Comprehensive sex-ed curriculum importance in schools

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Rachael Vacanti
CONTRIBUTOR

Sex: It’s the main thing that sells different products, makes people feel valued and is one thing that is glossed over in schools.

Recently, the Omaha Public School school board voted to up-date their curriculum after over 30 years of consistency.

Well, it’s about time.

I’ll be the first to admit, my sex ed classes were torture. I started taking sex ed in fifth grade. I remember sitting in the cafeteria at my elementary school watching some weird video about AIDS. Junior high only got worse. It wasn’t so much videos, as it was more like I felt like I was being given a lecture that basically can be summed up as the following: Use. Common. Sense.

I went to a private, white, mostly rich-kid high school in west Omaha. It was a Christian school, so it was cool to say no to that kind of stuff. Sadly, that’s not the way of the world. The girls’ sex ed class (known there as Health class) was one semester long, taught by a guy, had open book tests, no one did anything and for the final and we went to Panera for breakfast. There was absolutely nothing educational about that.

I was about 19 when a little accident happened. I let a guy go farther than I wanted. I got out of it safely, but it left some emotional damage. What did my friends do? They blamed me. Everyone blamed me. I’m sorry for not knowing any of this. My brain stopped working, how do you expect me to think when my brain is frozen?

Photo Courtesy of WOWT.com
Photo Courtesy of WOWT.com

With OPS changing their curriculum, there came severe public outcry. Ever seen that video on YouTube called “Purity Mom”? It’s a sad representation of Omaha to the entire country. Isn’t Nebraska conservative enough?

I’ve discovered millennials to be much more accepting of others. I mention that I’m bi-sexual and no one really cares, except maybe my super-religious church friends. I have friends who are gay, lesbian and even a few who are transgender. I really don’t care who you like or get together with. That’s your business, not mine.

With the changing curriculum, a few things need to be taken into consideration. What is going on in your body during puberty? What can a person expect as they get older? Also, abstinence is not the only way to go. Abortion is not the only option. In fact, the more something is banned, the more a person is attracted to it. What is “safe” sex? What are common emotional side effects? Are there times where an abortion might actually be the best possible solution?

Gender identity and equality should also be included. I promise, it won’t turn anyone “gay”. You can’t “turn” anyone gay. Rather, it gives students an opportunity to learn about themselves and others. A friend of mine realized she was transgender (male to female) around high school, but didn’t do anything about it until this past July.

Of course, this all should be optional. I understand that not everyone wants to have conversations like that. I’m 24 and I still find it awkward sometimes. However, I also think that information needs to be updated. An option would be to have someone students can go to who can keep these things strictly confidential – and not the teacher of the class –more like a counselor or nurse. There are options out there. Make students aware so they can know all of the options, and also educate them on basic development during puberty. Mistakes are made, yes, but that’s part of life. Let them make them, but also educate them.

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