The debate over the best way to teach sexual health in the U.S. continues to rage on, but student voice is often left out of the conversation when schools are deciding on what to teach. So Myles and PBS NewsHour Student Reporters from Oakland Military Institute investigate the pros and cons of the various approaches to sex ed and talk to students to find out how they feel about their sexual health education.
TEACHERS: Get your students in the discussion on KQED Learn, a safe place for middle and high school students to investigate controversial topics and share their voices. Download lesson plan and get started on KQED Learn.
What is comprehensive sex education?
Comprehensive sex education teaches that not having sex is the best way to avoid STIs and unintended pregnancies, but it also includes medically accurate information about STI prevention, reproductive health, as well as discussions about healthy relationships, consent, gender identity, LGBTQ issues and more. What is sexual risk avoidance education? Sexual risk avoidance education is also known as abstinence only or abstinence-leaning education. It generally teaches that not having sex is the only morally acceptable, safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy and STIs -- some programs don’t talk about birth control or condoms-- unless it is to emphasize failure rates.
What are the main arguments for comprehensive sex education?
“Comprehensive sex ed” is based on the idea that public health improves when students have a right to learn about their sexuality and to make responsible decisions about it. Research shows it works to reduce teen pregnancies, delay when teens become sexually active and reduce the number of sexual partners teens have.