Times are Changing, And Our Sex Education Curriculum Should Too


Photo Credit: Lauren Lafrades

Talking about sex with your parents can be difficult, especially when you live in a state with deeply held conservative ideals that stigmatize sexuality. The taboo surrounding conversations concerning sexual health in primarily red states have harmful effects that plague our community.

The problem is that we can’t lower pregnancy and STD rates without real conversations about safe sex. Avoiding discussion only results in an uneducated youth that blindly makes decisions for themselves in fear, shame, and uncertainty. Sexuality is a natural part of adolescence. If parents are refusing to teach their kids about maintaining sexual health, the education system should provide the resources to inform students.

Idaho State legislature states that the burden of sexual education primarily “rests upon the home and the church and the schools can only complement and supplement those standards which are established in the family.” Furthermore it explains that any implementation of sex ed curriculum into a school is based purely off the school district’s decision on policy.

Majority of Idaho Schools teach either abstinence only curriculum (a form of sex education that teaches not having sex outside of marriage) or lack sex ed programs all together. The unfortunate reality is that the insufficiency of reliable knowledge hinders teens from making responsible decisions in accordance with their sexual well being. “It creates a fear mongering tactic, it makes it so when teens do have sex, which they will, [..] they don’t know who to go to for things like birth control, condoms, and questions about consent.” explains senior, Lilly Garcia.

Many abstinence only sex education programs excludes information about birth control methods, consent, and STDs. Beyond this, abstinence only sex ed promotes the idea that the only type of sexual relation is intercourse. In a shifting societal temperament, the need for sex ed that is inclusive of the LGBTQ community becomes ever more pressing.

The LGBTQ community has made waves in the realm of social activism. The efforts of those in the community have have brought more recognition of issues that affect their members, to the forefront of society. As acceptance and normalized discussion concerning sexuality and gender identity come into play, it is critical that our sex ed programs matches this progressiveness.

Comprehensive sex ed programs have already been developed, the next step is implementation. In Boise, student activists predict the shift to more inclusive forms of education to come soon. “I think in the Independent Boise School District, it’s not that far away in my opinion, and I think that we can definitely can attain that. Schools like Boise High School probably will be seeing comprehensive sex education in the next couple of years.” says Heidi Adolphson, a BHS senior.

Sexual health and all its facets affect everyone. Leaders in the education system need to recognize that educating students openly will prove to be most beneficial in the long run. Not only for student’s individual well being, but also in a societal scope, by combating the stigma that surrounds sexual health. In order to help the next generation succeed, we need to arm them with knowledge.