Because I have lived in many places, I have noticed a difference in the kind of education that students receive and how it affects their lives overall. I have lived in areas where there is an abundance of information and students grow up healthy and happy, and areas where information is limited where students are confused and at risk.
I am a senior sociology major whose goal is to ultimately obtain a masters degree in Social Work. I am an army brat and have moved every 1 to 2 years throughout my life, and have lived all over the country. Because I have lived in many places, I have noticed a difference in the kind of education that students receive and how it affects their lives overall. I have lived in areas where there is an abundance of information and students grow up healthy and happy, and areas where information is limited where students are confused and at risk. This past year, I became involved with a program called Impact whose mission is to prevent teen pregnancy. I got to teach students in a classroom setting and was amazed by how very little they knew about their bodies, their rights, and the consequences of sex. They were completely unaware of what HIV and AIDS were. Even though the class was more comprehensive and progressive than courses previously offered, we were still banned from showing the students what condoms were, demonstrating how to use them, and discussing abortion and homosexuality. If students brought up homosexuality or abortion in class, we had to tell them it was something we couldn’t discuss and change the topic. I was really offended by these barriers because I knew there were students in the class who were questioning their sexuality, and teaching them that it is a taboo topic could launch them into an identity crisis.
I think that people of our generation and future generations should be able to ask questions, to learn the truth about STDs, pregnancy, and any other health related topic without being lied to. The studies prove that abstinence-only sex education does not work, so it is a disservice to students for schools to still use these programs.
I think it is important for youth to advocate for sexual health and rights for a few reasons. One is because we still do not see a completely equal society. Recently, we have seen a few gains for the LGBT community, but not enough. The more people learn about sexual health, the more they will understand people who are different and accept them - especially if being gay is discussed nonchalantly in a classroom so students understand that is it okay. Also, because youth are not being properly educated in sexual health education, they need to fight for the right to education to protect themselves and others. If more people understand protection and testing, STD rates will drop and fewer people will be at risk.