Thursday, February 26, 2009

What's the matter with Texas?

I’m sure happy I’m not a teen living in Texas! If I was I might think that condoms are ineffective or that I could get HIV/AIDS from tears or sweat.

Research from the Texas Freedom Network reveals that an overwhelming amount of Texas schools use “scare tactics and spread myths” instead of teaching accurate health information that students could use to protect themselves and their partners.

The results of the schools included in the sample are startling:

  • 41% of school district’s sex education materials include factual errors
  • 41% of errors are regarding condoms; 38.9% regarding STDs
  • 81% of districts receive NO formal recommendations on sex ed from state-mandated local advisory councils.

This is all sorts of wrong! First, I don’t get the whole abstinence-only education thing. I mean yes in an ideal world abstinence would be, well, ideal but we don’t live in an ideal world do we? No. We don’t. And second, sex is a natural (and might I add fun!) part of life. It’s natural for teens to be curious and experiment, especially when their hormones and bodies are changing.

That is not to say that sex doesn’t have consequences. Of course it does. We all know that which is why it is so important to equip teens with information to prevent these consequences (pregnancy, STDS, HIV/AIDS). Shaming students, scaring them, or worst off, giving them wrong information isn’t going to stop them from having sex. It’s just going to create more young pregnant mothers (if anyone has a greater chance of getting pregnant accidently, it’s misinformed teens who are experimenting) and more teens carrying STDs and spreading them because they don’t know otherwise.

And guess what? I’m right! These tactics don’t work. Texas continues to have one of the nation’s highest teen pregnancy rates despite receiving more federal abstinence funding than any other state! Wasted money and lots of confused and shamed teens!

Texas – get your act together!