Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sex Education Saves Lives

By accident, thanks to the Internet, I happened to catch a recent letter to the editor of Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel newspaper in Wisconsin. I have no clue how old the writer of the letter is, but it is an important commentary (but sad one) on the status of sex education in many parts of the nation.

I am providing a copy of the letter here, followed by a link to a similar letter to a newspaper I wrote about the subject in 1979, when I was about 18.

Here's the recent Wisconsin letter:

Your Opinions
From Journal Sentinel readers (Wisconsin)
Posted: Dec. 10, 2007

Youth need open, thorough discussion

I was appalled by the Elmbrook School District task force's discussion to shy away from proper sexual education ("Task force debates sex ed lesson timing," Dec. 6). I am thankful I was taught in Brookfield's public school system in a comprehensive manner about sex and disease prevention. To deprive children of that in a culture laced with provocative media and sexual innuendo is both a contradiction and a disservice.

Children should learn about sex not only for the prevention of unwanted pregnancies but for the fact that more than half of all sexually active people in the United States will have a sexually transmitted disease at some point in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Depriving children of education about sexual behavior when they reach the age of curiosity is damaging to them and to society. Young teens should feel comfortable discussing the matter of sexual health with their doctor and their sexual history with their partner. The rising statistics of diseases show the need to be rid of stigmas associated with sexual behavior.

Teaching teens to be ashamed and embarrassed to talk about sexual behavior by beating around the bush with abstinence-only education is asking for ignorance and an increase in diseases among the young population. I encourage the district to reconsider.

Katherine Groth

Click here to read a 1979 letter I wrote to a newspaper on the very same topic in California when I was about 18.
Click here to read a 1979 news article regarding the school board voting against sex ed!

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