It is time for sex ed to have a major glow up

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Beginning high school five minutes outside of Washington D.C. was significantly different from the environment I arrived in once I moved to Texas. Being away from the city, I found myself finishing high school in southern Dallas, where my education changed in a variety of ways. 

To my surprise, there was a shift in the way our school, the students and the state spoke about sex. 

Back home, in Washington D.C., we were not only taught about a variety of contraceptives, but about our reproductive parts, STDs, virginity, consent, and more. 

Our sex education was backed by facts and statistics, as well as an emphasis on safety rather than abstinence. 

The education I received was not only thorough but also inclusive for LGBTQ+ students as well. Our city also had a teen clinic that supplied free or price reduced contraceptives and testing.

When it comes to sex education in Texas, there is close to nothing. According to the Texas Tribune, the state of Texas hasn’t revised its abstinence-based sex education policies since 1997.

Policies that include giving districts the option to exclude sex education altogether, as well as not requiring the information taught to be factual or statistically proven. 

An opinion column on the Houston Chronicle states that 70 percent of high school seniors have had sexual intercourse at least once. The same column continues to note that Texas continuously ranks among the highest teen birth rates in the nation. 

In addition, the same Texas Tribune article referenced earlier cites federal data showing that “less than half [of sexually active high school students] used condoms and a small percentage used birth control pills.” All due to the failure to expose and educate students on these matters.

The state’s abstinence-until-marriage approach has been nothing but detrimental to every person who has failed to be educated by the Texas public education system. Action needs to be taken now.

For the first time in over two decades, Texas is finally considering new policies. 

A story by the Dallas News states groups appointed by the State Board of Education began working on drafting new policies that will be voted on next year. However, with the current attitude the state has had towards comprehensive sex education, there is so much progress left to be made. 

What does this mean for Houston? 

In a city that leads in the state with a steady increase in STD’s, we need comprehensive sex education now more than ever. 

According to the Texas Medical Center, “Harris County had the highest number of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis cases of all 254 Texas counties.” 

The best course of action for our beloved city is comprehensive sex education. 

At the University of Houston, we have the ability to take personal responsibility for our actions. As well as take the necessary precautions to change the statistics and better our community. 

Everyone at UH should strive to take full advantage of why we’re here; we’re here to educate and better ourselves, as well as our community. 

By practicing safe sex we reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancies and minimize the spread of STDs. We have the power to make our community a safer place.

Bryana Torres-Martinez is a journalism sophomore who can be reached at [email protected]

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