Multiple counties in Georgia currently require health educators to teach abstinence as the only way for teenagers to avoid sexually transmitted diseases. Abstinence is restraining from any sexual contact, meaning STDs have no way to be passed on and there is no contact for one to get pregnant. It is important to keep students safe, and fully comprehensive sexual education can save the lives of people of all ages.
About ⅔ of the counties in Georgia are required to instruct students to refrain from sexual intercourse until marriage. The problem with this is that statistically, only 3% of Americans successfully wait until marriage to lose their virginity. This means that when teenagers decide to have premarital sex, they do not have enough information and most likely will not use protection. “I don’t believe schools should teach abstinence as the only option for teenagers to avoid getting STDs and pregnant. Teens are going to have sex anyways, and we should be teaching them how to do it safely,” says Sophomore Caitlin Elgin.
Abstinence based curriculum does not mean teaching abstinence as the only option for teenagers. Though abstinence is not the only option for teenagers to avoid STDs and pregnancy, it is the most effective and safest.
“I do teach an abstinence based curriculum. Throughout a student’s career in school, I believe every student should be given factually based information that, year to year, builds an ongoing foundation that addresses the ideas of their responsibility toward sexual relationships which include abstinence, the use of contraception, as well as other sexual health measures such HPV vaccines, and the pressures that persuade one to consider being prematurely involved in sexual activity. There’s truly nothing more I’d like to see than every high school student abstaining from sex during their teen years. Unfortunately that’s not the case,” says North Springs health teacher Karen Cushman.