When it comes to monitoring and ensuring the well being of school-aged children, the agendas of most our nation’s parents, teachers, and public education policy makers seem to be heavily focused on topics such as bullying, drug awareness, and social development. Although each of these issues is very important and deserving of the attention it receives, there is one topic-sex education in the public school system-that holds just as much relevance amongst today’s youth, and yet it continues to be denied the same consideration. With underage sex being one of the nation’s long lasting taboos, one would assume that effective Sex Ed programs in the public school system would be geared towards today’s youth. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case, especially for those residents of the state of Florida.
Reflective of the predominantly conservative mindset of the early to mid 1900s, the sex education programs in the Florida education system seem to focus primarily on “abstinence-only-until-marriage” (Support SIECUS). In other words, these programs preach that completely abstaining from any sexual activity is the only way to avoid potentially devastating consequences, such as teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Although this idea may be true, it is based on the faulty premise that all teens will adhere to such a policy, therefore, eliminating the need to educate them on other precautionary measures, such as contraceptives. Unfortunately, such hopes have proven to be unrealistic, resulting in the need for these programs to be readdressed.
As with all issues, there are many evident stakeholders who are continuously affected by Florida’s lack of an effective and standardized sex education program within its public school system. These individuals range from teachers, parents, and even the students themselves. On the other hand, there are also those individuals who may not be as engaged with the issue on the surface, yet, they are still affected just the same. In particular, these individuals are the tax paying citizens of the state of Florida. One may ask why exactly should taxpayers be concerned with the current state of sex education in Florida. Well the answer is simple. Their hard earned money is supporting a widely ineffective program with a hefty annual fiscal price tag of roughly $10.7 million (Support SIECUS). Also with the number of cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis in Florida rising from 307 per 100,000 residents in 1997 to 399 in 2006, it is evident that there are changes that must be made to the current sex education program (Support SIECUS).
Unfortunately, a lack of support from Florida citizens and other representatives has led to many of these bills going unapproved. Which is why the tax paying citizens of Florida need to show their support to any legislation or political representative aiming to positively reconstruct the current sex education program. The time is now, you do not start...