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My first time walking into a Southside Chicago Public School classroom, I was at most five years older than the students I had come to teach. I went in not as a classroom aid or a supplementary teacher, but as the lead educator representing the group Peer Health Exchange PHE to talk about a highly-politicized and incredibly important topic: sexual health.
PHE is a nonprofit that trains college students to be health educators in high school classrooms throughout major cities nationwide. We aim to provide comprehensive health education—sexual, mental, and emotional—to high school students and to empower young people to make informed health decisions.
During the first lesson that I taught with PHE, one thing kept running through my mind: who let me, a college student, teach such fundamentally important information after only twenty-some hours of preparation?
of teen births in Chicago mothers aged per lives birth Credit: Chicago Health Atlas. Still, PHE provides a necessary service to the young people of Chicago. Comprehensive, medically accurate sex education produces demonstrably positive. Chicago laudably does not have an abstinence-only approach.
Instead, CPS policy calls for both comprehensive sex and health education.
CPS dictates that health education on human development should start in kindergarten. On paper, CPS legislation champions comprehensive health education, but implementation is another story. Teen pregnancy rates in Chicago are higher in areas where CPS schools have less funding. Sincesixteen schools in the neighborhood have closed.
Shuttering local schools puts even more barriers in the way of young people pursuing education in general, let alone comprehensive health education. Every student has the right to basic information about their health, but well-written policy means nothing when implementation is nearly impossible. Besides funding, health education in Chicago has another dire shortcoming: commitment and dedication.
Schools treat health class as a free period. I have been in classrooms before with three students—the other 25 were on a field trip. In other situations, the class was double booked with gym, so the students had gym instead of health. CPS does not have the time, money, and effort needed to provide all students in Chicago with proper sex education, especially in schools that are already underfunded and overcrowded.
In order to mitigate this gap, Chicago Public Schools need more resources dedicated to sex education and broader health education. Health education policies are within the purview of state legislatures and county school boards, like the deation of a legal drinking age within a state.
Chicago students should have the same amount of time allocated to their health classes as they do to their English or science classes, starting in kindergarten and continuing to twelfth grade. Some of the students I teach learn about topics such as birth control or consent for the first time in my class, and I usually only have a fifty-minute period to touch on the surface of this vital information. Continuous health education should be a staple of school life.
Chicago students deserve years of health education to prepare them for life instead of ten fifty-minute periods taught by college students. Programs should include year-long arcs on consent, gender-identity, sexuality, birth control, relationships, and more. The impor. Of course abstinence should stay a valid and accepted choice for the young people in this city, but becoming sexually active should be a valid choice as well. Let us acknowledge that many teenagers are sexually active and stop shaming them for it. Instead, we should give them the information and resources to make safe, informed, consensual decisions.
In writing this article, I do not seek to disparage PHE. We teach important knowledge and skills to the young people in Chicago. That being said, I do not believe that we provide the best possible sex ed. Consistent teachers whose professional focus is health education and who teach contuinuous, comprehensive sex education would be the most beneficial for the students. My experiences in the classroom have reiterated to me the importance of health education for young people.
One conversation in particular sticks in my mind: a student mentioned their belief that cling wrap was an effective alternative to condoms. I almost cried when one student suggested aluminum foil. To me this demonstrates why we need sex ed in Chicago and in America--no one should graduate highschool thinking tin foil is an acceptable alternative to a condom. Abstinence-only education and teen pregnancy rates: why we need comprehensive sex education Any sexy Chicago student need help the U.
Sexual Health Education. Chicago Public Schools Policy Manual. Teen Birth Rate.
Chicago Health Atlas. This story is from:. More stories on Issuu: from 'Chicago Parent, January '. Is Homeschooling Becoming More Making India a Global Educatio The Pandemic, Immunity and theAny sexy Chicago student need help
email: [email protected] - phone:(374) 548-3441 x 7811
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