Abstinence Program Sparks Controversy

Mike Gonzales

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There is not one memory from adolescence that we would like to forget more than the birds and the bees.

On December 13th and 14th, ninth and tenth grade students were presented with the SHARE program, an abstinence-based sexual health program created to teach kids about the prevention of pregnancy, STD’S/STI’S, and relationship issues. The students were given facts and statistics on the number of pregnancies in America, relationship advice, and the positive results from abstinence. While the SHARE program is overall appreciated throughout the community, there is some controversy on the message it sends to young teens.

“I have mixed feelings, but I’ll say this; I get the overall message, but I feel that we need to focus more on actually teaching kids how to have safe sex rather  than trying to avoid it and just get them to not have sex, that’s almost impossible to do if you really think about it.” Chrislynn Owens, a student who saw the presentation, said.

While some students have the same point of view as student Chrislynn Owen, others disagree with the teachings of safe sex. The topics of morals, religion, and teen pregnancy are often brought up to shut down the idea of safe sex, and on the other side the topics of the reliance of condoms and birth control, the inevitability of teen sex, and how abortions are morally correct, are used to defend safe sex.

“A well rounded sex ed presentation is hard to navigate when our students all have different values, opinions and opportunities. An abstinence-focused program allows health and religious priorities to be met, but the hard truth is that a lot of students will not practice abstinence no matter the information they’re given,” a teacher said. “Abstinence may be the safest decision, but we can’t ignore that students are already making the decision to have sex. Some may think educating teenagers on safe sex is the equivalent of encouraging them to do so, but it’s highly dangerous to know they’re making this risky decision, and doing nothing to prepare them to minimize risks.”

Most students and teachers have different opinions on the matter, but for now the school will continue teaching the positive effects of abstinence and why it should be embraced by society. For this topic it’s particularly complicated to figure out, but as of now the controversy is still a common discussion within the community, and as a society we can only hope to come to a common conclusion.