The Manatee County School Board Essay

Audience Analysis: I am writing to the seven chairmen of the Manatee County School Board. They are a made up of a group of five men and two women. They are most likely all parents who have a common concern on the material being taught on the issue of Sex Education in schools. Fellow parents vote on them to insure that they make the correct decisions on what their kids are learning in school. They are all from some form of the Christian religion. They are from ages 30 and older. They represent all races. They all have a college degree and the majority of them have doctorate degree in education.

They are mainly from the upper economic levels in society. The chairmen are very dedicated to their jobs and take a great deal of consideration when voting on school board codes/regulations. Therefore, they are willing to hear both sides of an issue that is to be voted on due to its’ importance. Sex Education In Schools: The Argument Continues Sex education in schools has been a long debated subject among parents, teachers, government officials and students. The need for sex education has increased due the higher numbers of teen pregnancy and STD cases among school age kids.

The pregnancy rate has more than double and teens have the highest rate of STD cases among all of the age groups (DeCarlo 1). The major questions are the type of material that should be discussed and whether the programs are actually helping the problem or adding to it. There are a lot of other questions that branch off from the major ones also. Since sex education has already been around for decades, it is very necessary for us to determine the effects of the educational programs over the years. This will help us to verify the quality of lessons being taught in the classes. The need for sex education is very questionable in today’s society.

An article by Pamela DeCarlo, from the Centre for AIDS Prevention Studies, discusses why sex education is needed in schools. She asks why education on this subject is needed and if will help or hurt today’s children. Her view of the issue is that kids do need to have education to help to protect them but that it isn’t enough to prevent them from receiving STD’s and becoming pregnant. “Knowledge alone is not enough to change behaviors. ” DeCarlo also says that, “Programs that rely mainly on conveying information about sex or moral precepts-how the body’s sexual system functions, what teens should and shouldn’t do-have failed.

However, programs that focus on helping teenagers to change their behavior-using role playing, games, and exercises that strengthen social skills-have shown signs of success. ” On the other hand some believe that sex education is necessary but that it should be taught using only terms and definitions (Hedgepeth 1). Some fear that it means teaching them how to have sex if it is not taught using on vocabulary (Hedgepeth 7). I think that because of the importance of sex education people are more likely to stress over the issues about it. Parents want to be sure that what is being taught is appropriate and meaningful to the students.

That brings me to the next major question asked about sex education: what type of material should be covered and who decides what is right and what is wrong. It is very obvious that 30 or even 40 years ago, there was a different opinion on what should be taught to the children of that age and of generations to come (Pruit, Song 1). With the ever changing statistics in teen pregnancy and higher rates of STD’s among children, the topic is brought up that more should be taught on prevention rather than on what is right or wrong, more or less the values being taught.

The most crucial part of sex education is good and effective communication. We all know that when it comes to talking about sex education teachers and students become very anxious and embarrassed (Whitehead 13). In today’s schools some of the subjects discussed are reproduction, abuse, gender identity, anatomy, relationship skills, building social skills, STD’s, teen pregnancy, prevention and of course the obvious puberty. The problem comes in when schools, teachers, and parents are asked to decide what is to be taught.

It is a hard question and the answers are even harder when it comes to deciding which ones are right (Rogers 67). Who decides? A similar topic among these same individuals is whether condom distribution in schools is good. Due to the growing numbers of teens having sex, it seems almost necessary for there to be some type of prevention out there for today’s youth (Veltz). Condom availability programs are said to be crucial because they rest on the assumption that they are a vital factor in safer sex practices among students (Irvine 129).

Others would argue that having condoms available in schools would only promote the ideas of sex (Young). That it would simply say that sex is right and give the curious teens a chance to come over there curiosity just because condoms where provided in their schools. Condom distribution is a long and on going problem for schools. It probably will never be resolved due to the immaturity of students (Irvine 136). The next issue brought up is what is the appropriate age to start teaching it.

Some would say that anyone younger than high school is too immature to really understand it and to really learn it. Alan Harris has made a break down of at what age teachers think sex education should start. He said that seventy-five percent of the teachers questioned believed that preschool should have no form of sex education. Over half of the teachers thought that middle schools is where sex education should start. And almost all the teachers thought that there should be some form of sex education in high schools.

Some do believe though that students shouldn’t learn these serious topics until things that would be discussed start happening to them (Kilander 57). The problem with that theory is that once they have started it will be harder to coax them away from it later (Moran 115). The issue of sex education in schools is going to be there for many years to come. The problem is that people want answers that can’t be talked about until more research is done on the effects of sex education. Parents, teachers, schools and students all have on common goal and that is to find a way to accurately discuss sex education in schools.

There are problems with that because of all of the arguments surrounding the issue and all the problems with trying to come to a conclusion about it. Since the teen pregnancy rates have more than double and STD cases are the highest among teens we obviously see a need for it, but don’t know how to go about it. Once we research the long term effects of sex education and then come to agreement on what should be taught in schools the sex education problem in America will diminish. We need to break down the educational borders and try to look at all the perspectives to reach the common goal.