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Sex Education In America's Private Schools

March 9, 2019

I attend a private Catholic school. There are many personal struggles that come with this, many of them that I will not list. For one. However, I think one of the biggest struggles is that I am not Catholic. I am an agnostic. This means that I disagree with many of the views presented in my school. However, I kept it to myself. Although there was a struggle that came with it, the school was supporting my educational needs, At least, at first.
In the middle of 7th grade, I walked into my science room ready to begin our Health unit. We were to learn about both the male and female reproductive system. As well as sexually transmitted diseases. However, before we started learning for today, our science teacher told us something. She said that we would not be learning about abortion. Because "it goes against the beliefs of Christianity". She went on to say that we also wouldn't learn about sexual orientation because, once again, "it goes against the beliefs of Christianity". At that point, I had almost flipped my table.
Lucky for me, I went to a public school in sixth grade where I was educated about the subject. Although, there was still more knowledge that I was hoping to gain in the coming years. But, I have it better than many of my classmates, whose knowledge of abortion and sexual orientation are limited. 
As many know, there is a lot of controversy going around about sex education in America's public schools. Many public schools already require it, although some do not. This is mostly based on the beliefs of the parents of some of the students. There have been many arguments about whether or not it would be a good idea to base a law requiring sex ed in America's public schools. 
However, I feel as if people fail to realize the private schools that have limited sex education. The regulations for private schools are a lot looser than those for public schools. Which, in some cases, can be very beneficial. Such as not being required to take many of the standardized tests that public schools have to. And, trust me, I am very thankful for that. However, the freedom of private schools can also be a hindrance. If a law is passed that requires public schools to teach sex ed, private schools will not have to abide by this law. Therefore leaving many private school students without knowledge that many public school students would have. 
Many say that students that attend private schools often grow up to have higher intelligence than those who attend public schools. In certain ways, this may be true. Acceptance rates to colleges are higher among students who attended private school than ones who attend public schools. However, intelligence is not just measured by test scores. It is also measured by knowledge of the ways of society. Denying private school students the knowledge of abortion and sexual orientation is denying them the knowledge that would help them in their future.
I know that this issue among private schools is harder to solve than the same issue among public schools. When several of my friends and I expressed our concerns to my science teacher, she simply suggested that we leave. And, many of the members of my school and doing exactly that. So, not only is this denial of knowledge affecting students, it is also affecting the overall well being of these private schools. 

I understand that this mentions some very controversial topic and I would love to hear your diverse opinions in the comments sssecti. However, please remember to keep this a respectful environment!


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  • luluwrites111

    This is a great piece, clear, unoffensive, etc. I agree that sex education needs to be leveled out and regulated (some stories about bad/non existent education really make me sad) I went to a Montessori School, if you are not familiar, it is like a different way of teaching, smaller classes, look it up I guess I'm bad at explaining things. Okay so I looked it up for you..."The Montessori Method of Education, developed by Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children. Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace."

    Personally I really liked my middle school, we had a very nice sex ed from Planned Parenthood (I reccomend them strongly) and we talked about abortion, orientation, all that stuff. I think it really helped me come out also, and having discussions was very beneficial. ANYWAY, about your essay (I know the due date passed but you inspired me to share) I think you could argure your opinion even MORE. I like your story in the beginning, maybe add more experiences, (not just from you also) Everyone said that it was unoffensive, etc, and while that is good, I think you should add a little more, well you. :)

    10 months ago
  • Jae

    holy crap, why is everyones comments so long? makes mine seem like a dwarf. and yes, the title did hook me. i'm one of those kids who knows everything about sex, but hates it anyways. we don't learn about it until eighth grade(next year, oh gosh) but i love your argument, and it seems rather true, and i like how you took charge with it and everything. good work.

    11 months ago
  • green.eyes.gurl

    Let me start of by saying that the title caught my eye; congratulations.
    OKAY! I go to a public school, and the year is divided into four quarters (who would've guessed; they're quarter 1, 2, 3, and 4) one quarter you will have your general music class. another you will have your art, another you will have your tech-ed (technology design to modeling last year, now modeling and robotics. overall: technology education), and another you will have your health. it's randomized, so not everyone has the same order. 2nd quarter I had health, and among the multiple units we covered (don't ask me what they were, I can't remember. something about the brain, maybe? idk, I just know there were multiple units) we had our female and male reproductive systems, and STIs (stds). we had diagrams of both, *cough* reproductive systems, took tests, and watched a *cough* graphic *cough* birthing video. for the std's, we covered how they happened how they could be treated, and *cough* images *cough* were passed around of each *cough* infected area. (good god I need some water, lol) my teacher wasn't afraid to say things (we talked about masturbation, made abstinence posters, etc). while we did cover a lot of sex-related topics, we did not cover things like abortion or sexual orientation. we only talked about sex between a male and a female, and the resulting babies and/or diseases and infections. I think that schools should provide a health class that could teach you about those types of things, but involving same-sex people. also, while it is a huge political topic, I think schools should talk about abortion. i'm not saying they should endorse it or support it of encourage it, but they should talk about it and inform kids what it is, because let's be real, there's going to be that one girl that get's pregnant at 15 and doesn't know her options because she wasn't taught them. (amy juergens, i'm looking at you) my views on abortion have always been unclear to me, and last week I was talking to a friend of mine (not really a close friend, but we talk a lot) about the topic and she told me her opinion and I basically went "holy crap, i think that's what i think." it was that people should have the option, but not that they should do it. i never really learned much about what abortion was, and when I brought up the subject to my best friend (who is uncultured about a lot of things, to be fair) she asked "what is that?" and "what's pro-life and what's pro-choice?" because she didn't learn it. she was new to my district this year, so that means that her multiple other schools she's been at the past 3 years haven't taught it either. (she's in the foster system, so she's been in 3-4 schools in the past 2-3 years) i'm sorry i'm rambling, i'm having some personal issues and i'm tired. but just because someone high up in the education system thinks that a subject is not right, or goes against their belief, does not give them the right to send un-educated children into the world. maybe i should've started off with that.

    11 months ago
  • Kenny

    I can relate to this. Sex ed is a very taboo topic in India and most teachers are extremely uncomfortable while teaching the reproduction unit. There was also a recent controversy when a state education board textbook claimed STDs were caused by premarital/extramarital sex..

    I do think if the teachers themselves don't want to teach it properly, maybe they could have a gynac come over for the day? Alternatively they could provide online resources for students to access. Using religion to refuse education seems counter productive to me:(

    11 months ago
  • paperbird

    coming to you as an atheist pro-choice gay, i agree completely. i attend a heavily left-leaning private school, so we’re given a more liberal take. do your parents know your agnostic? it might help to talk to people about it. i’m so sorry your school approaches sex ed this way. it was definitely a good move to talk to your science teacher. anyway, thanks for writing this. i agree with everything.

    11 months ago
  • ADM

    When it comes to which school, public or private, that haver a better education system, I think it really depends on the school itself. Every school, and school system, is different.

    Sex education definitely is not evened out in many schools--some pay too much attention on the diseases, some pay too much attention to putting condoms on bananas, and some force students to take abstinence pledges. I don't think any school has the perfect sex ed unit. But even if the school is a private Catholic school, they should not avoid certain topics because of their beliefs. Just because it goes against their beliefs doesn't mean that the topic is now nonexistent. Those things are something students have to know, whatever it may be. I can't really say much, I've gone to public school my whole life, but I have been learning a lot about Catholic school lately because I have a bunch of new friends from the one in my town, since we were all tossed into high school.

    11 months ago
  • AJ - Izzy

    Also, do you mind if I review this piece? If not that's totally fine, just wanted to ask you first :)

    11 months ago
  • AJ - Izzy

    Very well written argument! I also go to a private Catholic school, except I am Catholic :)
    I do agree with you that we are not being taught things we should know, I think the bigger problem is figuring out how to teach it. It's really hard to teach a lesson (from experience :) without any bias, so maybe because they have an idea of what they want us to know is why they don't teach it or know how. At my school, we have a club called the Life and Justice club, and what we do is discuss things going on in our world, not in a learning environment with tests and whatnot, but just to see what our opinions are. Perhaps that would be a better outcome for other schools too, a place where you can talk about it with people you trust and be comfortable sharing your opinion. I personally disagree with abortion, but I do think it's good for everyone to learn their way the facts and figure out for themselves what they think. Good luck in the competition, I agree with @Blessings (understandable and non-offensive) and really good!! :))

    11 months ago
  • Blessings

    I go to a public school and we are not taught sex education, and honestly I am grateful for that because a teacher can never be fully objective with those types of subjects. Although I do disagree with abortion, I completely understand why it is not right to just avoid it. Sometimes the internet and our parents aren't helpful with these things, but someone who is educated about this topic should be right? The only thing I can't understand is why your teacher would use religion to avoid such a topic. But anyway well written. Your argument is understandable and non offensive. *thumbs up*

    11 months ago