I haven’t written much about my younger daughter. H is thirteen and in eighth grade. She finds herself in the throes of hormonal rage nearly daily. It’s quite fun. (Do I need to point out this is sarcasm?)
This morning I asked her if she was currently in PE or Health, as I know they periodically rotate. She said she was in Health and they were learning about STDs. Never one to shirk, even at breakfast, I asked her what she was learning. She said not much, because the class is taught in the cafeteria, and there are too many students and she has to sit in the back. The teacher uses an overhead projector with a slide. The slide, she said, is in really small print and hard to read because it was not something the teacher wrote, but printed from a book. “Ok, well, surely the teacher talks to you about the diseases, right? Which ones are you learning about?” I asked.
She replied, “I don’t know. Just that some are curable and some are not. And AIDS can kill you.”
“Did the teacher tell you how to prevent them?”
“Oh, so you learned about condoms?”
“No, Mom. She said abstinence is the only way to make sure you don’t die. That means don’t ever have sex.”
“Are you sure she didn’t tell you about condoms?”
“Mom! We’re in eighth grade. All she’s allowed to tell us is that sex can kill us so we won’t do it.”
H doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in for a treat tomorrow. She gets to watch this video (emphasis mine):
Just Thought You Oughta Know, The Medical Institute, 1998 (7 minutes)
Plans for the future are often derailed by unplanned pregnancy and STIs. There is a solution, but it requires character, not condoms. The path to a deeply satisfying sex life begins with a decision to delay sexual activity with an uninfected partner. Young people need parents, educators, and other adults involved in their lives to encourage them to commit to delaying sex. This video was created in a format of teens talking to teens about the medical facts, but it’s meant as a springboard for opening the lines of communication between teens and adults.
This is the county’s official policy:
Contraception: ******** County Public Schools do not condone students engaging in sexual intercourse before marriage because of the risk of sexually-transmitted diseases and pregnancy, potential psychological and emotional problems, and loss of self-esteem. However, students should be taught that contraception is one method of reducing the risk of pregnancy or contracting sexually-transmitted infections. Although methods of contraception may be appropriate for discussion, any teaching, discussion, or use of literature that involves techniques of applying contraceptive devices is prohibited. Due to the sensitive nature of this subject, students wishing additional information should be encouraged to discuss this topic with their parents or should be referred to the public library.
At that, ladies and gentlemen, is how our public school system teaches responsible sexual health: Don’t do it before marriage. It might kill you.