Abstaining From Sex Ed

| Learning | May 18, 2017

(I’m in a genetics class at a community college. This is in a conservative state that has very little sex ed and only covers abstinence and STDs. They don’t even mention useful things like safe sex and what happens during pregnancy. Even when a student is brave enough to ask about such topics, the teachers usually refuse to answer, as the question is “inappropriate.” In this class, many of the students are in their mid- to late-twenties and are going back to school after working straight out of high school, so some are considering having children. The teacher answers someone’s question and ends up going on a short tangent.)

Teacher: *wrapping up the tangent* “So that’s why anyone who might become pregnant should eat a diet rich in folate. Now, let’s get back to our lesson.”

Student #1: *raises hand*

Teacher: “Yes?”

Student #1: “I was wondering… If you live with someone who smokes and you get pregnant, will that hurt the baby?”

Teacher: *answers question*

Students #2, #3, and #4: *raise hands*

Teacher: *answers questions*

(By this point, everyone’s figured out that the teacher will answer any question we ask, so more than two thirds of the class has their hands up.)

Teacher: *seeing all the raised hands* “Okay, here’s the deal. We can turn this class into remedial sex ed for today, but you’re going to have to make up the work we were supposed to do. Will you promise to read the next two chapters of your textbook and go over the lecture slides by next week’s class?”

(We all readily agreed and started asking all the questions we’d never been able to ask before, on things like safe sex, birth control, pregnancy, miscarriage, breastfeeding, and how to take care of a baby. The teacher answered every question without dismissing any topic as inappropriate. We may not have gotten through anything on the syllabus, but it was one of the most informative classes I’ve ever been in.)

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