Right now, it appears that Omaha is a microcosm of the rest of the United States; at least in terms of the debate over how sexual education should be regulated. As with any social topic, you can likely imagine that this one has resulted in great polarity. And if that is the case, you are correct. Of course, older conservative members of the community argue that current sexual education curriculum actually destroys childhood innocence.
But in a time when any child can get onto the internet and witness just about anything you might imagine possible (and also probably many things you could not imagine), some advise that education is more important than ever.
And, of course, teenagers believe this type of education is important; after all, approximately one half of teenagers have had sex at least once and maybe one third have had sex in at least the last few months. As a matter of fact, Omaha Central High School sophomore, Ryleigh Welsh argues, “I have a right to this information. Sexual health is more than just sex. It’s about understanding and taking care of your body and being prepared for a healthy future.”
Obviously, most parents do not necessarily agree with this; after all, as a minor and a dependent, American teenagers are not guaranteed certain inalienable rights until they are 18. Sexual education is not, necessarily, one of those constitutional rights provided to every citizen. Of course, parents prefer schools advise abstinence instead of teach children about sexual health and responsible sexual behavior.
But then, there is that internet thing, again. Teens have round-the-clock access to this information, but learning something on your own often results in more questions and certainly great misunderstanding. More importantly, pornography is easy to come by, on the internet, so children can view sexual acts—and graphic ones at that—before even understanding what it is.
Indeed, National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy chief program officer, Bill Albert, advises, “The notion that sex education is limited to what happens in school is an antiquated one.” This is one of the many organizations in the process of developing online sex education which can supplement the available school-based programs.
And, accordingly, Omaha school board president Lou Ann Goding reminds that a major motivation for updating any sexual education curriculum is to counter any misinformation that students encounter on their own, outside of school.
She tells: “There’s so much social media and other sources that they can go to that are not always reliable.”