Sexually transmitted diseases are a big problem in Tennessee. (link...)
Could this be because sex education in the schools or even good sex education by parents is lacking here?
There's always an uproar about teaching kids about sex. You could even say a total denial that many children are doing it long before their parents could even imagine. Obviously these statistics point to a failure on the part of teachers and parents in Tenn. to teach kids what the dangers are and how to protect themselves.
The current government insists that funding goes only to abstinence based sex eduction in the schools, though many school systems choose to teach comprehensive sex education, even without government funding. There is also concern that some of the government funded abstinence programs are conveying misinformation about abortion, gays, ways diseaes are transmitted, and teen pregnancy. (link...)
"The report finds that over 80 percent of the abstinence-only curricula, used by over two thirds of abstinence grantees in 2003, contain false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health. For example one program tells young people that "you can get AIDS through sweat and tears" and "you have to perform 10 different steps to put on a condom." Students in these programs were also less likely to use contraception when they did have sex and were less likely to seek STD testing."
It's natural that parents feel a lot of conflict about what their kids should know and when they should know it. This well-balanced statistical NPR report explores some of the concerns parents feel about sex education.
I think abstinence is a noble goal, but promoting that instead of making sure kids don't get pregnant or infected with dreadful diseases makes no sense at all. Kids experiment. If they are protected when they decide to have sex, even if it's only one time to see what the hubub is all about, they will just have an experience. If they are not protected it can become a life-altering event.
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