagers, as well as a correlation between teenage pregnancy and the transmission of STDs throughout states who do not mandate sex education.

A 2011 report from the CDC stated that over 47 percent of all high school students have said they have had sex, along with 15 percent having had at least four or more sexual partners at that point in life. Only 60 percent of these students have reported to have had used condoms and only 23 percent had said they used birth control.

According to Guttmacher Institute in a 2015 report, 3 states being Texas, Alabama and South Carolina have passed legislation requiring only negative information on sexual orientation to be taught.

Another study by the CDC showed a disproportional number of teenagers being affected by STDs. Without proper knowledge on the importance of using contraceptives and condoms, kids will not take the steps needed to prevent the transmission of these diseases simply because they lack the education.

According to the Connecticut State Department Of Education, “Connecticut requires school districts to cover human growth and development, disease prevention and AIDS education. It does not mandate sexual health education.” However, almost all schools within our state do administrate a sexual education or life skills class despite it not being legally mandated.

A report created by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, discerns a clear correlation of sex education and teenage pregnancy. In states such as Texas, Alabama and South Carolina, there are is an average of 66 births per 1,000 women in their teens in comparison to Connecticut’s 44 per 1,000 women.

In the past year, six states trying to pass legislation to require sex education have either failed within their respective state’s Senate or were postponed indefinitely. Another seven states had their legislation refer to another committee, which when taken into consideration, the slow wheels of the legislative process successfully will hold back these laws for an indefinite future.

Statistics and studies clearly show a substantial amount of sexual activity amongst teenagers in high school, with numbers and statistics only growing as they enter college or the workforce. It is a thought justified to hold a degree of anxiety to know that 38 states potentially allow high school graduates to enter the world without a knowledge on sex, contraceptives or STDs.

As kids grow and search for their purpose in the world they are going to find relationships, fall in love and experiment in sexual activities. Studies across the board back this assumption with empirical information. Teaching only abstinence is just simply not the solution we need to be aiming for.

We currently have more teenage pregnancies per thousand women than any other industrialized country. While mandating sex education across the country will not render teenage pregnancy obsolete, it will undoubtedly help bring down the pregnancy rate and reduce the alarmingly high rates of STDs among teenagers.