Health curriculum must expand sexual education

Full semester course would yield understanding of material

For some Minnesota high schoolers, sexual education received in school is the only sexual education they will get. Park dedicates around three weeks a year to health, where the curriculum includes lessons about sex, mental health and relationships.

However, this short amount of time focused on such important topics is detrimental toward adolescent minds because they lose the chance to fully grasp and feel confident with the material.

We believe health should be a mandated semester-long class for freshmen. A semester-long period provides more continuity, allowing more time for all topics to be covered thoroughly. Removing
students from selected classes for a week causes a loss of focus and an overall feeling from students that health is more of a pass out of class than a time to learn important life lessons and skills.

With a mandated semester-long class, students are given time freshman year to understand each topic addressed. In sophomore, junior and senior year students could still be pulled for embedded health, but the lessons would have less of an urgency and time limit, instead serving as a review of the material learned freshman year.

With our current embedded health, students who miss one day of class are put at a disadvantage because the material they missed will most likely not be covered again. Returning tScreen Shot 2016-05-24 at 11.43.12 AMo a semester-long health class, as done in previous years, would help students better understand the material.

Currently, the sexual education taught at Park is comprehensive, meaning it touches on topics like sexuality, birth control, unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), all without ties to religious beliefs. We would like to continue this way of teaching, but with the current shortened time period the topics cannot be discussed thoroughly. With more time for discussion students could better understand these important topics.

We believe students also should be taught about the emotions surrounding sex, as well as how to keep a healthy relationship and body. With extended time, students can learn about more than just the consequences of having sex.

As a result of the minimal amount of sexual education at Park, we believe students are not fully prepared for healthy sex. More time gives teachers a chance to educate students not only about sex, but also mental health and relationships. An addition of a required health class freshman year, along with three weeks of embedded health in sophomore, junior and senior year for review, would benefit all students.

In our changing society the concept of sex has become less of a taboo subject. Students should work with administration to request a mandated semester of health to be integrated into the curriculum. Teens must have a full understanding of comprehensive sex ed before they graduate highschool. By integrating a mandatory freshman health class into Park’s curriculum, students have a chance to fully understand the subject and ask questions in a comfortable setting. With a full understanding of health, students can live healthy and safe lives in regards to sex and sexuality.

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