This week’s Pizza & Politics discussed the debate around sex education in public schools.
Most public schools in America teach one of three types of sex education. Abstinence Only education only focuses on teaching teaching and encouraging abstinence. Abstinence-based education teaches and encourages abstinence but provides information on contraceptive devices and prevention of STDs/STIs. Comprehensive education teaches and abstinence but provides information on contraceptive devices and prevention of STDs/STIs while also providing students additional resources.
Students were asked which of those two types they thought students should be learning in U.S. schools. Many students believed that comprehensive education courses should be taught. They felt a more in depth programs would help eliminate a lot of false and therefore dangerous information that can lead to risky behavior in students. Some students felt that a good balance between the two would work the best. They felt that providing accurate information while not encouraging behavior was the best course to take.
The next question was whether or not sex education programs should be standardized throughout the country. Most students felt that programs should be standardized to ensure that every kid is getting the same level of education. They felt it was important to their health and safety so the government should regulate it. Others felt that standardizing the curriculum would help standardize the rate of teen pregnancies and STDs/STIs.
Students felt that starting young and continuing sex education throughout school, including the collegiate level, would help provide a more comprehensive educational experience. They felt that increasing education would decrease the risk for unwanted pregnancies and benefits people over all health and sexual health.
Students were then asked if the thought LGBTQ+ sex education should be taught in public schools. Many students felt that heterosexual students deserve comprehensive sex education and so do LGBTQ+ students. Others felt that teaching LGBTQ+ sex education could lessen the stigma and lead to greater acceptance and understanding. One student mentioned that LGBTQ+ sex education is sex education and should absolutely be taught in schools.
As with all Pizza & Politics, the goal is to have an educational discussion and hopefully leave with a better understanding of the topic discussed.
Pizza & Politics is held every Wednesday at noon in the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service located in the Sharwan Smith Student Center.