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Brittany Johnston WR 121 Unit #3 Essay Alexis White To the Corvallis High School Board of Education, This is a proposal

to provide free condoms to students of Corvallis High School in sex education programs. The purpose of sex education is to make students aware of the risks and responsibilities that come with having sexual relationships and to prepare them to make healthy lifestyle choices. I believe that this message will be supported if students were given access to free contraceptives such as condoms. Condoms prevent the transfer of sexually transmitted diseases also known as STDs. Students are more likely to wait to have sexual intercourse if they are aware of the risks, and those who are educated by their parents are even more likely to make good decisions. Students are also more likely to make healthy decisions later on in life if they know how to and are comfortable about being responsible. Condoms are the most effective, available and easy to use form of birth control. Not only do condoms protect against unwanted pregnancies, but they also are the most active defense against the transfer of STDs. WebMD highlights the benefits of using condoms saying Male condoms are inexpensive and easy to get without a prescription, and Male condoms give teen boys control over their STD risks and lower the risk of becoming a parent WebMD suggests a spermicide should be used along with a condom for 97% efficiency of preventing pregnancies instead of just 85% with a condom alone. First of all, I would like to point out that handing out condoms to students is not the equivalent of telling them to go and have sex as some might believe. On the contrary, the majority of teenagers do not feel obliged to act upon it, just as with learning about intercourse. A

survey taken by a sex education program in Oregon called FACTS shows that students are 45% less likely to have sex if they are educated about contraceptives. Another branch of the same program in which the parents of students were involved was reported to be even more effective. Abstinence-only programs are the main type of sex education in most schools in the United States. However, according to Sex Ed 101 on The Media Project Abstinence-only programs show no evidence of delaying a young person's first sexual intercourse or of reducing the frequency of sexual intercourse. This means that teenagers dont listen when they are told not to do something and not given a decent reason for it. Janet Pearson, in her article Making Health Care, Birth Control a Comfortable Option: FINAL HOME EDITION, says Many observers will be horrified at the idea of teens obtaining contraceptives with the help of adults. But the simple fact is that they can get a variety of birth control at the local drugstore now.... As for convincing all of them to abstain from sex until they are old enough and mature enough to handle its consequences: That is a laudable goal, and one in fact that is imparted through programs such as the one at Apache Manor. I personally believe in abstinence and feel it should be taught, but the fact must be recognized that abstinence-only programs are not as effective as programs teaching about contraceptives. If programs that educate about contraceptives are so effective and abstinence programs are not, what sense is there to continue with the latter? I suggest Corvallis High School should take a more mature approach to sex education from now on. The programs should teach students about the risks and responsibilities that come with sexual relationships. Goals of this new program should be to raise awareness of the risks of having unprotected sex such as STDs and pregnancy. Students should be encouraged to actually think of what they would do if they or their partner were to become pregnant. Every student

should be asked to consider questions such as, would they keep the child? Put the child up for adoption? Could they face an abortion? The next goal would be to educate about contraceptives. Students should be taught the importance of making decisions to keep both partners healthy. Here, the teacher would talk about all the different sexually transmitted diseases and infections and then begin to talk about methods of contraceptives. Along with talking about contraceptives, the teacher should pass out or have condoms for students to take. I believe this should be done to help students become comfortable with taking responsibility for themselves. If they become comfortable, as in they do not feel birth control is a forbidden topic in their beginning teenage years, hopefully they will feel able to talk to someone, such as parents, or take control and educate themselves about safe sex. Hopefully they will choose to do the right thing and, if they decide to have sexual relations, they will use proper protection. These morals and responsible traits will go with them for the rest of their lives. The last goal in this new sex education program would be to end with the topic of abstinence. Every program I have ever heard of begins with abstinence talks, telling how it is the only way to prevent pregnancy 100%. Instructors would then go on to talk about contraceptives and safe sex. The reason I would have this topic last is because a major argument against teaching students about contraceptives is that it sends mixed messages to the students. I would agree to some extent. Just teaching is not support for the subject, however, I believe it might make more of an impact if abstinence was taught last after the students had learned about the risks and responsibilities. After they have been treated as adults and feel capable of making important decisions, if they are taught abstinence with these feelings of adulthood, perhaps it could be more effective.

Parents will undoubtedly raise complaints that the schools have no right to teach such things to their children, that they are not respecting the rights of the parent. A Texas newspaper article covered a story in which the Supreme Court refused to even hear arguments against the schools ignoring the rights of the families. Indeed, how could one teach ones child abstinence if they are presented with condoms at school? James Remillard demands to know Where does this put the 14-year-old in the back seat? Where are her defenses? The boy says I got the condom from the school. It must be all right. A frightening thought for any parent, what would their child do if pressured into sex? How could they hold up under the pressure of the I got this condom school, it MUST be alright argument, an argument with the force of the school, a place from whence they should be able to trust in to learn right and wrong and receive guidance from. To this I reply parents are put in an unfair predicament in this situation. But I believe that if parents are open enough with their children they will be able to instill values and morals strong enough to say no. Sex education in schools will still teach students how to get out of uncomfortable situations, and that they should not let themselves be pushed into something they do not want to do. There are also those who do not have the benefit of being able to talk to parents or any trusted adult figure about such a topic for whatever reason. Should these students not get a sufficient education from their school if they will not be able to receive such knowledge from anywhere else? Parents should be reminded of the classes that are dealt with every day. How there are many students, all with different backgrounds, and all deserving a proper education on how to protect themselves. I thank the Corvallis High School Board of Education for considering these changes to the schools sexual education programs. I believe that such changes will be effective and beneficial to all.

Sincerely, Brittany Johnston

References: 1) "Birth Control-Teens and Birth Control." WebMD - Better information. Better health.. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2011. <http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/birth-control-teensand-birth-control>. 2) Mike McManus. "Chastity, Not Condoms, Will Stop Teen Pregnancies: FINAL AM Edition." Fort Worth Star - Telegram: 8. Print. 1996. 3) Janet Pearson. "Making Health Care, Birth Control a Comfortable Option: FINAL HOME EDITION." Tulsa World: 1. Print. 1998. 4) Mueller, Trisha E., Lorrie E. Gavin, and Aniket Kulkarni. "The Association between Sex Education and Youth's Engagement in Sexual Intercourse, Age at First Intercourse, and Birth Control use at First Sex." The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine 42.1 (2008): 89-96. Print. 5) Herald News Services. "Many Youth Regret First Intercourse: Final Edition." Calgary Herald: B.8. Print. 2000. 6) Rodine, Sharon, et al. "Sexuality Education Beliefs among Sexually Experienced Youth: Differences by Gender and Birth Control use." American Journal of Sexuality Education 1.3 (2006): 3-23. Print. 7) .Anonymous. "Sex Education; Internet Site Offers Parents a New Sex Education Technique." Life Science Weekly (2008): 4265. Print. 8) Liavshina, G. Kh. "Parents' Participation in Sex Education of hildren. Problemy sotsial no gigieny, zdravookhraneniia i istorii meditsiny II sotsial no gigieny, konomiki i upravleniia zdravookhraneniem im. .A. Semashko RAM A Assotsiatsiia Meditsinskaia literatura'.".3 (2002): 22. Print. 9) "Sex Ed 101." The Media Project - The Entertainment Industry's Resource on Sexual Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Mar. 2011. <http://www.themediaproject.com/topics/sexeducation.htm>